By Josh Sanchez
May 08, 2014

NFL draft: Khalil Mack says his mom convinced him not to go pro as a junior Khalil Mack led Buffalo to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and raised his national profile with a standout senior season. (Steve Conner/Icon SMI)

You know what they say: Mother knows best. That appears to be the case for Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, who many believe could end up making just as big of an impact at the next level as South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick.

Mack enters Thursday night's draft as one of the top defensive prospects available after spending his senior season as a dominant force in the Mid-American Conference, but he had considered leaving Buffalo for the draft as a junior, despite being projected as only a fourth-round pick at the time.

The reason behind Mack returning? His mother.

“I couldn’t do that to my mom, couldn’t leave school without my degree, couldn’t do that to her or myself,” Mack told USA Today's Jim Corbett this week.

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Not only did Mack get his degree, but he put together an incredible senior campaign for the Bulls, including a standout performance against Ohio State on a national stage that helped vault him into the first-round discussion. After a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and a solid combine performance in Indianapolis, Mack began to shoot up draft boards.

Mack now finds himself as a likely top-five pick, which will earn him millions of dollars more than he would have if he'd entered the draft a year ago.

Thanks in part to his determination not to disappoint his mother, Mack is lined up for a much higher-profile entrance into the professional ranks than he may have expected this time last year.

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