Alabama adds transfer DB King Mack: How his athleticism bolsters special teams

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Alabama football continued to address a key need Friday afternoon when Penn State transfer defensive back King Mack announced his commitment to Alabama via social media.

Mack, a 5-foot-10 and 188-pound safety, was a top-100 recruit in the 2023 class and one of five Penn State freshmen who did not redshirt during the 2023 season.

He has three years of eligibility remaining.

Mack appeared in all 13 games for Penn State in 2023, primarily on special teams and recorded three tackles and one quarterback hurry on defense. Mack becomes the fourth transfer defensive back to join Alabama alongside DaShawn Jones (Wake Forest), Kameron Howard (Charlotte), Keon Sabb (Michigan) and Domani Jackson (USC).

Mack recorded 65 snaps during his freshman season at Penn State, according to TruMedia. It’s limited experience on a broad scale but a year of experience at a high-level program such as Penn State make Mack an instant candidate to contribute on special teams and compete for a spot on Alabama’s two-deep this fall.

Overall, Mack is the 13th transfer portal addition to Alabama’s class, which is ranked No. 3 nationally, according to 247Sports.

Alabama standouts Jordan Battle and Dallas Turner both aided in Mack’s recruitment to Alabama. Mack starred for powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida, the same high school Battle and Turner attended.

Mack’s athletic traits will benefit Alabama in the short and long term. Despite an undersized label at 5-11, sub-200 pounds, Mack is a rare athlete.

He was a member of the 247Sports’ 2023 Freaks List due to his status as Florida’s 3A state champion in the 400-meter dash (46.25) in spring 2022 as well as earning all-state honors in the 100-meter dash (10.64) and 200-meter (21.43). In the weight room, Mack recorded max results in squat (405 pounds) and bench press (305 pounds).

His athletic ability translates to the return game as well; he was competing for the starting punt return position at Penn State during spring practice. Mack’s traits, particularly his speed, will be a welcomed addition to a Kane Wommack defense that’s aggressive and requires defensive backs to make plays on the ball while playing in zone coverage and keeping eyes on the quarterback.

Within Alabama’s secondary, Mack’s addition replenishes a safety group that’s lost Peyton Woodyard and Tony Mitchell during the spring portal window. The Tide feel good about starters Malachi Moore, Sabb and DeVonta Smith and have added two players in Mack and Howard who have a year of collegiate experience. Both can provide needed depth in case of an injury and project as future starters after the 2024 season.

Here’s a breakdown of where Alabama’s safety room stands with Mack’s addition:

  • Starters: Moore, Sabb and Smith.
  • Experienced depth: Bray Hubbard, Howard and Mack.
  • Talented true freshman: Red Morgan and Zay Mincey.

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(Photo: Gary Cosby Jr. / Tuscaloosa News / USA Today)

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