Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver Mack Hollins reeled in a pass from quarterback Carson Wentz and scored on a 64-yard touchdown reception during Monday night’s game against the Washington Redskins.
For Hollins, a Rockville native who once played at Wootton, the score marked his first career touchdown as an NFL wide receiver.
I spoke with Hollins in the Eagles locker room following Philadelphia’s 30-17 victory over the Redskins in the season opener at FedEx Field.
Although he didn’t get much playing time that day, he was happy to be back in familiar surroundings.
In his preseason debut against the Green Bay Packers, the 6-foot-4, 221-pound speedster scored on a 38-yard touchdown reception from Wentz.
“He brings some versatility,” Wentz told me back in September. “He brings a big play, a big body as well. He’s got some range to him so he can do a little bit of everything. He can go in the slot, he can play z he can play x and he’s just a solid guy. If somebody goes down, he can jump in and kind of not miss a beat.”
Hollins, who was the draft’s 118th overall pick, became the first former Wootton player drafted in 16 years. In 2001, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Temple offensive lineman Mathias Nkwenti in the fourth round with the 111th overall pick.
During his high school career at Wootton, Hollins went virtually unnoticed on the gridiron and received little interest from major college scouts while sporting the Patriots uniform.
“He was under the radar,” explained Wootton head coach Eddie Tolliver, “because he didn’t play his junior year.”
In front of a national television audience on Monday Night Football, Hollins made a splash against the hometown Redskins and Tolliver’s favorite NFL franchise.
“I loved Mack’s performance,” said Tolliver. “He showed that, being a big receiver, he could still take the top off a defense and he’s not just a possession guy.”
Springbrook senior and All-Sentinel performer Matthew Balanc has made his college decision.
Balanc, who averaged a team-high 20 points per game last season, verbally committed to play college basketball at Quinnipiac earlier this month.
“It was the best fit for me, and I liked the coaches, the players, the school and the environment,” said Balanc.
The 6-foot-3 combo guard also considered Florida Gulf Coast University, University of Rhode Island, University of Massachusetts and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Balanc shined in the DeMatha Summer League where he was one of the top players this year. In a playoff game against DeMatha, Balanc scored 34 points and had a buzzer-beater at the end of regulation to force overtime against the host Stags. Springbrook lost the game in double overtime despite a valiant effort from Balanc.
The four-year varsity performer played on the AAU circuit this past summer with head coach James Lee’s Mid Atlantic Select squad and helped lead the team to a 17U championship in Orlando during the July recruiting period.
“He had an unbelievable summer and he had a great game against DeMatha in the playoffs,” said Springbrook head coach Darnell Myers.
Balanc said he looks forward to his senior campaign at Springbrook where he has some lofty goals in mind – including a Maryland state championship.
“I think if we play together and play within our system we’ll go far,” he said.