Citrus' Mason is a top JC back

One of the top returning JUCO backs in the country this fall will be Citrus College RB Leonard Mason (5-11, 205) and he's poised for a big sophomore season this fall. was able to corral the elusive runner from southern California and he talked about what he does best, what he's working on this offseason and recruiting.

"I can basically do anything with the ball," Mason said confidently. "That doesn't mean that I disrespect the players I'm playing against, but I have the ability to run between the tackles and still have enough speed to explode and get to the outside and take it to the house when I get the chance.

"I think I'm a good receiver too, and they used me a little bit there, but hopefully, this year, I can get more chances."

Carrying the ball got Mason's point across in 2006 plenty. He posted 1,273 yards and 11 touchdowns on his way to All-State and All-Conference honors as a freshman.

"I had a good year last year, but I think I can do even better this year," Mason said. "I was still just learning the offense and the speed of the game. This year I won't have to deal with that as much. I think I can have a really big year."

So does his head coach Kevin Emerson.

"He can run (4.5) and do everything you want him to do as far as catching the ball, running it and blocking," Emerson said earlier this spring. "If schools are smart they will get in on him early. He's a power-back with good moves and just a devastating stiffarm. He also has great hands – he didn't drop a pass last year."

As far as where he wants to improve, Mason said he wants to be a better blocker and get his speed down a bit.

"I have good speed, but I want to be even quicker and faster," Mason said. "I want to just run by guys so I'm working on speed and quickness drills trying to get my times down."

On the recruiting front, it's still very early, but Mason is hearing from schools across the country.

"Oregon State, LSU, Iowa, Washington State, Kansas State and a bunch of other ones are contacting me," Mason said. "Those are the ones that I remember, but there are a lot more.

"I'm totally open to hearing from anyone. I love to play and just want to keep playing and I know I could go into any program and help them in a lot of ways."

Mason graduated from Alta Loma High School in California and wasn't highly recruited because of some qualifying issues so he started looking around a home and found Citrus after almost enrolling at Palomar.

"I was set to go to Palomar, but heard how good of a program they have here and how good they are at producing running backs for the next level so I came here," Mason said. "I liked the staff when I met with them and the guys here were cool so I think it's worked out good."

Now Mason is looking to some of the same things wherever he ends up.

"I have to see how the coaches are and the players and see if I feel like I can fit in," Mason said. "It will be everything really. Location, academics, the program, the players and the coaches."

Mason will finish his two-year degree in December and will have three years to play two.

Leonard Mason Scout Profile

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