Name: Ben Mason Height: 6’3″ Weight: 254 lbs. High school: Newtown (CT) Newtown Position: Fullback Class: Senior Jersey number: #42 Last year: I ranked Mason #41 and said he would be the starting fullback and a backup defensive tackle (LINK). He ran the ball 1 time for 3 yards and made 7 tackles. TTB Rating: 74
Mason was probably the most controversial player on the 2019 squad. He came to Michigan as a linebacker/fullback, and prior to last year, he bulked up to play defensive tackle. That seemed somewhat forced – and perhaps frustratingly necessary – because Michigan was both thin at the defensive tackle position and switching to an offense that de-emphasized fullbacks. Early in the season, Michigan messed around with him on the defensive line, and it did not go well. By the end of the year, Mason was basically a “sniffer” fullback, a guy who rarely ran or caught the ball and acted like a pulling guard.
Since last year Mason has dropped 16 pounds and defensive tackle no longer appears to be an option. That was a failed half-year experiment.
I like what Mason brings to the table. He’s tough and loves to hit, and he would have been a stud fullback when it really mattered. The position utilization has dwindled, but it’s a nice change-up in a spread offense. Most teams running a spread use a 10, 11, or 12 personnel, and those tight ends usually hate blocking. Mason gives Michigan a little more toughness at the point of attack, a guy who can effectively kick out a defensive end, wham a defensive tackle, or lead on a linebacker.
Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . anyone who doesn’t fumble. Zach Charbonnet fumbled. Tru Wilson fumbled. Christian Turner tried to fumble, but his knee was down first. The fumbling at Michigan has been ridiculous this season.
Gross. I had practice on Saturday morning and then went to scout an upcoming opponent, so I DVRed the game and planned to watch it late. I purposefully didn’t wear any Michigan gear to scout, because I didn’t want any douchebags coming up to me saying, “Oh, you’re a Michigan fan? It looks like they’re about to win/lose.” I successfully went home without any idea how the game was going, turned on the recording, and promptly figured out within a few minutes that Michigan would lose the game. I waited an extra three hours to start it, and it took me five minutes to know the outcome.
Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Zach Charbonnet. The true freshman earned the first start for a freshman in a season opener since Sam McGuffie in 2008. And let me throw out the suggestion that Charbonnet will have a better career in a Michigan uniform (McGuffie had 486 rushing yards, 175 receiving yards, and 4 touchdowns in his one season in Ann Arbor). Charbonnet had 8 carries for 90 yards and 2 catches for 9 yards. He showed some toughness, vision, pass catching ability, pass blocking ability, and a little bit of speed.