17 Star Athletes Who Didn't Start Until Their Senior Year of High School

It's not when you get your chance, it's what you do with it.

Khalil Mack

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Khalil Mack

Khalil Mack didn't start until his senior year of high school because he didn't play until his senior year of high school.

At Fort Piece Westwood High School, Mack fancied himself a basketball player. But a torn patella during his sophomore year dashed that dream. 

As Mack rehabbed, he also bought himself a gym membership and began working out with his father, Sandy Mack Sr.

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Khalil Mack didn't start until his senior year of high school because he didn't play until his senior year of high school.

At Fort Piece Westwood High School, Mack fancied himself a basketball player. But a torn patella during his sophomore year dashed that dream. 

As Mack rehabbed, he also bought himself a gym membership and began working out with his father, Sandy Mack Sr.

By the time Khalil's senior year rolled around, he was stronger than ever before.

That's when Waides Ashmon, then the head football coach at Fort Piece, noticed him. At 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, Mack's physique seemed tailor-made for football.

Asmon inquired about getting him to join the football team, but Mack instructed the coach that he'd have to ask Sandy Mack Sr. Asmon pulled out his phone and called him on the spot.

"I said I've never made this call before in my life, but if you allow your son to play football for me, he'll go to school free," Asmon recalled the conversation to Sports Illustrated.

With eduction a priority in the Mack household, that was all Sandy needed to hear.

Mack recorded 140 tackles and 9 sacks in his lone season of high school football. That earned him an offer from Buffalo, where Mack would become a first-team All-American at linebacker.

He earned MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors his senior year.

Now an outside linebacker with the Chicago Bears, Mack is a two-time first-team All-Pro selection. He won the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award in 2016.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


Topics: MOTIVATION | NBA | COLLEGE RECRUITING | YOUTH SPORTS | HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS | NFL | MLB | SLIDESHOW