Alex Mack # C
Height: 6-4 Weight: 311 Age: 30
Born: 11/19/1985 Los Angeles , CA
Experience: 8th season
High School: San Marcos HS [Santa Barbara, CA]
Selected By: Cleveland Browns
Pick (Overall): 21 (21)
The "poster boy" for the 2009 NFL Draft center class, Mack has been a model of consistency on the field, anchoring the Bears' front wall since taking over for All-Pac-10 Conference center Marvin Phillips as a sophomore. The two-time finalist for the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's top center, he has not only excelled on the gridiron, but also in the training room and the classroom. His power clean lift of 374 pounds is a school record for all positions.
Mack was recently awarded the Draddy Trophy, given to college football's top scholar-athlete, an award that also includes a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship. He was named the Pac-10 Conference's Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2008, having earned league academic honor roll recognition four times while attending Cal.
As a senior, he was also a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, given for academic and athletic accomplishment. In addition, he was named the school's 2008 winner of the Schlessinger Coaches Award, which recognizes outstanding athletic ability, academic success and community service.
Mack's work ethic speaks volumes for the player he has become. "Being a center, there's a lot of thinking that's involved," says Mack. "Before the play, you get the play, you go to the line, you have to remember what the snap count is, you have to call out the front and what everyone's assignment is, tell both the guards what they have to do and then I have to focus on what I have to do."
But such attention to detail goes far beyond game day. Mack is usually the last lineman off the field after practice, always getting in a little extra footwork and hand work while other players grab some Gatorade. For such a large individual, he is surprisingly quick. He can run the 40-yard dash in 5.0 seconds, a feat only four linemen at the 2008 NFL Combine surpassed. That quickness and Mack's brute strength have terrorized opposing defensive lines.
Mack's experience was with a primarily ground-based offense in high school. Since coming to Cal, however, he has had to learn to protect pocket passers. "In high school, I didn't know what a pass set was," says Mack. "Here, half the day we work on pass blocking, pass sets, pass technique. It's so technical. It's amazing how hard it is." But those extra hours spent after practice has helped him make the job look easy.
When Mack was named the Pac-10 Conference's Morris Trophy winner in 2008, it marked the second time he had received that honor, joining Southern California's Roy Foster (1980-81) and Washington's Lincoln Kennedy (1991-92) as the only players in league history to capture that honor twice. He is also the third Golden Bear offensive lineman to receive the honor, joining Todd Steussie (1993) and Ryan O'Callaghan (2005). Defensive end Andre Carter also won on the defensive side in 2000.
At San Marcos High School, Mack excelled on the gridiron and on the wrestling mat. He was named to PrepStar's All-West team as a senior, helping his team rush for 2,031 yards in 2003. He was a member of Super Prep's Top 132 seniors in California squad, landing him on that service's All-Far West team. The 2003 San Marcos Most Valuable Player, he was named the Channel League's Co-Most Valuable Player on defense and a first-team All-League selection. He was also a two-time All-CIF choice and a three-time All-County and All-League member.
Mack played on both the offensive and defensive lines during his time at San Marcos High. As a senior, he registered 93 tackles and eight sacks. He added four letters in wrestling, advancing to the state wrestling tournament as a CIF heavyweight champion. As a senior, he compiled a 26-1 record on the mat.
Mack enrolled at California in 2004, spending the season acclimating to center while performing on the scout team. He was an Academic All-Pac-10 honorable mention as a redshirt freshman, playing behind Marvin Phillips while making five knockdowns in seven games in 2005.
The team's Most Improved Offensive Lineman took over center duties in 2006, earning All-Pac 10 first-team and Academic All-League second-team recognition. He delivered 83 key blocks/knockdowns and was named to ESPN's All-Bowl Team after registering nine knockdowns and paving the way for two 100-yard rushers vs. Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl.
Mack received All-American and All-Pac-10 first-team honors in 2007. The Rimington Trophy finalist captured the league's Morris Blocking Trophy, given to the best offensive lineman in the conference. He was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award as he anchored a line that allowed only 11 quarterback sacks. He led the team with 81 key blocks/knockdowns and his 11 touchdown-resulting blocks were the most by any major college center in 2007.
The All-American center seriously considered leaving school early to apply for the 2008 NFL Draft. He submitted his paperwork to the league's advisory board, but when he was told that he would be a second-round draft choice, he decided to return to college for the 2008 campaign.
"This is a really great opportunity for me to help the team," Mack said. "There is a lot I can do at Cal to improve my game and to further my career. I didn't want to miss the experience of my senior season and helping the team get back on track and finish things right. This also gives me an opportunity to finish my degree and continue my education. I came to Cal because of the outstanding education and I want to finish that before I'm done. I'm really just looking forward to getting into spring ball and seeing how the team comes together for 2008."
Mack was again awarded with All-American and All-Pac-10 Conference honors as a senior. He was a finalist for both the Lombardi Award and Rimington Trophy and received numerous national honors for academics. On the field, he started all 13 games in the pivot. He again paced the Bears with 92 knockdowns/key blocks and matched his junior season total with 11 touchdown-resulting blocks.