Gladewater’s Daylon Mack Presented Under Armour All-American Game Jersey
GLADEWATER -- Long before the college recruiters began showing up at Gladewater High School, calling or sending texts, Daylon Mack already knew where his future was destined.
And on Friday morning, some of those visions were realized when the five-star defensive tackle and Texas A&M commit was presented with an honorary jersey for the Under Armour All-American Game, a showcase that features 90 of the country's most coveted football recruits.
Mack was honored during a ceremony at the Gladewater High School gym in front of representatives from Under Armour, family, friends, coaches and all of his Bears teammates. This just a few hours after Gladewater captured a 66-14 first-round playoff win over Nevada Community.
"It's a real special day, especially coming after another playoff win for us," said Mack (6-1, 330), who's been committed to Texas A&M for more than a year. "It's something that I always wanted to do in my life, and I've been watching for the longest."
It was a day six years in the making for Mack.
"When Daylon was in seventh grade he was watching the Under Armour All-American game," said Daylon's mother, Geraci Mack. "He asked his daddy, 'how do you become a part of that?' His dad said, 'I'm not sure, I don't know. But if you keep watching I'm sure they'll tell you.'"
Daylon has been following that dream ever since.
"We talked about writing his goal down that day, that that's what he wanted to achieve," Geraci Mack said. "That piece of paper he's kept because I told him to always add to it in life. And to see this come about today, it blesses my heart and I hope it makes him understand that all dreams are possible."
Once Under Armour had concluded its portion of the presentation, Daylon grabbed the mic and delivered a message to his fellow teammates: "Y'all come down here and take a picture with me."
A stream of more than 50 players made their way to the gym floor to join him for the special occasion.
"They've been my brothers," Daylon said of his teammates. "They've really supported me throughout the whole process. And times like this, we're cherishing these last few moments because you never know when they're going to end. They've just been really great to me, I couldn't ask for any better people to be around."
Days like Friday are often too far and in between for recruits on the level of Daylon, who's been one of the most sought-after recruits East Texas has seen in years.
"Overwhelming, and sometimes I would like to say a nightmare," Geraci Mack said of the recruiting process. "At first it was difficult to understand, so much was happening so fast. We weren't used to it and we didn't know the ins and outs of it, so it caused some arguments between us. We had to sit down together and look at it and say, 'this is what our end result needs to be, this how we need to start looking at it. We can't do it separated, we have to do it together.'"
Unlike many players confronted with fame and stardom at an early age, Daylon's personality has remained grounded. It's rare for those who've interacted with him over the years to compliment his natural athletic abilities without also talk glowingly about his character.
"It's funny to me because I feel like I did what I needed to do to raise him," Geraci Mack said. "God just blessed him to turn into the man that he is. He guided our steps to get him to where he is today."
The eighth annual Under Armour All-American Game will take place Jan. 2, 2015, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised live on ESPN. Notable game alumni include NFL receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Green and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Jadeveon Clowney.