This Diamond in the Rough athlete is class of 2024 Northwest High School (Opelousas, LA) DE, OLB, Mackenzie Ardoin. At an astounding 6’4”, 210 pounds, Ardoin towers over his opponents. He has been an asset to the Raiders with 58 solo season tackles, 10 sacks, and 1 fumble recovery. Ardoin is a powerhouse on the field with a 4.56 40-yard dash time. Along with being the top defensive end on his team, he is leading his team in most tackles made in the season. His dedication to the game is coupled with his dedication to academics with a 4.0 GPA as well as a 20 on the ACT. Ardoin has received offers from Culver-Stockton College, Southeastern University, and Navy Football. He has additionally been invited to play in the Gridiron bowl game.
What are your goals for this season?“My goals for this season are to have a winning season and to make it far in the playoffs, and to elevate my team. I just really want to finish out my last year with a bang.”
Do you model your game after anyone?“I would say that I model my game after Miles Garrett on the Browns. He puts forth a lot of effort into what he does and I like to do that too.”
Who is your biggest inspiration outside of football?“My biggest inspiration outside of football would probably be one of my coaches named Coach Cas”
Do you see yourself furthering your football career in college?“Yes, I want to go as high as possible.”
How has the recruiting process been throughout high school?“Its been good, not too much but just enough schools for me to find a home.”
How do you balance school and athletics?“I see it as you’re a student athlete, so you are a student first, and everything starts in the class room. I prioritize all the classroom stuff first. Its also about being a good person, it takes a lot to balance out school and being a good athlete and that comes along with being a good person.
At what age did you start playing football?“I played football a bit as a kid, but I didn’t get serious into it until sophomore year.”
How would you describe a good teammate?“Someone that will pick you up when you’re down, someone that always tries to keep you up. I would also say someone that is respectful and disciplined that is open minded and can see your perspective.”
Do you have any pregame rituals?“I always take a nap so that I’m well rested for the game. I also put on some music to help lock in and get in the zone for the game”
What sets you aside from other athletes?“I would say my determination, hard work, and discipline. Anyone can be athletic, but having the mindset behind the athleticism puts me ahead.”
What motivates you to be a better player?“Definitely the people around me. I’m a big team player so I like when my team is doing good for each other and outshining the other team.”
Did you every play any other sports besides football?“Yes, I played basketball and I also threw the javelin for track.”
What attributes do you have that a college level team would want?“My hard work and determination, because everyone in college is at that same skill level, so it is really your effort level and determination and what you do behind the scenes to give your team that extra push that is going to set you apart from all other players.”
What do you do in the offseason to help you stay in shape?“I workout daily to stay in shape and keep a steady routine and plan. I also work in manual labor which also helps keep me in shape, but I am just always training to keep up shape and to better myself.”