COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- If you dig deep enough, one can seemingly find a Terps tie to many, many prospects. Such was the case at the Terps Big Show football camp on June 27 at College Park with this rising star linebacker from Connecticut.
Newtown High School (Newtown, Conn.) class of 2017 linebacker Ben Mason came down from The Nutmeg State for his first visit to Maryland, and he stood out among a solid crew of underclassman linebackers and was wowed by both the staff and the campus.
But he already had a little familiarity with some things Terps, for as a youth he grew up in Massachusetts and every summer would attend basketball camps where Terps senior forward Jake Layman was a counselor.
“He is a great player, real good guy,” Mason said. “He would always help out at the clinics.”
Back to the football side, Mason said the on-hands teaching at UMD over the weekend stood out the most.
“Oh, this was awesome. I learned a lot of great things that I am going to take back and translate onto the field with my team,” said the stout, 6-foot-3, 225-pounder. “One of the big things that Coach [Keith] Dudzinski helped me with was my hips. So like for an example, when you are attacking the edge, he wants you to club and then get your hips around, instead of just running straight through. And I feel it was a very competitive group today, and I feel everyone pushed each other and made each other better players.”
Mason said his high school coaches had received recruiting calls from Dudzinski, and Mason wanted to check out some Big Ten schools. He may trip to Penn State next. He is very intrigued by the Big Ten as a whole.
“This was my first trip here, and I love the campus,” Mason said.
So far, Boston College, Duke, Temple and UConn have offered, while he also took in Notre Dame for a visit this summer.
As for his playing style (he also plays fullback), Mason said:
“As a linebacker, you need to be really big, you need to be smart, and you need to be fast. And I think I am all of those things,’ said Mason, who runs a 4.7 40 yard dash.
On the recruit process so far, he said he is learning more and more about each school and accumulating information on each.
“I really don’t have a favorite as of now, but I can definitely see Maryland as a place that I can be at,” Mason said.
As a junior, he had 76 solo tackles and 34 assisted tackles, as well as one pick, a fumble recovery for a score, and five forced fumbles and three recoveries.
Mason said he plans to trip to UMD again, in the fall for a game, and said the Terps staff said they will get back to him after the July break period about a possible offer.
Mason said he may study business at college.
Finally, Mason looks and acts the part of “throwback” football player, and he really doesn’t get caught up in the bells and whistles of facilities, despite the fact all the prospects saw the impressive Terps video touting NuCole over the weekend. Mason has a firm handshake, a booming voice, and looks you square in the eye.
“You know, to me I am not really looking for facilities in a college,” Mason said. “I just want to go to a place where the people are real and I feel at home. And I think Maryland is a place where I can see myself because all the coaches are great guys, and it seems like the guys on the team are great people, too.”
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