The job description for Micky Sullivan as head coach of Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy’s high school football program does not include recruiting prospects for his team.
So imagine Sullivan’s delight when Maryland offensive tackle commitment Larry Mazyck showed up at his doorstep late last summer, asking to spend his senior season with the Blue Devils.
“My first impression was, he’s huge. Which he is. Holy mackerel, this guy is big,” Sullivan said. “Then I watched him. He was down here shooting a little basketball. [I thought], ‘Man, does he look really athletic.’ That proved to be the case, too. I’ve been really lucky the past three or four years having some good, big linemen. Larry was another one. Last year we lost Mark Shuman to Virginia Tech, Jacob Ruby to the University of Richmond and Russell Bodine to North Carolina. All three of them played [on the offensive line] here the year before, graduated and went on to college. Getting a guy like Larry, who’s that big and athletic, was a big plus for us.”Sullivan said Mazyck, a 6-foot-7, 320-pound offensive tackle, and his family were looking for a school to provide more structure, more challenging academics and a higher level of competition than he received playing for Friendship Collegiate in Washington. Sullivan was happy to accommodate the Mazyck family’s wishes, welcoming him into Blue Devils’ program. His transition to military life “took time,” but it didn’t take too long for him to get comfortable as Fork Union’s starting left tackle.
“For a lot of guys, the first four games of the season is, let’s figure out what’s going on here,” Sullivan said. “We didn’t know them, they didn’t know us. The guy Larry lined up next to, Larry hadn’t met him before. That was a big change. Having Larry there gave us a big, strong offensive tackle that allowed us to do some things in games that we would not have been able to do if we hadn’t had him.”
One way Sullivan took advantage of Mazyck’s size was putting him in the goal-line package defensively, and sliding him inside to guard to exploit mismatches when the opponent dictated such a move. With a diverse schedule that included games against Loyola in Baltimore, Georgetown Prep, Woodberry Forest (Va.) and Valley Forge (Pa.) Military Academy, Sullivan had plenty of chances to move Mazyck around.
“We play people all over and get a lot of different fronts,” Sullivan said. “What we’re trying to do is play big on big. If they’re going to give us an even front, we’re going to try to play our big guy on their big guy. That won’t force him to move inside. We’ll get him inside when, at times, we got overpowered. The guy playing next to him is about 6-4, 210. That allowed us to put Larry inside against bigger bodies and gave us an advantage.”
After starting the season 1-3, Fork Union rallied to make the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I playoffs. The Blue Devils finished their 7-5 season with a 16-14 win over Collegiate for the state title. Mazyck played a major role in the win on both sides of the ball.
“At the end of the year, he certainly got better,” Sullivan said. “In the state championship game, he made two or three great plays at the end of the ball game, which really helped us win the state championship.”
Mazyck remains on Fork Union’s campus for the winter semester and is set to graduate in May. While he’s still developing as a prospect, Sullivan thinks Mazyck has a good chance to realize his potential in College Park.
“The guy’s got great feet, long arms and is very athletic,” Sullivan said. “He looks like a tackle. He’s got to get stronger for the next level. But he can be a great, big-time tackle. … Everyone’s looking for a 6-8, 300-pound tackle that can move.”