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The Cardinal Countdown: 95 Days Until Kickoff

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Louisville at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

2021 Season Recap: Talk about bursting onto the scene. Mason came out in 2021 and not only turned some heads, but came close to knocking a few off as well. The RS Freshman didn’t see action in the first four (shoutout Dayton, OH) games of the year, but then started getting some reps and was making impact plays seemingly every opportunity he had. Finishing 2021 with nine tackles was impressive in it’s own right for the young man who didn’t expect to see the field that often last year but to add four and a half tackles for loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble was enough to earn Mason one of the most prestigious awards in all the land, the ‘Who Is That Award’ as presented by the crew over at ‘From The Pink Seats’ pod (It’s well worth a listen to keep you informed about all things Louisville football year round, and yours truly got to present the award this year). The RS Freshman walk-on absolutely overachieved in 2021 and was a nice piece of the line that could really use a few more guys stepping up this season.

2022 Season Outlook: It’s tough to predict if 2021 was a flash in the pan for Mason or a sign of things to come. I can understand how the casual observer could point to last year and say the man just made a few great plays and caught some lightening in a bottle with the results, but for me, I saw some talent that could really turn into something special in the next couple seasons. Mason, similar to RJ yesterday, may not blow you away with his size or quickness but he has the ability to make offensive lineman uncomfortable with his positioning and pursuit.

A prime example of this is on his forced fumble. Mason comes off the edge (top of the line) and realizes he’s not getting to the QB. He keeps his eye on the ball and when the QB escapes the pocket he spins back off his defender towards the ball carrier and immediately puts himself back in the play. In this instance he tracks him down from behind and has the wherewithal to attempt the strip. From being completely removed from the play to sealing the game in less than eight seconds. That’s what playmakers do.

I think Mason is another situational guy in 2022 with an opportunity to become a primary player in 2023 an beyond based upon how the depth chart falls. Taking another step beyond what we saw last season would be a huge boost to a group that is becoming a key piece of the defense.

Sweet Tweet:

Mason retweets a lot, and this retweet was a recap of the Spring Game which was worth a look if you missed it before. Also, for what I believe was the first time ever, the Cards spring game was broadcast on the ACC Network and thus may be replayed this summer if you care to maybe set the DVR and watch it three or four times. What else you doing mid-July?