In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet a talented defender with Hurricane and championship pedigree: Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 3-star DB Ryan Mack.
As Miami looked to build out their 2024 recruiting class, they turned their attention to a familiar name: Ft. Lauderdale (FL) DB Ryan Mack.
The son of former Miami LB Rod Mack (1996-99), Ryan is a talented defender who has built a strong reputation for himself. Both for St. Thomas Aquinas — one of the most well-known HSFB powerhouses in the country — and South Florida Express, arguably the best 7v7 program around.
Mack made a splash as a sophomore on the track, posting sub-11 times in the 100M dash for Aquinas. Like many football players at Aquinas, Mack had to wait his turn to make an impact at the varsity level. Playing behind a slew of college recruits at the position, Mack worked hard on his development, with the majority of his playing time and impact coming during the spring on the 7v7 circuit.
Despite his lack of playing time and impact during the fall, Mack earned several scholarship offers through this part of his HSFB career. Miami, understandably, was the first to offer back in 2020, but Ole Miss, Colorado, Penn State, South Carolina, and Florida State all followed suit in 2021.
With several teammates who were being recruited by Miami, Mack made a slew of unofficial visits to Coral Gables. And, I mean, he’s a legacy: his dad played at Miami. That would be expected in general.
Similar to teammate WR Chance Robinson (whose Recruiting Notebook you can find here because he’s signed with Miami as well), Mack’s breakout came as a junior for Aquinas: 21 tackles, 7 PBUs, 2 INT, and 1 FF for the State Champion Raiders, On a team stacked with FBS talent, that’s damn good. And Mack worked primarily at corner for the 14-0 Raiders, which shows versatility for the 5’11 165lb defender. For that performance, Mack earned a spot at the Under Armour All-American game.
Following that junior season, Mack earned more scholarship offers from Louisville and Alabama. After that, unofficial visits to FSU, Pitt, and Penn State moved the process forward a bit more. But, all those visits did was prove to the talented defender that he already knew where home was. Mack committed to Miami on June 26th.
Despite already being an Under Armour All-American and Miami commit, Mack didn’t rest on his laurels. In 2023, he was an integral piece in another Aquinas State Championship — their 5th consecutive - and posted 45 tackles, 12 PBUs, and 3 INTs while mainly playing corner. Progression across the board while expanding his role on the Raiders defense. Well done, sir.
On the 247sports composite, Mack is a 3-star prospect, the #60 S nationally, #79 in the State of Florida, and #594 player overall in this class.
Mack committed to Miami over a list of 18 scholarship offers from around the country, which included Alabama, Colorado, Florida State, Ole Miss, and Penn State among many others.
As A Player
At 5’11” 165lbs, Mack has decent height/length for a defensive back, but he’s a bit light. He’s not a super-duper speedster (which would mitigate that light weight), so he’ll need to add a bit of size as he continues his career into the collegiate level.
Mack has been a standout player at both CB and S, and that will serve him well moving forward. Mack posted 5 INTs and 19 PBUs over his last 2 years of high school (not even counting his 7v7 performances, which were stellar) so this is a player who has a nose for the ball, and the technique to make an impact when given the opportunity.
Mainly playing outside corner, Mack shows good technique and awareness. He’s physical with receivers and rarely lets them get free releases down the field. Mack also moved inside to slot corner at times, and used both his coverage and blitzing skills from that interior alignment.
Mack is a willing tackler as a blitzer and in run support. He uses leverage by going low towards the legs of offensive players to make tackles. Mack will just need to be sure his technique is on point at the next level, because bigger players will shrug those tackle attempts off, or they’ll jump over a diving defender, which is seen every week around the world of CFB.
For another look at Mack, here’s an eval from 247sports Director of Scouting Andrew Ivins:
An aggressive defensive back with some ball skills. Played primarily outside corner as a junior for Florida’s 3M state champs gaining valuable experience in both man and off-man coverage. Checked in at a shade over 5-foot-11, 165 pounds back in Spring of 2022. Comfortable with his technique as a smooth backpedal allows him to gain depth while he keeps his eye on the quarterback. Seems to find the most success, however, when he can press at the line of scrimmage as he does a nice job of mirroring with his hips while using his hands to find leverage. Competitive at the catch point and broke up seven passes his first year as a full-time starter. Rather willing tackler out on the perimeter, but added weight should allow him to make more of a difference in run support. Still pretty green, but has plenty of tools to work including his foot speed as he posted multiple sub 11-second efforts in the 100-meter dash as a 10th grader. Will need to keep evolving as a player, but has a chance to eventually carve out a role as a starter for a Power Five program. Natural instincts suggest that his ceiling might be highest at safety.
- Good speed
- Solid technique
- Pedigree (Miami legacy)
- Needs to gain weight
- Defining a position would be nice
- Transitioning to Safety full-time (if that’s what ends up happening)
Note: changed this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player a couple years ago and we’re continuing that style this year as well.
Mack is a player that adds depth and talent to the Miami secondary, and his potential ability to play multiple positions should be looked at as a benefit for his utility in college.
A bit on the thin side, Mack will need to develop his body before seeing playing time. Early on, that playing time will likely come on special teams, unless he really develops quickly and can insert himself into the rotation in the Miami secondary.
Insofar as his ceiling, if Mack is able to find a way to get into the starting lineup, that would be best-case scenario. More reasonably, I think targeting him as a special teams standout and rotational defender would be the more likely path. However, anything is possible, and Mack is an Under Armour All-American; don’t discount him from being an impact player — at least in spots — in his college career.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.