Alumni Mack Hollins shines in NFL, inspires students


Photo by Ethan Lenkin

A game ball from the super bowl Mack Hollins won is displayed in Wootton’s trophy case.

Fox Sports play-by-play commentator Kenny Albert was calling the week three showdown between the Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders. Albert said, “Carr on fourth down. Steps up and fires. And it’s Hollins. Mack Hollins at the Tennessee 25-yard line makes the catch…wow.”

The only thing Albert forgot to mention is that Hollins is a Wootton graduate. Hollins is now in his sixth NFL season. He is currently on the Las Vegas Raiders after spending the previous three seasons with the Miami Dolphins and the two before that with the Philadelphia Eagles. His season is off to a great start with two touchdowns and over 300 reception yards in six games.

Hollins graduated from high school as a member of the class of 2011. After not receiving any college offers, he attended Fork Union Military Academy. His performance at Fork Union prompted the University of North Carolina to offer him a walk-on opportunity if he was accepted into the school. Hollins made it into the school and onto the team where he played three seasons before being drafted to the NFL in 2017.

The success of a graduate can be inspirational to current and future students. Senior Devlin McCarthy said, “Seeing Mack Hollins succeed at such a high level makes me feel like I can accomplish anything.”

Playing six seasons in the NFL is a rare feat. The percentage of football players to make the NFL is razor-thin and few stay in the league for longer than two or three years. “When you reach the NFL, you are at the top of your profession, and you understand that at any moment it could end with an injury,” security guard and varsity football coach Ivan Hicks said. Hicks described Hollins as a hardworking receiver who works to get open and is a team player.
Hicks has also used Hollins as a role model that his players can look up to. Hicks said, “The conversation was about how hard work can pay off if you really want something.”

Students may be surprised by the fact that an NFL player came from this school. Sophomore Emma Yuan said, “It’s really surprising to me, but I am also very proud of any successful alumni that have come through the Wootton cluster.”
Hollins is more to students than just an inspiration. His hardworking style and unique personality has made him a fan favorite at each team he has played on. “I am a huge Mack Hollins fan,” McCarthy said.

The wide receiver is best known for his work on special teams and his utilization of his 6’4” frame in making acrobatic catches. McCarthy said, “I really like his jump ball ability.”
Hollins is far from the only alumni to go on to career success. NFL star Trevon Diggs, actor Thomas Jane and former White House Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu are all examples of alumni who have made it big. Yuan said, “Their success inspires me to work hard and follow my dreams.”