At Summit High School, Mallory won honors in football, basketball, and track. His sophomore year, he was ranked 11th in the nation in punt return with a WVU-record of 342 yards. Three of these returns were long touchdowns. Mallory started the last three games on the 1965 squad and as a result Carlen made him primarily a cornerback. With only three games experience he became an All-Southern Conference first team and Associate Press All-America honorable mention defensive back his junior year. He ranked among the nation's best punt returners—34 for 596 yards, a 17.5-yard average and five touchdowns.

Mallory was considered by Carlen to the best receiver on the team but was more valuable on defense. He also lettered in track and ran the 440 yd and mile relays for the Mountaineer trackmen. For his career at WVU, Mallory intercepted 10 passes and returned 70 punts for 1,049 yards while scoring seven touchdowns. John would then go on to be drafted in the 10th round by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, he played in all 14 games his rookie season. The next year he was traded to Atlanta, where he became the Falcons' all-time punt return leader. John also played two seasons with the WFL's Houston Texans, recording seven interceptions. John was inducted into the West Virginia University Hall of Fame in 2001, he was also inducted into the School of Physical Education Hall of Fame in 2004.

Courtesy WVU Sports Hall of Fame and Department of Athletics