Mackey Reflects on his Decision

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For 4-star recruit Leon Mackey , all four of the official visits he made were terrific. When it came down to making a college choice, Virginia Tech was the pick, receiving the 6-5, 275-pound defensive end’s letter of intent last Wednesday over Florida State, North Carolina and N.C. State.

“I prayed about it and I believe I made a good decision,” said Mackey, who informed the Tech coaches about his decision the night before Signing Day. “I chose Virginia Tech for the environment, the football atmosphere and the coaches.”

Virginia Tech’s coaches were led by primary recruiter Bryan Stinespring and defensive line coach Charley Wiles. Mackey felt comfortable with both of those coaches, who helped turn the tide in Tech’s favor.

“First of all, Coach Stinespring and I had a real good relationship,” Mackey said. “I call him Coach Stiney (laughs). I also like Coach Wiles. Under Coach Wiles, I think I will get better as a football player and as a person. I also like Bud Foster as the defensive coordinator. I’ve met him and talked to him. He didn’t promise me anything, but he said they would give me an opportunity to play my first year and that is all I ask for.”

Mackey’s first three years of high school were at Christiana High School in Newark, Delaware. He decided to spend his senior year at Hargrave Military Academy, where he played for Robert Prunty’s postgraduate football squad despite being a true senior. First and foremost, Mackey says he has “developed more character” in his time at the Chatham (VA) school. Football-wise, he is looking forward to reaping the benefits of his Hargrave experience.

“If I had just come out of high school, I think it would take me about two years before I could start in college,” Mackey said. “Coming from Hargrave, I could see myself getting playing time as a freshman. Coach Prunty is a great coach. He teaches us well as far as football savvy and other things. I played with great athletes and I feel I stepped up to the plate. I think I took a lot of steps in the right direction.”