The University of Maine football team has discovered something special in first-year running back Joshua Mack. Mack comes to Maine from Rochester, N.Y., where he played high school football for Pittsford-Mendon. Mack is already off to a sizzling hot start for the 3-3 Black Bears and looks like he could become the future of the Maine offense.
In high school Mack certainly didn’t go unnoticed, as he was named a two-time All Greater Rochester All-Star, two time All-League/Country All-Star, USA Today Second Team All-State and 2015 Rochester Co-Player of the Year. He also set a Section-5 single playoff game rushing record as he galloped for 344 yards in a playoff game. Mack ended up deciding on Maine over another school.
“I almost went to Texas El Paso, but I came up here for my visit and it felt like home. I’m from New York and it’s similar weather so it felt just like at home. I bonded with the coaches, so I knew this would be the school for me the next four years,” Mack said on his decision to come to Maine.
Maine has used the running back by committee approach for the most part this season, but Mack would definitely be considered the featured back if you asked anyone on the team. He leads the team in rushing,with 260 yards despite missing a game. He’s also chipped in eight receptions for 89 yards in five games. Mack has a team-high four touchdowns, three rushing and one receiving. His ability to be able to both run and catch out of the backfield makes him an extremely tough duel threat running back to game plan for. Mack credits his coaching and the system for his early success.
“Reading my keys, listening to my coaches, just believing in myself and playing the system has lead me to success,” Mack said.
Mack’s performance on the field has been taken note of and earned him respect by upperclassmen on the team. Third-year linebacker Austin Brown and third-year wide receiver Marquise Adams have both been pleased with the addition of Mack.
“He doesn’t play like a freshman at all. If we want to go far this season we are going to need him to keep playing at this level,” Brown said.
“Josh [Mack] has just been great for the team on and off the field. On the field he is obviously playing well and helping us win games. And off the field he fits in well with everyone, it’s like he has been here for a couple years already,” Adams said.
Aside from earning his respect from teammates in the locker room, Mack has found a way to impress the new head coach, Joe Harasymiak. According to Harasymiak, Mack may actually be the piece that Maine football has been missing the past couple years.
“He’s just a guy that is explosive, a running back needs to be able to make plays and break tackles. We’ve had issues with that the past couple years, so he is someone who has been able to extend plays and turn that four-yard run into a touchdown,” Harasymiak said. “He catches the ball well out of the backfield too which is a key for us in this new offense.”
However, it’s not just Mack’s talent that makes him pleasant to be around, it’s a combination of his smile and dedication to the sport of football. The stuff that you can’t just teach.
“Josh always has a smile on his face that lights up the locker room, but he’s also serious at times. He loves football, he just really enjoys his playing time out there. He perfects his craft because he is very coachable and wants to improve. He is someone we can grow into a leadership role,” Harasymiak said.
It seems like all-systems go for Mack and his future football career at the University of Maine. Mack is well liked around the program, his talent is undeniable and his love for the game will drive him to become even greater. Getting all this experience in his first year is extremely valuable for him and the Maine football programs future. If Mack continues on this track, the future ahead looks very bright for the 18-year–old star running back.