The 5-foot-9-inch, 175-pound senior cornerback is now a seasoned veteran as he enters his final collegiate season.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Mack said. “I’m excited I’m going into my senior year. But [I am] also realizing that at the end of the year that my [football] career might possibly come to an end, so it’s kind of bitter. But I’m excited. We’ve had some changes in both offense and defense, so I’m looking for a good year.”
A starter the last two years on special teams as a punt returner as well as in UConn’s nickel defense scheme last year, Mack is a strong candidate for a starting position at cornerback.
"Taylor Mack brings confidence and experience to our defensive seconday and special teams units," Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni said.
It was a strong junior season for Mack in 2012, recording 28 tackles and gaining 98 yards on six punt returns in 12 games for the Huskies, who went 5-7.
He had a career-high five tackles in Connecticut’s 23-20 three-overtime victory over then-20th-ranked Louisville.
“Last season was a good year,” Mack said. “I got to play a lot and had some good games. It was really helpful for my experience, kind of learning and being confident to go out and make plays.”
Mack entered the college ranks at Connecticut in 2010 after an outstanding high school career at Lovett, where he helped lead the Lions to the Class AA state semifinals and was an honorable mention selection on the Georgia Sports Writers Association’s AA All-State team as a senior in ’09.
He played a key role for UConn in his freshman season in ’10, gaining 126 yards on 15 punt returns and recording 14 tackles to help lead the Huskies to an 8-5 record and a spot in the Fiesta Bowl.
He also had two tackles in eight games as a sophomore in ’11.
Mack said he has enjoyed his college career at Connecticut.
“I think it’s gone well,” he said. “I came in and played as a true freshman and after that, I had two great [cornerbacks] ahead of me [in the starting lineup] that I learned from for two years. I’ve had a good career, played every year I’ve been [at UConn] and this year, stepping [into the starting lineup at cornerback] and hopefully do some big things. All in all, I’ve had a good career.”
Mack is hoping to help improve the fortunes of a Connecticut team that has struggled through back-to-back 5-7 seasons.
“The team’s looking real good,” he said. “We’re working real hard offensively and defensively. We’re all excited and we hope to have a better season than 5-7. I want to do what I can do to help the team get back to a bowl and back to where we should be.”
Conneticut cornerbacks coach Darrell Perkins said the Huskies have big hopes for Mack this season.
"Taylor Mack is an outstanding young man and we are proud to have him in our program," Perkins said. "He is talented and we are expecting big things from him this year. He has a great attitude, a strong work ethic and is a pleasure to coach."
While harboring hopes of making it to the NFL, Mack – a communications major at UConn – is planning on life after football.
“The NFL is a possibility,” he said. “But, I’ve got to play well this year and see where that goes. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll have my degree and try to get into broadcast or communications, something like that.”