Look no further than Indiana's spring game draft to see how much the Hoosiers value rising redshirt freshman receiver Taysir Mack.
Mack went No. 3 overall in the draft behind No. 1 pick Simmie Cobbs and No. 2 pick Tegray Scales. It's worth noting that Richard Lagow, Robert McCray, Ian Thomas and Marcelino Ball were taken as free agents prior to the draft, but that still made Mack the seventh player on the roster to come off the board.
So it's safe to say he's got potential.
"Taysir has been doing a ton of great things for us that you guys don't really see," redshirt junior receiver Luke Timian said during the spring. "He's pushing me and everyone else in our room every day."
Word of Mack's game started spreading during Foster Farms Bowl practice and didn't slow much during the spring. He was also named IU's Scout Team Player of the Week ahead of the Hoosiers' game against Nebraska last season.
Once the lights came on in the spring game, Mack showed flashes of what his teammates and coaches have seen behind closed doors with catches like this touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone:
Mack may or may not have been ready to get on the field as a true freshman but wasn't really needed.
Between veteran fifth-year seniors like Ricky Jones and Mitchell Paige and a mix of youngsters like Nick Westbrook and Timian, the Hoosiers were loaded with plenty of weapons on the outside for Lagow to find.
The year behind the scenes gave Mack the chance to develop at his own pace. By the sounds of the results so far (and video highlights like the below Tweet), that was a fine decision.
— Indiana Football (@HoosierFootball) March 25, 2017
Main Hurdle: Finding a niche
Despite two starters in Paige and Jones graduated, there really isn't much wiggle room for snaps at receiver.
Westbrook is back and will likely take one of the starting spots on the outside. Then throw in Timian, who got plenty of action last season, and two former starters in J-Shun Harris and Cobbs returning from injury. Donovan Hale also projects to stay in the mix.
And there's only one football.
Mack is both young and unproven, meaning he'll have to make something out of nothing rather quickly. If he can break through that initial barrier of getting into the rotation he's going to have his opportunities to make grabs.
Mack may be able to move around a bit between outside and slot, which should help, but Harris and Timian could do the same. The earlier Mack proves himself, the better.
Piggybacking off that note, Mack should look to jump into the receiver rotation in his first active season with the program.
His clearest fit would be in the slot, but Harris and Timian should both give him plenty of competition there. It's hard to tell just how deep new offensive coordinator Mike DeBord will want to go down his depth chart, and new head coach Tom Allen said multiple times he wants to establish the run game first.
All of the unknown elements make determining Mack's floor and ceiling mostly guesswork, but there's no denying that opportunities will be out there.
High School Flashback
Mack made headlines in 2016 when he flipped from a longstanding relationship with Rutgers to Indiana on National Signing Day. The former three-star prospect took an official visit to Rutgers the weekend before opting out.
Mack, ranked No. 3 overall in the state of New York in his class, was a First-Team All-State selection as a senior.
He was also named the All-Brooklyn Player of the Year while grabbing 66 passes for 1,210 yards and 16 touchdowns. His team, Grand State Campus High School, went undefeated that season en route to a state championship.
Mack also held offers from the likes of Penn State, Boston College, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State, among others.
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