April 25, 2009
NEW YORK, NY - Former Cal football player Alex Mack was selected Saturday by the Cleveland Browns in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft with the 21st overall pick. The first center taken in this year's draft is the 23rd player in Cal history to be selected in the first round and only the fourth offensive lineman. His selection at No. 21 overall is the highest a Cal offensive lineman has been drafted since Tarik Glenn was taken at No. 16 overall by Indianapolis in 1997.
"Playing in the NFL is a dream come true and I am thrilled to be a Cleveland Brown," said Mack. "I am so thankful to Coach Mangini, Mr. Kokinis, Coach Warhop and the rest of the Browns' organization for choosing me. I am also honored to have the chance to be able to play in front of some of the best fans in the nation. I know that the draft is just the first step, and I am eager to start working so I can be ready to contribute in 2009."
"We're really proud of Alex," said Cal head coach Jeff Tedford. "It's very well-deserved. He's meant a lot to our program, and he will be a great professional. He's a guy that works very hard and provided a lot of stability, guidance and leadership for our program. I'm just really proud that he came back for his senior year (in 2008) and it all worked out. It's great for him because of winning the Draddy Award and then now being selected so high in the draft. It couldn't happen to a better person."
"I'm very happy I came back for my senior year," added Mack. "It was probably one of the smartest decisions of my life. I'm very grateful for the people that pointed me in the right direction."
Mack's long list of accomplishments is highlighted by first-team All-American selections in each of his final two collegiate seasons in 2007 and 2008. He was also a finalist for the Rimington Trophy given to the nation's top center both years. Mack wrapped up his collegiate career last season by winning the Morris Trophy given to the Pac-10's top offensive lineman for the second straight year. In addition, he earned a first-team spot on the All-Pac-10 team for the third consecutive season, was named to ESPN's All-Bowl squad for the second time in his career, and shared the team's Bear Backers Award (Co-Offensive MVP) after being named the squad's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman as a junior and Most Improved Offensive Lineman in his sophomore campaign. He also repeated as the winner of the club's Brick Muller Award given to its most outstanding offensive lineman in his senior campaign.
Over the last three seasons, Mack started all 39 of Cal's games and anchored an offensive line that opened holes for three of the top five individual single-season rushers in school history. Jahvid Best ran for Cal's second-highest rushing total last season when he gained 1580 yards on the ground, following Justin Forsett's 1546-yard campaign in 2007 and Marshawn Lynch's 1356-yard season in 2006 (No. 5).
Mack has excelled in the classroom as well, earning the prestigious Draddy Trophy awarded to college football's top scholar-athlete in 2008. He was also selected the 2008-09 Pac-10 Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while adding his second consecutive first-team Pac-10 All-Academic honor. In addition, he was a 2008 finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for the first time and repeated for a second consecutive year as a Rotary Lombardi Award semifinalist.
Check calbears.com again on Sunday to learn the fate of several other former Cal players hoping to be selected in the 2009 NFL Draft as the final five rounds of the seven-round event will be conducted from Radio City Music Hall In New York City beginning at 10:00 am, ET (7:00 am, PT). ESPN and the NFL Network will televise the event live for the second consecutive day.