UCF Knights QB Darriel Mack Jr., the hero of the 2018 American Championship, announced he is leaving UCF and entering the transfer portal on Wednesday. Mack made the announcement on social media:
I Love You Knight Nation pic.twitter.com/Xcm59PMWYe— Darriel Mack Jr ™ (@DJMactastic1) November 11, 2020
Mack’s career path at UCF was as circuitous as it was fascinating. He came to UCF from Norfolk, Virginia, and worked his way up to being McKenzie Milton’s backup by 2018.
It was at Greenville when Mack made his first start for UCF, playing well in Milton’s place as he was banged up from the week before. Mack was 12/20 for just 69 yards through the air, but ran 22 times for 120 yards and a TD in a UCF win.
When Milton went down with his devastating injury at South Florida, Mack stepped in and captained UCF to another win, rushing for 51 yards and throwing for 81.
But it was the following week that Mack made his mark at UCF in the 2018 American Championship against Memphis. After a disastrous first half where he fumbled four times, losing three of them (one was recovered for a TD by UCF). Despite that, he led UCF back from a 38-21 deficit at halftime, scoring four TDs on the ground and throwing for two more through the air. He finished 19/27 for 348 yards and two TDs, plus 59 yards and the four more running scores, and won the game’s MVP award.
Mack was the odds-on favorite to be the Knights’ starter in 2019, but after an ankle injury in the preseason, he was supplanted by Brandon Wimbush, who himself was supplanted by Dillon Gabriel. He opted out for 2020, and the rest is now history.
Mack finishes his UCF career 70/131 for 838 yards and 7 TDs with two picks, plus 516 yards on 110 rushes and another 9 TDs.
Due to the NCAA’s COVID rules, Mack will be a junior wherever he lands in 2021. It should be very intriguing to see what he will be able to do with an offense that he fully has the keys to.
In the meantime, we’ll always have 2018 and his Nick Folesian performance late in the season that helped UCF hang another conference title banner.