The Freshman Fifteen - Marquis Mason

Throughout high school, Marquis Mason pictured himself as a hoop star in college, but not good enough to play at Wisconsin. Imagine his surprise when the Badgers football coaching staff surprised him with a scholarship to play football. Badger Nation gets to know Mason a little better in its new series.

MADISON - An accomplished basketball player, Marquis Mason earned All-Conference and All-Area honors after averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds a game, numbers that earned him scholarship offers from Green Bay and Milwaukee. As good as he was on the court, Mason was just as successful on the field, catching 43 passes for 711 yards and two touchdowns.

Those numbers caught the eye of UW Coach Bret Bielema, who surprised Mason with his first scholarship offer at UW's 2009 spring game. If that wasn't sweet enough, Mason was told by Bielema that UW basketball coach Bo Ryan would allow him to walk on the team if he committed to play football. Mason has given up the hoops dream, but it slowly building his body and confidence to be a factor in the offense next year.

In a new series for subscribers, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers' future.

Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.

What's been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?

Mason: Actually, it hasn't been too bad. The classes are probably the toughest. They move at a fast pace and I need time to learn. It's been good adjusting to it with all the help the school provides.

What's been the hardest part adjusting to college football?

Mason: That's a whole different world. I never realized how much football is involved in your life. Football is everything from waking up at 5:45 a.m. to not getting done with your day to 9 p.m. Take away the study time, you only get about three hours a day free time, which is the hardest part.

Because of the time commitment, are you glad you deciding not to try and play basketball, as well?

Mason: I think about it on and off. At first, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do this or not. As you get settled in, it gets better. Basketball is kind of out of the equation for me. I want to get as good as possible so I can help this team.

Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?

Mason: One thing that I want to keep is lean muscle. Most people underestimate the importance of lean muscle. I've gotten taller, but I haven't gain much weight since first coming here. I'm still about 225.

What is your major?

Mason: Human ecology, but I am not 100 percent sure if that's possible. I am going to see what my classes are like next semester.

What are you hoping to do after college?

Mason: If I could be one thing, it would be an architectural engineer. I find that extremely fascinating to draw plans or draw a house. Construction is cool, too, and something I've always wanted to do.

What's your favorite place on the Madison campus?

Mason: Either State Street or anywhere around my dorm. Dorms are fun and that's one thing I really like.

What's your least favorite place on campus?

Mason: Coming here at six o'clock in the morning actually. I don't really have a least favorite place. Everything is pretty fun around here.

What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?

Mason: Honestly, it's resting as much as possible. I have never been sore everyday in a different part of my body.

What music do you like to listen to, what TV shows do you like to watch and what food do you like to eat?

Mason: I have gotten into Jersey Shore. Otherwise if I can eat and watch TV, that's a pretty good night.

Who do you live with and how is that going?

Mason: Jeff Lewis. It's fun. Him and I have gotten really close.

What's the most interesting thing you've learn about him since you starting living with him?

Mason: When I first met him, I thought he was a cocky kid because of his demeanor. He's really a great kid and once you get to know him, he's probably the nicest kid I know. He's great because I don't like negativity around me.

Where does your biggest support come from? Family? Friends? Teammates?

Mason: Teammates that are in my freshman class and Nick Toon. We are from near the same place. Other than my family, it's the freshmen because we know what we can do and we keep pushing each other.

What's your parents reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?

Mason: My mom loves the fact that she can call me, ask me if I need anything and that she can bring it over in about 10 minutes. The big thing she was talking to me was that I am the youngest, so she is the most attached to me. If I went to Milwaukee, she would like it because I am with my family but hate it because I am far away from her. When Madison gave me a scholarship, it was probably her dream come true.

It doesn't have to be football related, but what do you feel has been the greatest accomplishment of your life?

Mason: I'll never forget that day, that moment of getting that scholarship. It was so much to take it because I never thought in a million years I would get a scholarship to here, especially with so little experience. Just knowing that my sophomore grades weren't that good and they stayed with me, I am going to take every advantage of it. It's like a family to me and I am glad that I made the right decision.

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