Tyrone Mahone is finally healthy and making plays again.
The Bentonville (Ark.) High cornerback broke his ankle in the semifinals of last season’s Class 7A playoffs and had to watch his team win the state championship from the sideline. After months of rehab, he is back on the field and has helped the Tigers to a 4-0 start.
“It feels great to be out here with my team, getting huge wins and making huge plays,” Mahone said.
Mahone’s biggest play this season came in the second quarter of Bentonville’s Week 2 win over Valor Christian (Colo.), when he intercepted a pass on a trick play with the Tigers trailing 10-7.
The play swung momentum in favor of the Tigers and they scored five plays later to take the lead for good.
In Friday’s 42-14 win over Fort Smith Southside, Mahone led a defense that didn’t allow a point in the second half.
“We just came into halftime and cleaned up the mess,” Mahone said. “We came out and adjusted and it worked. We played sound defense in the second half.”
With legendary head coach Barry Lunney Sr. no longer at the helm, former Bentonville defensive coordinator Jody Grant is leading the Tigers.
Grant said that it took a while for Mahone to regain confidence in his ankle, but he believes that not only is he physically back to normal, but also mentally.
“I think he’s back,” Grant said. “He’s the old Tyrone. With him being the old Tyrone, that means he’s one of the top corners in the state.”
He has also seen Mahone progress as a leader in the locker room.
“He’s a quiet kid, but when we need people to step up vocally, he’s the guy,” Mahone said. “When Tyrone is talking, they’re listening because he doesn’t talk very much.”
Mahone has offers from FCS Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri State, as well as Division II Central Oklahoma, Missouri Southern State and East Central (Okla.) University.
He is also keeping in touch with Arkansas State and Central Arkansas, but growing up as a fan of the Razorbacks, he is hoping an offer from Arkansas is in his future.
“I keep in contact with (Arkansas tight ends coach) Barry Lunney Jr.,” Mahone said. “He messages me on Twitter.”
While the offer hasn’t come yet, he looks at a current Arkansas player as motivation.
Fayetteville’s Dre Greenlaw didn’t get many offers from major schools until well into his senior season. In fact, he was committed to Arkansas State until the Razorbacks offered him on Oct. 9, 2015.
Fast forward one year and Greenlaw is a starting linebacker as a true freshman at Arkansas.
“I really like Northwest Arkansas (product) Dre Greenlaw,” Mahone said. “I really like seeing him get a lot of action and starting.”