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February 2, 2013

Auburn OG Eric Mack, wounded last summer, still in school but football career has ended

EricMackAUBURN, Ala. – Eric Mack is beginning a new chapter of his life, pursuing his education at Auburn University while no longer a part of the football team.

Mack, 21, was wounded and suffered a hip injury in a June 9 shooting at the University Heights apartment complex just off campus. Former Auburn football players Ed Christian and Ladarious Phillips were killed that night, and Desmonte Leonard has since been indicted on multiple charges of murder and assault.

During preseason practices the first week of August, then-head coach Gene Chizik repeatedly declined to specify Mack’s status, though at SEC Media Days Chizik sounded hopeful the offensive guard could make a full recovery and return to football.

Mack redshirted the national championship season of 2010 and played in five games his freshman year, and the former four-star recruit was expected to compete for a starting job this past fall.

However, Mack never practiced or suited up with the Tigers, while his name continued to be listed on the official team roster all the way through to a postseason release in December.

This past week, Mack’s name was removed from Auburn’s online roster.

Two university representatives confirmed to the Ledger-Enquirer that Mack is still enrolled at Auburn, but will not play football again for the Tigers.

Mack will continue with what the NCAA refers to as a medical non-counter, which disqualifies a student-athlete who suffered “incapacitating injury or illness” from further competition but authorizes Mack an institutional grant-in-aid, preserving Mack’s financial allowance to finish his degree.

Therefore, he will not count against the 85 full-ride scholarships designated to a Division I football program.

Mack’s listed major is in public administration, and he has been enrolled at Auburn since the fall of 2010, making this his sixth semester at the university.

Calls to a phone number listed for Wynette Sellers, Mack’s mother in Cameron, S.C., were not answered.

Auburn Football

The 6-foot-3, 330-pound Mack was the No. 2-rated offensive guard by ESPN.com in the class of 2010 – and also tabbed in the top ten by Scout, Rivals and MaxPreps – out of Calhoun County High School in St. Matthews, S.C. Mack was named to the PrepStar All-American team and played in the 2010 Under Armour All-American game.

Mack is one of five scholarship non-seniors to depart the program since the Dec. 4 hiring of Chizik’s successor, Gus Malzahn, for assorted reasons.

Defensive end Corey Lemonier declared for the NFL Draft, offensive guard Christian Westerman transferred to Arizona State, running back Mike Blakely is transferring elsewhere and quarterback Clint Moseley is foregoing his senior season of eligibility while remaining in school.

Based on last fall’s scholarship awards, and the graduation of 13 seniors, Auburn appears to have 62 current football players on athletic scholarship entering Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

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