Mackey overcomes adversity to find his niche


Craig Mackey, center, has found his niche as a model after an unsuccessful start to his college football career. Photos courtesy Craig Mackey

Craig Mackey,a standout football player at Rickards High School, makes a return during one of his high school football games as a Raider.

Craig Mackey,a standout football player at Rickards High School, makes a return during one of his high school football games as a Raider.


By MarKeith Cromartie

Outlook Writer

Craig Mackey was living his dream. He had a successful football career at Rickards High School and was a hands-down signee when FAMU came calling for his talent.

He was a projected starter at cornerback in his freshman year with the Rattlers.

But Mackey couldn’t predict what was to follow. A string of adversities struck, starting when his low ACT scores caused him to lose his scholarship at FAMU. He’d later transfer to another school where he didn’t get all that was promised him.

His world seemed to be crumbling. That was until one night when he was moonlighting as a manager at a nightclub, where a co-worker suggested that his physique – the residual of all of his football years – made him a perfect fit to consider modeling.

The lights came on and Mackey began dreaming again. Modeling became his new passion.

“Once I started, I saw the critiques and the good feedback and all the inquires I was getting about it so I decided to continue,” Mackey said, smiling broadly.

As a model, Mackey believes he has more control of his life than when he attempted to nurture a football career. He also feels that having a family name that resonates in the community could give him leverage to establish his brand as a model.

So far he is enjoying the ride. His pictures have appeared in the centerfold of a small magazine and he’s also worked as a fashion model for a handful of local clothing manufacturers.

Now he is looking for bigger things.

“However far it takes me,” he said. “I didn’t expect to get this far, in college (football) I haven’t got to where I should be and (modeling) has taken me to a lot of places I never expected to go,” said Mackey.

At age 21, Mackey hasn’t quite shut the door on his dream of playing football again.

“We will see this year,” he said, “depending on how things go.”

How he’d like it to go is the way he saw it in the beginning, with an opportunity to continue chasing his dream of playing college football.

But he admits that there are times when it’s painful thinking of not making it on his first go around, especially when he thinks about his journey to Southeast Missouri State. He went there after losing his scholarship at FAMU.

“I lost the love of football up there when I saw how much of a business it was getting recruited by that team,” he said. “They were heavy on me and when I got there a lot of the stuff they said would be available wasn’t available.”

But reviving his football career shouldn’t be difficult if he wants to, said Amion Carridine, who played with Mackey at Rickards.

“He was a guy to show you how hard he was working,” Carridine said, “not just tell you.”

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