Mason Nearing Decision

Rashad Mason (6-5, 215, 4.5),'s No. 14-ranked wide receiver from Pearl-Cohn High School in Nashville, Tenn., said he'll probably announce next Monday from among North Carolina, Mississippi, Michigan and Kentucky, where he just tripped this past weekend. He has ruled out Clemson and LSU.

"The players and the environment are really nice at Kentucky," Mason said. "The players made me feel at home. Coach (Rich) Brooks and coach (Joker) Phillips (offensive coordinator) will be coming to my house on Wednesday (Jan. 31). They want to use me as the fourth receiver coming in. Then they see me as a deep threat and red zone threat

With less than a week until his decision, Mason maintains the schools are on an even playing field.

"I'm trying to keep everyone even so I can compare the schools on Friday and decide where I'll go over the weekend," he said. "I have no idea what I'll do yet and I haven't told any coaches from any schools that I'm coming."

UNC's advantage rests with its coaching staff.

"North Carolina was the first trip I took and their coaches will be in my house this Thursday," Mason said. "I think Coach (Butch) Davis is coming over on Thursday. Of all the head coaches I've met, I like Coach Davis and his staff the most. They've really made me feel at home and they were the loosest group around me."

For Michigan, the advantage is the camaraderie with those that would make up his future teammates.

"As far as my visits have gone, they've all been fun. They're all pretty much the same. No one trip really stands out. Usually you just hang around the players and talk football. But I would say I liked the Michigan players the best. They made me feel like I was at home. I met quarterback Ryan Mallett who is already enrolled. He's a great kid and very cool. It seemed like I've known him forever.

"Coach (Lloyd) Carr said that he could really utilize my skills, that I have a good chance at starting in my sophomore year because he has two guys leaving after next year and he would really like a guy to know the system by then. ... The Green Bay Packers play outside in the snow and it would be good for me to get used to that type of environment."

"I canceled a trip I was supposed to take to LSU and went to Kentucky instead. LSU ended up getting a junior college kid and that took up a spot. Tennessee just fell off from me after my accident (skull fracture and lung injuries suffered in car accident) when I was a junior They didn't offer me until two or three weeks after the other schools who started coming after me in early December. They just waited too long."

The other finalists, Mississippi, will be by this week as well.

"The coaches from Ole Miss are coming by my house today (Jan. 30)," Mason said. "Coaches Ed Orgeron and (Hugh) Freeze will be here."

Expect a decision from Mason before Signing Day.

"I don't have a real timetable for making a decision but I think it'll happen this weekend after all these home visits," Mason said. "I should have decided by next Monday. I'll probably do it by then. I'll call one of the local newspapers and let it out.

"I live with my mom and my older brother," he added. "My mom is behind wherever I choose. She doesn't have any favorite. She just says, 'It's your final choice.'"

Mason reports a 2.5 core GPA and an 18 ACT -- with a Feb. 9 retake.

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