"It's going great right now," said Mabin right after an impromptu photo shoot for Bucknuts.com that followed that morning workout under clear blue skies. "It feels good to have the pads on and get a little bit of contact going on. Our team is looking great. We have a lot of guys coming back on both sides of the ball. We're a veteran team and that's going to help us out in the long run."
Mabin strongly believes his team this year will improve upon an uncharacteristic 6-4 mark from a year ago.
"It was kind of a down year. That was the first one we've had around here in a while," said Mabin who was on the sidelines as a ball boy when Nordonia was the Division II runner up in 2002. "We usually make it to the playoffs except for last year and we're going to play with a chip-on-our-shoulder attitude this year. This is our year, our senior year, so we're going to try to go for it all."
But in order to do that, Nordonia, from Division II, Region 5, will have beat some stiff competition as they've added D-I Amherst Steele and D-I Massillon Jackson to their already difficult schedule this year that includes other D-I opponents like Solon, Brush and Hudson.
"Solon is always our biggest rival. They're always our biggest game and that's week four of the season," Mabin said. "It's a good schedule. Every game is going to be a fight. Every game is going to be hard but we've been working hard all summer and we're a big team and we have a lot of speed, so we're going to be ready every game."
A victory against Solon could certainly help to propel Nordonia back to the playoffs this season and make a run at the Division II state title.
"We haven't beaten them in a long time actually, in years," Mabin said. "It's at their place this year so it should be a good game."
Mabin, personally, couldn't be any better prepared for that game or any other challege during his senior season than he is now.
"I'm in the best shape that I've ever been," he said. "I'm prepared to go both ways. I know I can handle it. I trained really hard this off-season, lifting and running, so I definitely know that I'm in shape. I'm looking forward to it, playing both ways at corner and running back."
Despite his stellar performance at running back over the past three seasons, Mabin has basically resigned himself to the fact that he'll likely be playing on the defensive side of the ball at the collegiate level.
"I love playing running back and I love defense too," said Mabin who is a shade under 5-11, weighs 185 pounds and has been clocked consistently this summer in the low 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. "But I believe that in recruiting for college I think I want to play defensive back. I think it fits me more with my body and with my speed, and I think I'll progress with that better than I would at running back."
Mabin has also been an effective kick returner during his high school career and he hopes to continue doing that at the next level.
"I'd definitely love to do that in college too," he said. "That's just another dimension that I have and I enjoy that a lot."
He's still deliberating about where he's going to use his football talents after he graduates from Nordonia. Mabin, who acquitted himself quite well on the camp and combine tour this past off-season, currently has about nine scholarship offers to his name.
"I recently added Northwestern and Bowling Green to the list," Mabin said. "But I've also got Pitt, Indiana and Cincinnati so I have some good offers on the table."
Although he's happy with his current situation, Mabin admits that he would have liked to have seen some other schools come through with an offer who haven't.
"Some of the other schools that I was looking at before haven't offered but I'm just going to go out in my senior year and play with a chip on my shoulder," said Mabin who mentioned that he hasn't heard anything from Ohio State in quite some time. "I'm going to give it 110 percent and show them all what they missed."
Regardless of what offers that Mabin has or doesn't have, he's very grateful he's been able to accomplish so much during his career at Nordonia already. Three 1,000-yard seasons is a tremendous accomplish in itself.
"I just thank God most of all that He's blessed me with this body and He has given me all of my talents," Mabin said. "I'm just happy with what I've done so far and I'm just going to try to do my best with the guys that are with me."
It's safe to say that Mabin is aiming to have his best overall season yet.
"I just can't wait for the season to start," Mabin said. "We have a big O-line, we have a nice quarterback, we have a good fullback and good wide receivers so I'm just ready to play. I'm ready to enjoy my senior year with my teammates and have a lot of fun."
The head coach at Nordonia, Keith Boedicker, certainly thinks Mabin is a special player.
"He's obviously a great athlete and a great football player," Boedicker said. "He's very versatile. He can do a lot of things well, that's what makes him a special player."
And from being such an effective performer in all three facets of the game, Mabin is certainly a candidate to be recognized as the state's top high school football player at the end of his senior season.
"I would love to be ‘Mr. Football.' That would be a great honor but that's looking way too far down the road right now," Mabin said. "I'm just going to try my best all season long and give it 110 percent."
Having a season like that might be enough to attract some additional suitors to the table, but it would probably be too late by then.
"I wanted to commit before the season starts, before Aug. 25. That's what I was hoping for, that's what the plans were originally," Mabin said. "But if it doesn't work out that way, then just whenever. Some schools are saying that they could offer after a couple of games into the season but I just might commit before the season. I'm happy with what I have right now so I can make a decision whenever."
Quarterback Zach Boedicker along with Mabin should make Nordonia's offense hard to defend.