The 11W Community Interview is truly of the people, by the people, and for the people. You submit the questions, vote on them, and then we pass the top ones on to the biggest names in the world of Ohio State athletics.
When he burst onto the Ohio State recruiting scene during a standout performance at 2014's Friday Night Lights, Austin Mack was a relative unknown in the recruiting world.
Since then, the 6-foot-2, 205 pound Fort Wayne product has gone from under-the-radar to the top of the heap, earning an invitation to Nike's The Opening a week before he made his commitment to Ohio State public. In Oregon, in his first real competition after a late-2014 surgery to repair a torn labrum, Mack showcased his skill in front of the whole country and gave recruiting analysts all over a chance to see why he's been regarded as the most important wide receiver target for the Buckeyes this cycle.
Now heading into his senior year at Bishop Luers High School, Mack joins the 11W Community Interview series and talks about his recruitment, who he'd like to see join him at Ohio State and what his goals for college are.
Can you elaborate on the recruiting process pertaining to OSU? When did you commit? What was Urban's reaction to your commitment? – Soggy McMuffin
AM: Ohio State was the first school that was really prestigious to have offered me. From the start it was more of a effort on my part to build the relationship with the coaches and once I proved myself in the eyes of coach Zach Smith and Urban Meyer, it was more about fun conversations and building the relationship. When I decided it was the right school? I silent committed in the winter last year. When I committed I was in Meyer's office with coach (Kerry) Coombs my family and my coach here in my city and when I said the words coach Meyer and Coombs jumped in the air and said "Boom!"
When you realize the reasons...and the opportunities I've got that other people would do anything for, it makes it easy...
What is an area in your game that you think needs the most improvement? – YourA6
AM: All areas of my game need improving to play at the next level, but I need to get some stronger and make my feet faster. I'm a really well-rounded route runner but to stand out and become one of the best I need to do all the little things and continue with route running, and work on becoming more familiar with how coach Smith coaches.
Who would you want your other running mate at WR be if you had to choose one more guy in 2016? Why? – GWolkoff5
AM: I'm trying to get Ben Victor out of Florida and Donnie Corley from Michigan. I feel like from my own conversations, we might have a better chance with Victor but we'll see how it goes. I think with either of those two on the opposite side of me would be pretty deadly.
What kind of route do you see yourself running best? Such as Devin Smith being one of the best vertical route runners of all time. – APack614
AM: I see myself being more of an underneath route runner, more like Mike Thomas. I'm real good with one-on-one situations because I'm a bigger guy. I'll fit well to whatever Ohio State puts me in and learn to excel in any situation.
What is the best part and what is the worst part of being a nationally sought after recruit? – SoDakBuckeyeFan
AM: The best part for sure is being able to have school paid for! Being able to experience great opportunities as a recruit like The Opening and meet the chance to meet a lot NFL guys. The publicity is also a plus but it can take its toll; all the coaches and interviews and not being able to just be that normal kid anymore can get annoying. Still, when you realize the reasons for what your doing, and the opportunities I've got that other people would do anything for, it makes it easy.
Rapid fire: Chipotle or Five Guys? Android or iPhone? Bengals or Browns? Tupac or Biggie? Coke or Pepsi? – PotatoDigger
AM: Five guys, iPhone, Bengals (AJ Green!), and Tupac. I don't drink pop but I'd go with Pepsi, I think.
(Birm's Note: All these answers are correct, except for the Pepsi selection, but since he admitted he doesn't drink soda, he's excused for being wrong.)
What are some points other schools used against Ohio State to recruit you? Also, how difficult is it to see past the glamour schools put on for recruits on visits? – GoBucks544
AM: The number one thing used was that "Ohio State has already won so why join a program that won't win again because they can't keep improving," so people said go to a program who is on the verge, or about to take off shortly. Another one was "they run the ball too much," but after research it's a 60/40 run-to-pass ratio which is heathy and it's all based on personnel. Fact is, if you've got Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott, why not give them the ball? For me it was easy to see through hype because I have great mentors who showed me what is real and what is just show, or a sales pitch.
What wide receivers, past or present, inspire you? Who do you model your game after or compare yourself too, skill set wise? – Codeezy
AM: Not pertaining to Ohio State, it's Larry Fitzgerald, he does everything so well and off the field is even better than he is on it. If I was thinking about Ohio State, I model my game after Mike Thomas he teaches me things he does now. I want to become a better route runner than him but also with the speed and skill of Devin Smith.
What are your thoughts about playing against your friend Auston Robertson (Michigan State commitment) when you come to OSU? – 1MechEng
AM: It's going to be a blast! Growing up together, and now being on the biggest stage playing against each other will be amazing. I'm just can't wait until both of us can sit together in Chicago or New York at the NFL Draft in three or four years after playing at two of the best programs in the country.
What are two goals, one relating to football and one outside of football, that you have for your college career? – TJsJeep
AM: My goal at Ohio State is to leave a legacy and be one of the best wide receivers to ever be a part of #Zone6. Outside of football, it's to graduate and be able to get into medical school following my career. I will get nothing lower than a B because mother would never allow it when I was younger, and she won't when I'm in college. That's the main goal.
Thank you all for the questions. I have the chance as an athlete to give back and with all I'm given, I look forward to that chance. Please feel free to reach out to me about anything with service or the youth . I deal a lot here in my city with the youth and I coach wide receivers from the age of 4-15 . Just know I plan on doing my best when I reach campus; we have the number one class in America and we will stay that way and there are more national championships to come. Go Bucks!