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Marlon Mack: What We Know, And What We Project

The freshman out of Sarasota Booker broke multiple USF records in his first game. But what do we really know about him?


Marlon Mack single-handedly saved USF's bacon against Western Carolina on Saturday night. With 275 yards rushing on 24 carries, Mack tied the USF single game rushing record, and his one reception for five yards gave him the single-game all-purpose yardage record to himself.

Earning the CFPA Running Back of The Week the first time in uniform is pretty impressive, and portends a bright future.

But who is this kid? We'd ask him ourselves, but he's off-limits to the media (and apparently this includes the USF media relations staff too, as they couldn't get a quote from him either for their piece about him). Coach Taggart has repeatedly insisted freshmen will not be made available to talk. He said we can speak to them at the bowl game at his post-game press conference Saturday. but we gently remind Willie he just be a team that went 2-10 in FCS last year by all of five points, so let's not put the cart before the horse here.

Here's what we know about Marlon Mack:

He played at Sarasota Booker High School, and had offers from UCLA, Michigan, Iowa State, Indiana... and Louisville. And that's where it got fun. This report in The Louisville Courier-Journal had Mack as a committed Cardinal. But Coach Taggart knew better, and immediately sent out possibly the most important tweet on his account ever:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Don&#39;t believe the hype. Go Bulls! <a href="">#DreamTeam</a></p>&mdash; Willie Taggart (@CoachTaggart) <a href="">January 27, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Remember coaches can't talk about recruits directly until after Signing Day and the fax is in, but everyone that followed recruiting even in the slightest knew exactly what he meant. Taggart was disputing the LC-J report, and he turned out to be right. The Courier-Journal put out a retraction very shortly thereafter, and Mack signed with USF as expected on Signing Day.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>USF <a href="">#TAMPABOUND</a></p>&mdash; Ⓜ️&amp;Ⓜ️3⃣0⃣0⃣ (@Marlon_Mack2) <a href="">February 5, 2014</a></blockquote>

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He's got a recruiting tape that shows the patience at the line of scrimmage wasn't just last night. He's patient, and has tremendous burst and breakaway capability.

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He made a cut the other night that was just... I mean damn. Go to 39 second mark of this clip.

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Here's what we project about Marlon Mack:

He's the leading rusher in America as of right now. But how he does against the tougher competition will probably determine his chances of winning the Heisman. Jameis Winston & Johnny Manziel showed the old bias against freshman winning the award doesn't really apply anymore, so there's no reason he can't walk out of the Downtown Athletic Club with the trophy.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>&quot;I was there for Marlon Mack&#39;s first game&quot; is what I&#39;ll say when I go to Canton for the induction ceremony in 2039.</p>&mdash; Collin Sherwin (@USFCollin) <a href="">August 31, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>Marlon Mack is on pace for 3575 yards and 52 TDs this season. <a href="">#math</a></p>&mdash; Voodoo Five (@VoodooFiveSBN) <a href="">August 31, 2014</a></blockquote>

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He's an incredibly benevolent and wonderful human being, as shown by his autographing things for the fans after his record-breaking performance (see picture above).

Needless to say, we're excited about the Marlon Mack Era. But we'll learn a lot more about him as he takes on stiffer competition this weekend against Maryland and next against N.C. State. Does he surpass all of Barry Sanders' NCAA records, or just some of them? Will he be the best player ever from the State of Florida, or the entire Southeast?

Keep watching this season to find out.