With Rutgers interested in two football prospects at Memphis (Tenn.) Trezevant, school principal Ronnie Mackin hosted Scarlet Knights coaches Chris Ash and Shane Burnham for a Tuesday visit.
“I talked to Shane first, and he’s like, ‘Hey, coach Ash is going to come (Tuesday), which is real exciting,’” Mackin said. “And they just came in, they were real humble and just like, ‘Hey, we want to sit down and take some time with (Mason).’ And they came into there, we all sat down for over an hour, and we just talked to them. I listened to (Ash and Burnham) talk, and just made (Mason) feel like he belonged.
“I didn’t hear anything negative about anybody else — any other school. It was just all about Rutgers and promoting themselves, and how TiJaun would fit in. That was, to me, what was one of the most impressive things. It was all about Rutgers, and they didn’t say anything about anyone else.”
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Mason officially visited Rutgers last weekend. The Scarlet Knights used also used their visit to lock in Richardson for the final weekend before National Signing Day.
“I think that was a part of the conversation, but I have no idea,” Mackin said. “He’s not letting anybody know anything. He’s closed mouth.”
Mackin said there is no shortage of talent in Richardson, a four-star prospect and the No. 8 running back in the country.
“He’s a top (recruit),” Mackin said. “He’s a two-time 'Mr. Football' (as the top running back in Tennessee), and he’s a top running back in the country. He’s just one of those players, widely recruited. Don’t know anything about where he wants to go or what he wants to do or anything like that. He’s been keeping it secret. He’s a heck of a player.”
Whiles it remains to be seen whether or not Rutgers can reel in Richardson, Mackin said the Scarlet Knights get a balanced student-athlete in Mason, on and off the field.
“I was on the sidelines for every game except for one,” Mackin said. “For the most part, in the school, TiJaun is pretty quiet. He goes around, walks around and doesn’t (say much). He’s never been in trouble, never in the office.
“But on the field, when something goes wrong, he just takes over and he’s very vocal and he challenges his teammates and gets real emotional. And a lot of times, he makes the big play on defense and kids feed off it. He’s very, very passionate and plays through emotion. But he also knows the game and knows where to be. I think that’s a big difference for kids in high school.”
Mackin spoke highly of Rutgers and the potential it has for Mason, on and off the field.
“Any school is a blessing, when kids can go to the next level to play football, any school,” Mackin said. “But a school like Rutgers, that plays a schedule like it plays — national TV pretty much every week — and to be 45 minutes from the biggest city in our country, that’s really going to be able to expose (Mason) to a lifestyle and a way of life that he’s never seen before.
“To me, it’s not just about signing with Rutgers — that’s a life-changing event for him. To be able to go to a historic and reputable school like Rutgers with such a large network of alumni that’s going to do everything they can support him and make sure he’s successful and be there for him — it’s one of those things that happens to just a few kids. I think it’s a game-changer for him.”