Mason, Gupton Excited To Be Tar Heels

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- A couple of Nashville kids are less than 48 hours from fulfilling their dreams of playing Division I football. Pearl-Cohn receivers Rashad Mason and Brian Gupton are excited about signing with North Carolina on Wednesday and joining the Tar Heels on campus this summer.

"The coaches really made me feel at home at Carolina," Mason said. "I just felt like I could bond with them better than any other coaches I met."

"This means a lot to me," Gupton added. "This means my parents won't have to pay for my school, and I get to play the game that I love. The Carolina coaches said they want me to do just what I've done in high school – make big plays and help bring in an ACC championship."

Mason, a 6-6, 220-pound "man-child" as his coach calls him, says he's already qualified academically to enroll at UNC. He missed his junior season recovering from an automobile accident, but he has tons of upside and is a four-star recruit according to Scout.com.

"They said they like me because I'm a mismatch for opposing defenses," Mason said. "Whether I'm covered by a corner or a linebacker, it's a mismatch. They also like my red zone output – I can go up and get the ball.

"They want me to come right in and play. They're not talking about redshirting."

Gupton, 6-2, 190, says he just needs to work hard the remainder of the school year, and he expects to be accepted as well. He has a 37-inch vertical jump and could fit as a wideout or a defensive back in college.

Both are also talented basketball players, and Mason says he's considering playing both sports in Chapel Hill.

Last Thursday night, UNC head coach Butch Davis, and assistants Charlie Williams, Tommy Thigpen and John Shoop arrived at Mason's house. The entourage further impressed Mason, who admitted during an on-location interview with Inside Carolina on Monday that he planned to choose Carolina ever since he and Gupton took their official visits.

Firebirds coach Tony Brunetti said Michigan was still calling to check on Mason up until the last minute. Kentucky coach Rich Brooks and an assistant rang Mason's doorbell a little while later on the night of the UNC coaches' visit. But that, too, ultimately couldn't change his mind. Ole Miss was also a finalist, while Clemson, LSU and Tennessee were eliminated earlier.

Gupton was a lesser-known prospect, with offers from several Division I-AA and Division II schools such as Tennessee State, UT Martin and Missouri State.

"Rashad and I always talked about going to the same school, but we also thought about going to different schools and playing against each other," Gupton said. "But now, I think it's going to be a good thing to play with each other."

Mason said without question there will be no Signing Day surprises. He and Gupton are solid commitments to the Tar Heels.

"Carolina is getting a good crew coming in, maybe better than some people realize," Brunetti said. "I think that Carolina program is better than a lot of people think it is. I've heard they've got a lot of talent, but just lost some games last year.

"The Carolina coaches were straight-forward from the beginning, and I knew Coach Thigpen from when he was at Illinois. I knew he was a good guy. So when he got to North Carolina, I told him I would try and [put some of my players in touch with him], and from that point on, they ran with it."

Stay tuned for in-depth features on the pair Tuesday on IC.


Gupton, Brunetti, Mason

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