In addition to Mississippi State, what schools showed the most interest in you, and what schools offered scholarships?
"Oklahoma State and UAB. Both offered scholarships."
Have you officially visited any colleges?
"UAB, this past weekend."
Has Mississippi State talked to you about coming in for an official visit?
"Yes sir, January 20th."
When and why did you decide to commit to Mississippi State?
"I've committed to Mississippi State (Head) Coach (Sylvester) Croom Monday night. I believe that Mississippi State is the place for me. I made it to a couple of their football game, Murray State and Georgia, and was pretty impressed with the campus and the surrounding area. I really do enjoy the environment that they are in. I enjoyed how the people seemed to enjoy coming and watching their Bulldogs play."
You mentioned committing to Coach Croom. What do you know about him?
"I heard about him a lot while he was in the (NFL). And I've watched several games where he was the running backs coach. I was impressed and pleased with what he did for those players in the League. When I saw that he was hired by Mississippi State, I told myself that I wouldn't mind playing for him. I didn't have any idea that I would have an opportunity to be a part of his offense. I never really thought that I would even see him face to face or even hold a conversation with him until now."
How did it feel when you found out that he wanted you on his football team?
"It was wonderful."
Your Mississippi Delta Community College position coach, Rod Gibson, said one of your greatest qualities is your work ethic. How long have you had such a great work ethic?
"I've basically had that since I was in high school. My father, Reverend Sanders Mason, III, is a hard worker. I watched him all my life and I've never seen my father quit at anything that he has done. And it rubbed off on me. Then, I tried out for football. Of course there were times when I thought I wanted to quit, but the Lord always brought memories back to my mind about who my father is and the respect that I have for him. When I think about that, I go harder and harder. Whenever I'm working out, I'm always trying to push myself until I can't go any more. If I have some free time, I usually go lift weights or do some running. Then, later in the day, I will probably go and do some more running or do some exercises or some drills. By doing that, it started showing off on the field."
Other than your work ethic, what do you feel is your next best attribute, your hands, size or speed?
"There is not a certain one that stands out from the rest. I just try to use them all at once. When it comes down to it, I just ask the Lord to increase all my abilities so that I can perform at my best, so that I can glorify the Lord. When I catch a pass, I think of nothing else but catching that pass and getting it to the endzone. Whatever it takes to get to the endzone, I'm going to do it."
When did you first try out for the football team?
"I played football in junior high, but got injured. I strained the ligaments in my knee. I then tried out for football my sophomore year and made the team. Then, the Lord revealed to me what my true talent is. Football was the best way for me to glorify Him. I went out there and gave it all that I had. That was how I was taught and raised. What you do, put your entire heart into and give 110%, don't give no less. Don't back down from anyone. You do your job and everything else will fall into place."
What was your recruitment like in high school?
"I really didn't have many recruiters. I had a few Division-II schools and one SWAC team out of Division-IAA that wanted me to play for them. They recommended that I be redshirted, but I didn't want to be redshirted. I also didn't have a high enough ACT score. So, I decided to come to Mississippi Delta Community College and play juco football."
Didn't you get injured your senior season of high school ball?
"I hyper-extended my back my senior season. It was the second game of the year. I was on the field goal block team. I was one of the guys who jumped up to try and block the ball. I was hit at my ankles and fell on my neck, which basically caused my back to bend and then pop. It strained the nerve in my lower back that controls the movement of my legs. I also strained my lower back muscles, my mid-level muscles and I pulled a first-level abdominal strain on my abs. I had to be carried off the field and taken to the hospital. The doctor told me that I would probably be able to play again the following week. But, when I tried to practice, I wasn't able to run due to the pain. It came to a point where I was almost not able to walk. I sat out the next two weeks and didn't come back until the fifth game. I had to get my back in shape and get my strength. I was wondering to myself if I should continue playing football. The Lord told me that he wasn't finished with me, so I got back out on the field."
Do you think that injury may have caused schools to back off of you your senior season?
"I believe it did."
What do you think that has happened since high school that has caused your recruitment to pick up?
"First of all, I put my trust in God Himself. He is the reason why I am here. Since then, I've done what I had to do and what I was supposed to do as an athlete and as a student. I stepped up and I did what I had to do to the best of my ability. And I did it without any doubts in my mind."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.