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Taysir Mack opts out of Peach Bowl to prep for NFL draft

Pitt wide receiver Taysir Mack announced late last week that he would sit out the Peach Bowl and shift his focus to training for the 2022 NFL draft. Mack is one of three Pitt players to forgo the bowl game, as Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett and Pitt cornerback Damarri Mathis also opted out to focus on draft prep.

“Pittsburgh, you will forever have a special place in my heart,” Mack wrote in a message posted on Twitter. “After countless prayers with my family and conversations with my mentors and advisors, I’m officially making the decision to forgo playing in the bowl game and focus my time and attention into preparing for the 2022 NFL draft and transitioning to the big stage. Thank you, Panther Nation!”

The 6’2”, 180-pound receiver came to Pitt in 2018, after spending the first two seasons of his college career with Indiana. During his four seasons with the Panthers, Mack played in 40 games and accrued 2,059 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He also came up with the game-winning touchdown catch in Pitt’s 34-30 Quick Lane Bowl win over Eastern Michigan.

While Mack enjoyed a few outstanding moments during his time at Pitt, he was overshadowed in the Panthers receiving corps over the last two years by Jordan Addison. The underclassman became a star in 2020, and he won the Biletnikoff Award this season after accruing 1,479 yards and leading the nation with 17 touchdown receptions. Mack had 461 yards and three touchdowns in 2021. He also missed five games due to an injury suffered against Miami in October.

Of the three Pitt players to forgo the Peach Bowl, Mack likely has the toughest path to the NFL. Pickett is expected to go in the first round of the draft and is ranked by ESPN as the No. 1 quarterback and No. 16 overall prospect. Mathis is ranked as the No. 26 cornerback and the No. 247 prospect by the same outlet. Meanwhile, Mack is unranked by ESPN.

While Mack will not play in the Peach Bowl, he has yet to play in his final game at the college level, as he accepted an invitation to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Pasadena, California. That game is set to be played on Jan. 29.