The 2014 prospect serves as the backup to four-star quarterback Jared Goff, a commit to Cal, and an Elite 11 passer.
Mahalak, like Kyle Boller, Matt Moore and Jeff Tuel before him, has taken to play another position, receiver in his case, to bide his time until the starting quarterback position is his.
Moore backed up Kyle Matter at Hart as a junior, playing safety for the Indians before taking over the starting reins in 2001, like Boller did three years before for Hart. Tuel backed up Beau Sweeney in 2007, playing running back and receiver, before becoming the starter in 2009. All three of those quarterbacks would end up as multi-year starters in the Pac-10/Pac-12.
So Mahalak is hoping for a repeat, learning from Goff, playing another position, all while waiting patiently for his turn to assume the starting job.
"A lot of people ask if it must be hard, but I've really taken a positive approach to it, and I've learned a lot from Jared," said Mahalak. "Playing receiver, each and every day at practice, I'm working on my trade, competing and just learning something every day."
Mahalak knew he'd be the #2 quarterback at Marin Catholic this fall, what with Goff a highly recruited and decorated starter the past two seasons.
But Mahalak also wanted to get ahead of the game, getting out to a number of camps this spring and summer, to get his name onto coaches radar even though he wouldn't be putting up big stats this fall, playing behind Goff. He had a good showing, for one, at the Oakland Elite 11.
"That was huge for me," said Mahalak. "I wouldn't be in this position if it weren't for that. I built some great relationships with coaches and they're aware of my situation and they respect it. We're on good terms with a lot of schools. So the spring was just huge for me. I just want to finish the season off well and have a good spring next year too."
A number of schools have been showing interest in Mahalak, and he's planning to get out to quite a few more.
This week, Mahalak is hitting Tobacco Road during Marin Catholic's bye, visiting Duke and NC State on Thursday and attending the Clemson-Wake Forest game on Thursday evening, while also planning to visit North Carolina on Friday and then be at the North Carolina-NC State game on Saturday.
The easy thing for Mahalak to do would have been to transfer, go somewhere he can see immediate playing time, something that quarterbacks, especially college prospects, are known to do, sometimes with great frequency.
But that wasn't an approach Mahalak ever really considered.
"Sure, I could have transferred, a lot of people said I should, but I never even considered it," said Mahalak. "Part of the reason is I just love this school, this place. I feel at home here and I love it here. My brother is here. I could go to another school and get great recognition, or I could be patient, learn a ton from Jared and be better because of it. I never thought about leaving."
Instead, he's plying his trade as a receiver, still seeing plenty of snaps behind center, and part of a team that is poised to not just win a CIF-NCS title, but compete for a spot in the CIF State D-II Championship Game in December.
Next year, he'll compete in a loaded group of quarterbacks from the Bay Area.
"I'm pretty good friends with JaJuan Lawson (from Petaluma Casa Grande) and Manny Wilkins (Novato San Marin) and there are just so many good quarterbacks from up here. "It's crazy just to be known around here for our quarterbacks. Having that many is so special and it's an elite group," said Mahalak.
And while Mahalak is eager to see his recruitment really take off, he's grounded enough to know it may be a little slower with limited snaps this year, which is why he's diligently went about the camp circuit.
"I'm prepared for it to be a little slow and patience is definitely a key in my situation," said Mahalak. "It will all come in good time and I'll just stay positive and do everything I've done to get to this point."