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From the start of his recruitment, ESPN Junior 300 defensive tackle Daylon Mack had a special place in his heart for Texas A&M.
A&M was the first school to extend the Gladewater (Texas) High School standout a scholarship offer. It also was the first school he visited on a junior day. It was on that day, all the way back in January, that Mack fell in love with Aggieland.
On Monday, Mack -- the No. 10 player in the country in his class -- pledged to the Aggies and became the fourth member of Texas A&M's 2015 recruiting class.
"I feel at home when I go down there," Mack said Monday. "I always enjoy myself when I go down there, I always get along with the coaching staff when I go down there and the people around the town are great."
It's a significant pickup for Texas A&M, just three days after it landed one of the top defensive players in the 2014 class, ESPN 300 defensive end Myles Garrett.
The Texas A&M defense has struggled this season. The Aggies are 118th out of 123 teams nationally in total defense and 112th in rushing defense. Those numbers won't get it done in the SEC, and coach Kevin Sumlin knows it.
"If you look at where we are right now in our recruiting efforts, I think you see where our emphasis is," Sumlin said after Saturday's 45-41 loss to Auburn, in which the Aggies allowed 615 total yards and 379 rushing.
At 6-foot-2, 307 pounds, Mack brings SEC size to his position. The four-star prospect and nation's third-ranked defensive tackle is described by ESPN RecruitingNation's scouts as a "stout interior lineman who can two-gap and hold point or disrupt from a shade. Possesses a good short range burst and excellent playing strength. Can overpower as a bull rusher. Reads and reacts quickly to blocking schemes."
After the Aggies signed the state's top defensive tackle in the 2013 class, ESPN 300 prospect Justin Manning, and added the top defensive lineman in the 2014 class in Garrett, Mack continues a trend with the Aggies building a strong defensive line. Isaiah Golden, an ESPN 300 defensive tackle, also was part of A&M's 2013 class and now is starting for the Aggies after an injury forced him into the lineup. In addition, this shows the momentum Texas A&M has on the recruiting front, landing the top overall player in the state of Texas in both 2014 and 2015.
Looking at where the Aggies currently are on defense combined with the players they have added and continue to add on defense is appealing to Mack.
"They just need a little help on defense," Mack said. "They just got Myles and they got me in 2015, so I feel like I can come in and contribute early on and help anchor that defense."
Mack has been enamored with the Aggies since the recruiting relationship began in the fall of 2012. Mack said publicly several times that he was ready to shut down the recruiting process and commit to Texas A&M, but his parents wanted him to step back and enjoy the process, not rush to an early decision. As he waited, appealing offers came from all over the country -- Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon -- and although he gave much thought to several schools, in the end, it seemingly always came back to A&M.
He said he discussed the decision with his mother, who finally felt comfortable giving Mack the green light to make the commitment.
Mack said LSU was second on his list. He also held offers from Baylor, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech, among others. Texas A&M offensive line coach B.J. Anderson and defensive line coach Terry Price led the recruitment of Mack for the Aggies.
Just days after his first visit to Aggieland on Jan. 27, Mack said, "We're going to see some other colleges so I can compare them to A&M. I really don't think it's going to get better from what I've seen from A&M."
On Monday, he decided his first instinct was the right one. He said he's excited to arrive in 2015, when the Aggies make their debut at the newly redone Kyle Field, which is undergoing a $450 million renovation scheduled for completion by the start of the 2015 season.
"When I get there, they'll have that new stadium, it'll be even more crazy," Mack said.