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HOG FUTURES: Freshman drawn in by Chavis

by Brooks Kubena | July 14, 2018 at 2:37 a.m.
Arkansas freshman safety Myles Mason during his home visit with defensive backs coach Ron Cooper and defensive coordinator John Chavis.

The envy of any other 17-year-old, Myles Mason had options.

And options within his options.


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Myles Mason at a glance

CLASS Freshman


HEIGHT/WEIGHT 6-2, 205 pounds

HOMETOWN Trussville, Ala.

HIGH SCHOOL Hewitt-Trussville

AGE 17

NOTEWORTHY Played in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl on Dec. 29 in New Orleans. … Offers included Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Louisville, Mississippi State, Tennessee, among others. … Consensus Top 40 safety as rated by ESPN, Rivals and 247Sports. … Son of Larry and Yvette Mason. … Larry Mason played running back for the Cleveland Browns in 1987 and the Green Bay Packers in 1988.

Hogs Future

The seventh in a series highlighting newcomers to the Arkansas Razorbacks football team.

The 6-2, 205-pound football player from Trussville, Ala., pondered the options as if he was shaking a Magic 8 Ball.

Play safety and wide receiver at Alabama? ... Plausible benchriding.

Play running back at Louisville? ... Ask your NFL alumni father.

"The average statistics of the average running back only plays three years," Mason said his father, Larry Mason, told him.

Larry, 57, split two seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers in 1987 and 1988.

Growing up, Myles and his older brother, Ryan, didn't hear their father talk much about the NFL, but they did stumble upon old pictures and highlight videos. Myles wasn't certain he'd get to run like his father, anyway.

"In the NFL, the way it's going, they don't use running backs like they used to," Mason said.

Convinced that safety was his best option, Mason verbally committed to Mississippi State in October.

Bret Bielema was then fired after a 4-8 season at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, which hired Chad Morris on Dec. 6.

Mason received an offer from Morris and visited the Razorbacks' campus Dec. 15 -- five days before the NCAA's early signing period.

While the visit didn't convince Mason to sign early with Morris' first recruiting class, it kept Mason from signing officially with Mississippi State.

"On my official [visit], it felt like everything is positive, great people on the campus," said Mason, who recorded 39 solo tackles and rushed for 277 yards on 30 carries during his senior year at Hewitt-Trussville High School. "Like, I went into it blind. Didn't know too much about campus. I told my parents I needed to go back one more time."

Before Mason visited again, he played in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in New Orleans on Dec. 29, along with Notre Dame wide receiver commit Kevin Austin and South Carolina quarterback commit Dakereon Joyner.

Future Razorbacks teammates, cornerback Ladarrius Bishop (Ashdown) and linebacker Bumper Pool, also competed in the game.

Just over a week later, Morris hired former LSU and Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis, and that all but made Mason's decision certain.

Chavis, the 2011 Broyles Award winner for the nation's top assistant football coach, helped build LSU's reputation for defensive backs by mentoring future NFL players Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Morris Claiborne.

The fact that a Chavis-coached defender had been drafted in 22 consecutive years also aligned with Mason's NFL aspirations.

"[Chavis' hiring] was big for me," said Mason, the nation's No. 29-ranked safety of the Class of 2018 according to 247Sports. "I know how much he has gotten during his experience, the amount of players he put in the league."

"That was really the start of it. That's when I really started paying attention."

Mason returned to Fayetteville on Jan. 19 and made up his mind.

"After a bunch of prayer and talking with my family, I am proud to announce that I will be decommitting from Mississippi State University and recommitting to the University of Arkansas," Mason tweeted the morning of Jan. 22.

Last season, the Razorbacks had their third losing season in the last six years; but Mason believes the staff overhaul will improve a defense that ranked 101st in total defense (438.9 yards allowed per game) and 114th in scoring defense (36.2 points allowed per game) in 2017.

"I see a lot of change that's coming in this program," Mason said. "I think it's very well coming up. I think that the coaches and the people around the campus, they have contributed a lot to it. Everything is going to go uphill from now on."

Sports on 07/14/2018

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