UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton sustained a season-ending injury, but the Knights are in good hands with Darriel Mack Jr. Mack is not an ordinary backup quarterback. The Norfolk, Virginia product committed to UCF over other top programs like West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Maryland back in 2016.
“He was an underrated kid,” Clark told 247 Sports. “I was really high on him — it’s hard to believe a guy like him would get out of the state of Virginia. Really athletic, big arm. At the time, the knock was he needed to improve his accuracy. I’m sure that’s improved since then. He’s really good on the pocket. But he’s really good on the run — he’s a guy who can extend plays and look to pass, instead of extending plays and looking to run. But he’s obviously a dynamic runner. He’s the total package.”
UCF Sports’ Brandon Helwig noted back in 2016 that Mack’s commitment was a bit of a surprise for Scott Frost’s staff.
UCF initially appeared set on taking two quarterbacks in this class – Marvin Washington and Noah Vedral have already committed – but with McKenzie Milton the only certain returning quarterback capable of running Frost’s preferred offense, the decision was made to take an additional player.
Darriel Mack Jr. Is Roommates With McKenzie Milton
Mack was inserted into the UCF-USF game after Milton went down and led the Knights to a sizable victory. UCF head coach Josh Heupel noted they kept the same playbook for Mack that the team used with Milton.
“D.J. threw the ball really well the other night,” Heupel explained to UCFSports.com. “We’ve got to make some plays. 10 other guys around him have to play at a high level. Not anything extraordinary. Play at their best. D.J. has got to make a couple throws that he can make. We have complete confidence in him as a passer. Have complete confidence in him in what we’re doing offensively. Our playbook is wide open. We don’t change anything that we’re doing. The plays we ran with him the other night were the same things we had in the game plan for McKenzie.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Mack is roommates with Milton and is balancing the excitement of getting an opportunity to play with the sadness of seeing his good friend suffer a serious injury.
“It was very emotional for me,” Mack explained to the Orlando Sentinel. “I’m always around him, so it just kind of hurts my heart.”
UCF quarterbacks coach Jeff Lebby noted Mack’s preparation all season has him ready to step up to the challenge.
“DJ’s done a great job preparing all year, so I had no doubts when he entered the game on Friday that we were going to be able to execute,” Lebby explained to the Orlando Sentinel. “DJ’s done a great job handling every week, and that’s what we’ve tried to impress upon everybody in the program. I think people will see that on Saturday afternoon and we’re excited about that.”
Source: Heavy Sports