2019 Season Countdown: #41 Ben Mason

Tag: Ben Mason

23Jul 2019
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2019 Season Countdown: #41 Ben Mason

Ben Mason (image via Game Time Connecticut)

Name: Ben Mason
270 lbs.
High school:
Newtown (CT) Newtown
Fullback/defensive tackle
Jersey number:
Last year:
I ranked Mason #18 and said he would be the starting fullback (LINK). He ran 33 times for 80 yards and 7 touchdowns, caught 1 pass for 15 yards, and made 5 tackles.
TTB Rating:

Mason is a fan favorite for a lot of reasons. An old-fashioned tough football player who does a little bit of everything, he came to Michigan in 2017 with hopes to play linebacker and fullback like Owen Marecic did at Stanford. After a freshman year spent as a backup, Mason took over the starting fullback role with Khalid Hill-like season: 7 touchdowns on less than 3 yards per carry. Michigan even lined him up at tailback sometimes and gave him a 7-yard running start at the defense. He scored a career-high 3 touchdowns in the blowout of Nebraska.

This year Mason has plans to do something we’ve never really seen at Michigan over the time I’ve been around. Vince Helmuth was a ballyhooed fullback in the 2007 recruiting class who eventually ended up practicing at defensive tackle once Rich Rodriguez essentially got rid of the fullback position and Helmuth outgrew it, anyway. But Helmuth never actually played in a game on defense. In Mason’s case, he’s listed as both a fullback and defensive tackle on the official roster, and the coaching staff has talked about his ability to contribute at both positions this fall.

Michigan is de-emphasizing the fullback position in much the same way Rodriguez did, but I still expect Mason to get some playing time as an H-back type of fullback. He probably won’t be in a three-point stance four yards behind the center, but he might be in a two-point stance in the guard-tackle gap. The coaches have also talked about him playing 3-tech defensive tackle. It’s not often that someone his size (he was reportedly up to 270 in the spring) plays 3-tech, but Michigan doesn’t have a lot of depth on the interior line, so it’s a possibility that he could get some reps there.

I like Mason, but with the fullback spot losing importance and the fact that he’s learning a new position to be a 270-280 lb. defensive tackle, I just don’t see him having a huge, season-changing impact on the 2018 team.

Prediction: Starting fullback when there is one, backup defensive tackle

7Oct 2018
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Michigan 42, Maryland 21

Ben Mason (image via Wolverines Wire)

Hooray for fewer commercials. I have to say it was very nice not to have to sit through commercial break after commercial break after commercial break. I get that college football can’t exist in the form that it does without commercials, but some of the recent games have been tiresome. I don’t watch the commercials, ABC. I go to the bathroom, get a snack, or check my phone.

Hit the jump for the rest of the recap.

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30Aug 2018
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2018 Season Predictions

Nico Collins (image via Twitter)

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Karan Higdon emerged from last season as the de facto starting running back, and there’s no reason to think he’ll lose that job now, especially after adding about 15 lbs. of muscle in the off-season. Chris Evans projects to be the #2 guy.
Prediction: Karan Higdon, 1100 yards

The wide receiver position is a huge mess right now after the transfers of Eddie McDoom, Drake Harris, Maurice Ways, and Kekoa Crawford . . . and, oh yeah, the injury to Tarik Black’s foot. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see a tight end lead the team in receiving yards, but I’ll go with Donovan Peoples-Jones. He’s one of four healthy scholarship receivers on the roster, along with Grant Perry, Oliver Martin, Ronnie Bell, and Nico Collins.
Prediction: Donovan Peoples-Jones, 750 yards

Hit the jump for the rest of the season predictions.

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10Aug 2018
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2018 Season Countdown: #18 Ben Mason

Ben Mason (image via Detroit News)

Name: Ben Mason
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 254 lbs.
High school: Newtown (CT) Newtown
Position: Fullback
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #42
Last year: I ranked Mason #77 and said he would be a backup fullback (LINK). He had 3 carries for 4 yards and 2 touchdowns.
TTB Rating: 74

I may or may not have underranked Mason last season. On the one hand, I ranked him #77 and he scored 2 touchdowns, which is pretty good for the 77th-most important player on the team. On the other hand, Michigan had two senior fullbacks on the roster who probably could have punched in those two 1-yard touchdowns. Khalid Hill and Henry Poggi were the co-starters at fullback in 2017, but it was always likely that Michigan would plan to groom Mason for 2018, which is exactly what they did.

This spring there was a bit of a stir when it came out that Mason was playing fullback and linebacker, and Mason did an interview where he discussed his preference – according to him, he has none. He was a fullback and linebacker in high school, and he was seemingly recruited for linebacker before moving to the offensive side of the ball. He does not appear to be a strong contender for any of the linebacker positions, which makes sense to me. It’s one thing for a defensive player to moonlight as an offensive guy, but it’s a whole different story when you try to make an offensive guy into a defensive player; the only case that seems to make sense is when you put in a tall receiver with ball skills when it’s time to defend a Hail Mary. Mason should be focusing on offense, even though Michigan may use the fullback less with Shea Patterson behind center. I expect this Michigan team to be a little more spread-oriented and a little less smashmouth-y.

Prediction: Starting fullback