A successful sophomore season for 2016 Greer quarterback Mario Cusano ended in disappointment when they were eliminated from the AAA playoffs. During their off season Cusano and the Yellow Jackets have worked hard and are one of the top teams in the AAA ranks this season heading into the 2nd round of the playoffs this Friday night. Cusano talked at length with SCPrepNation.com about a gamut of topics as he's "UP NEXT with us here!
"I think last year humbled us. And it pushed all of us to want to be the best we can possibly be. That's the best part about being able to lead this team. There are a bunch of guys that absolutely hate losing and love to come to practice everyday wanting to be the best. We play every game as if it was a championship and we have fun while we do it. That is another very important thing about our team, when you see us around town, you see us in a group. But for me, being about to lead this team to an undefeated record (11-0) is a great accomplishment but when we were sweating our butts off in the weight room and doing 7 on 7's we knew that big things could happen."
In the midst of the playoffs right now things go to 0-0 and its win or go home so what is Cusano's mind set now that the playoffs are here?
"Our mindset is the same it has been all year, one game at a time, no matter what that scoreboard says give 110% on the field and all our hard work will pay off."
On Friday night they'll host Belton-Honea Path in the second round after defeating a much improved Clinton team 17-13 this past Friday night.
His play during this year and last season has already seen plenty of schools showing early interest in the talented 6'2 181 pound junior. He talked about some of the schools he's been hearing from thus far.
"I've gotten letters from the coaches from UCLA, Appalachian State, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Maryland. I've gotten mail from a whole bunch of colleges but they were just camp invites. Some of those schools include Missouri, South Carolina, Wake Forest, Coastal Carolina, and Penn State."
Asked which school is recruiting him the hardest and his answer surprised us.
"Definitely UCLA, I get letters from coach Mora on a weekly basis, they send me postcards and things like that all the time. Appalachian State has been sending me invitations to their games for a while and I always receive a lot of mail from them on a regular basis too. Kentucky and North Carolina have been sending me mail and asking me to come visit so I'd say those four schools are recruiting me the hardest right now."
Cusano has yet to take any visits due to his family commuting to Connecticut every week so the opportunity to do so has been hard for him thus far. He's hoping to get out and see some of the schools he's been hearing from soon.
Prior to last Friday night's game against Clinton Cusano's stats on the season were 114-172 for 1,718 yards with 22 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. He's also carried 82 times for 516 yards and scored 6 rushing touchdowns.
Talking about his game Cusano broke the areas where he feels his strengths and areas for improvement are right now.
"I feel like I get a good pre-snap read on the defense. I can pick a team apart after I get to watch them on film and play against them. I also think that I throw with a lot of confidence and I have a lot of trust in my receivers. And just when a defense thinks they can stop me while I pass, I can also run the ball and that's something a lot of teams don't pay attention to on film but I would definitely consider myself a dual-threat quarterback."
"To get better I'm going to try to perfect the little things and continue to study this game to be able to be the best I can be for my team and city."
The 2016 prospect says he likes to watch and pattern his game after a quarterback great who has retired.
"I'm a Brett Favre fan. I remember when I was 4 years old I watched him on TV and told my dad I would be better than Brett Favre, so ever since then I would go YouTube and watch film on him, even though he wasn't very mechanically sound, he was a play maker and his love for the game is the whole reason I am where I am. For sure!"
Looking at the recruiting process the talented signal caller talked at length about what factors he'll look at closely when choosing a potential college destination.
"Definitely the atmosphere, if I'm gonna be living in a place going to school and playing football, I'm gonna need to like my surroundings. Also style of play. No doubt, I wanna go to a team that's gonna let me show my skills and throw the ball. That's why I would like to go to a team that runs a spread offense. And of course the coaches will be a big deciding factor on where I go as well."
Cusano is wide open to any schools that want to recruit him he informed us but he'd "love to hear from some Big Ten schools in the future."
During his run this season with the Yellow Jackets he's been named Player of The Week two times and also been named the Greenville County Athlete Of The Week. Last week Cusano received an invitation to the US Army All-American combine in San Antonio next year.
He reports a 3.5 GPA in the classroom.
We'll have more updates with Cusano as we anticipate his recruitment to pick up as his film starts to make the rounds so keep it right here on SCPrepNation.com. For now check out his testing measurable and learn how to follow us on Twitter below.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS...MARIO CUSANO
Bench press: 225 pounds
Squat: 385 pounds
Power clean: 235 pounds
Fastest 40 time: 4.66 seconds
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