Jan. 8, 2008
BERKELEY - All-America center Alex Mack announced on Tuesday that he will return for his senior season with the University of California. Mack earned All-America honors from multiple entities, including first-team recognition by The Sporting News.
"This is a really great opportunity for me to help the team," Mack said. "There is a lot I can do at Cal to improve my game and to further my career. I didn't want to miss the experience of my senior season and helping the team get back on track and finish things right. This also gives me an opportunity to finish my degree and continue my education. I came to Cal because of the outstanding education and I want to finish that before I'm done. I'm really just looking forward to getting into spring ball and seeing how the team comes together for 2008."
"We're really happy and excited to have Alex coming back," Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said. "There is no question that he makes us a better football team in a lot of ways, not just with his football ability, but from a leadership and work-ethic standpoint. He is a great example for every member of the team, on and off the field. Not only will this will give him an opportunity to reach his full potential as a player, but he will also be able to complete his degree at Cal."
Mack was also a finalist for the Rimington Trophy which goes to the nation's top center and the winner of the Morris Trophy in the Pac-10. The Morris Trophy is a unique award given to the outstanding offensive and defensive linemen in the Pacific-10 Conference. What makes the award unique is the selection procedure, which has the starting offensive linemen in the Conference voting for the defensive winner and vice versa. It is truly a players' award.
Rated as the No. 1 junior center in the nation by Mel Kiper this past season, the Santa Barbara product was also one of just three unanimous selections to the All-Pac-10 first team and a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award. He anchors an offensive line which allowed just 11 sacks in 2007 (best in the Pac-10, fourth in the nation). In addition to being voted the team's Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman (Brick Muller Award), he leads the team in pancakes, knockdowns and cuts.
The 6-5, 300-pounder's excellence is not limited to the playing field either, a legal studies major, he earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honors for the second straight year and was named to the Pac-10 All-Academic First Team. He is on track to earn his bachelor's degree in legal studies in May and hopes to pursue graduate studies in the fall.
The Golden Bears posted their sixth straight winning season in 2007, capping the year with a come-from-behind 42-36 triumph over Air Force in the Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Bowl. The bowl victory was the fourth for Tedford - no other Cal coach has won more than two. It is the first time in program history that Cal has advanced to five straight bowl games and the first time in over 50 years that the Bears have posted six straight winning seasons.