@mattmason70_ from @ryleraiderfball is one of 2022’s very best in Northern Kentucky at his craft. @minguabeefjerky @PrepSpin @KyHighFootball @1776Bank

The other day at the magazine we went back and reviewed the Top OL/DL list put out by a guy from Boyle County and yearly published to Bluegrass Rivals (BGR). We were remarking about the solid job the guys does in his evaluations.

While it isn’t perfect (what list of top players is?), looking back on his top-30 OL and his top 20 DL lists, we may have ranked some of the guys at different spots; however, he was spot on concerning many of the names included in the preseason compilations. We were discussing it because the ’21 season is around the corner and it is approaching time for another couple of lists.

When the OL list gets published, there are some names we feel certain we should see. Breathitt County’s Teegan Smith and Johnson Central’s Owen LeMaster, a pair of doppelgänger “twins” (Smith, 6-2, 298-pounds; LeMaster, 6-2, 288-pounds) at OG should both easily make it. Were we fielding a team, and could pick any offensive center we wanted, we would plop Ryle’s Matt Mason between those two and get ready to rumble.

Matt Mason hams it up for the camera

Mason has really nice size for an offensive center. He is listed anywhere from 6-2 to 6-3 and weighs in at a cool 260-pounds.

He is mobile and blocks multiple levels well. He can play in space and tie-up second and even third-level defenders sufficiently for the runners, coming behind him, to break through for big gains and even scores.

Like so many “prime-time,” high-school football stars, Mason is far from a “one-trick pony.” Colleges prefer recruiting kids with an array of athletic skill sets developed, often times, from playing an array of sports in high-school.

Mason also participates in Track & Field which should give you an idea about his overall athleticism. Mason was selected, in ’20, 1st-Team All-District, 2nd-team All-NKY (Norther Kentucky) and a NKY/SE Indiana All-Star all as a football player.

Watching his film, we see a guy who moves his feet well and locks on to his target. Once he gets the clamps on you, you are done.

He’s an accomplished “finisher.” This means he continues to drive his target through the whistle, through the ground, or until he is “hip-to-hip” or “overtaken” by the guard next to him and Mason is tasked with sliding, next-level, to get another defender. We viewed ample evidence of his doing this very thing prominently on his highlights.

For things on which to work, were we coaching him, we would have him working on off the ball explosion and hand violence. Remember Mason, the really good ones at the center position are out of their stance and moving as the ball is getting snapped. They don’t wait until afterwards.

As for “punch,” while we like this prospect very much, we would still like to see his initial hand contact be more violent, more disruptive. Mason has really good feet and gets his studs in the ground immediately and pounds the playing surface driving his target through the whistle very well. However a players punch has to disrupt and re-route a charging defender. If he is looking on an area to improve his performance, shooting his guns is a possible starting point.

This guy is a “next-level” player with the possibilities limitless as to where the “next level” happens to be. We could see this guy matriculating to an Ivy or Ivy-Index type school too, as he carries and 3.3 GPA, provided he gets the right standardized test score.

Probably the best part about this player is his fun-loving attitude as you can tell from his pictures we fished off the internet. He’s a fun-loving and witty guy who appears to love the game. There is room on college rosters all over for guys like Matt Mason.

I hope the list-maker is reading this article today. Love your lists (by the way)! All three of the guys we have mentioned herein should be prominently on it.

This is HB Lyon reporting for Kentucky Prep Gridiron reminding you that WE’RE JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT! 

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