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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Get to Know: Hutson Mason

In today's Telegraph, I have a short piece on Georgia QB recruit Hutson Mason. You can check it out HERE.

I got to chat with Hutson for a while though, so it seemed like a great chance to kick off the first edition in 2010 of our "Getting to Know…" series on the new class of Georgia recruits.

So, with that, here are the details on Georgia's soon-to-be new QB...

David Hale: So you've talked about being excited about the immense opportunity at quarterback for Georgia next year. The flip side of that is that there is not going to be much experience at the position. So, what's the mood around Athens? Do you get the feeling people are getting nervous about the youth at the position?

Hutson Mason: They're really excited. … I went (to Athens) there to stay with a buddy (last weekend), and I had dinner with Da'Rick Rogers, Kolton Houston and Brent Benedict and some of the guys were on an official. Coach Richt was there, Coach Searels, Coach Bobo. One of the things they repeat over and over is, if you look at Georgia's last year's games or highlight film, you see a lot of young players making plays -- whether it's Tavarres King or Orson Charles, Washaun Ealey, several young true freshmen or redshirt freshmen are making plays, and that says a lot about the future at the University of Georgia. It looks promising.

The future looks bright for us, and that's no different at the quarterback position. Someone's going to have to step up for us. There's two redshirt freshmen and one true freshman. Someone's going to have to become the man and take the ball and run with it. I think they're excited. I think we're all excited about the opportunity that we have. I think Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger would say the same thing that Coach Bobo is one of the best in the country at preparing you for a game.

Jim Schwartz, the coach of the Lions, said that Matthew Stafford was the most prepared NFL quarterback rookie that he'd ever coached coming out of college. I think that speaks volumes of Coach Bobo being able to prepare you and know what's going on. So I think us quarterbacks will be pretty comfortable knowing what's going on even though we're pretty young.

DH: With the possibility of Logan Gray changing positions, Georgia jumped into the race to get you pretty late. Was that what you were waiting for? Or did you have to be convinced to come to Georgia?

I didn't grow up a Georgia fan, actually. I've never been to a Georgia game at Sanford Stadium. A lot of people think because you're in-state, but it's just one of those things that I didn't really follow Georgia football a lot. I just kind of followed SEC. I grew up kind of a Tennessee fan actually. My uncle graduated from there and I have family that lives up in Knoxville. So Georgia wasn't really when I was young -- I didn't really follow them that much.

But that changed as the recruiting process hit. You have to grow out of it and find what's the best fit for you. When I was taking visits at Clemson, Mississippi State, Florida State, Virginia, going all over the place, it came down to the people that I was going to be involved with. When I really sat down and, not only being able to talk to Coach Richt, but seeing him, how he relates to his players -- it's one of those things where you wouldn't even have to be at a football function, but if Coach Richt saw you, he was going to make his way over there to talk to you. I'm sure you don't get that from guys like Lane Kiffin or some guys like that. Coach Richt is a family-oriented, flat-out great guy and a guy you'd want to play for. He's the kind of guy that's going to have your back as a player and he's going to watch out for you. I knew if I was having some hard times, Coach Richt was going to be there for me.

From the football aspect, Coach Bobo was my position coach and I'll be spending 90 percent of my time with him, so obviously I'd have to be able to get along with him. Coach Bobo's a young guy, he can relate to you. Obviously he played at Georgia. He's able to relate to the positives and negatives that a quarterback is going through. Going through the recruiting process, I saw a lot of coaches that didn't actually play the position in college. They'd be receivers in college but they'd be coaching quarterbacks now. I'm like, how in the world is this guy going to develop me when he doesn't even know what it's like to play the quarterback position? That really was a turn-off. When I came to Georgia, Coach Bobo not only played at Georgia, but he played quarterback. So that was a huge positive for me.

DH: It's been a crazy year for Georgia with the coaching changes. I know that's not on your side of the ball, but I've read that you were making a real effort to try to keep this signing class together while everyone waited for some coaching hires. How'd that come about?

If you look at Georgia's recruiting class this year, I think there's only like five or six offensive guys. So (most) of our recruiting class is on the defensive side of the ball, and with Coach Martinez getting fired and these guys not knowing who their coach is going to be, big recruits like Alec Ogletree and guys like that, you want to be able to keep them. Those are the guys that are going to help you win championships, help you get to the Georgia Dome. You have to have guys like that to be able to compete with the Floridas and Alabamas these days.

I just did my part in trying to text guys and build a relationship with them because I know when I was at Georgia on my official before I committed, the one thing I was really impressed with was the bond I developed with the players. That really made a huge difference in my decision because I knew I'd be able to get along with those guys and build relationships with them. So I got Da'Rick's number and when that whole Tennessee thing went down, I texted him and just tried to build that relationship. It can't hurt, and I think we've only lost one guy. I think that speaks a lot to the character of the players that we have and having faith in Coach Richt and hopefully on signing day we'll still have all of our guys.

DH: You're still six months away from getting to campus. What have you been doing to prepare?

Right now, I'm lifting twice a day just trying to prepare myself somewhat for what I'm about to walk into this summer. It's going to be hard, but I've really gone after it. I'm trying to put on weight and physically get stronger. Besides that, I'm throwing, keeping my arm in shape and trying not to get too rusty. If you take too much time off, it takes a while to get it back. When signing day comes, I know after that Coach Bobo will start sending me the plays. And I have a quarterback coach I've worked with in high school, Dave Archer, who played in the NFL for 10 years and has a really high pro-style background. Georgia being a pro-style system, what I'm going to do is when I start getting these plays, I'm going to hit it head on. I'm going to treat it like I've graduated early and I'm already at Georgia, even though I'm not.

DH: Is there an NFL QB you'd compare your game to?

It's hard to compare. Guys in the NFL are all so different. I have never tried to compare myself to anyone in the NFL.

DH: Well is there a guy you've always looked up to? A favorite quarterback?

One of my favorite NFL quarterbacks is Bobby Hebert just because I grew up with the Heberts, and now Bobby does Saints radio down in New Orleans. He's one of my favorites just because as a kid, I grew up with them, and his son played AAU basketball with me. When I'd go on an out-of-town trip, I'd be with Bobby, and he's like a father figure to me in basketball because he took me everywhere.

Game-wise, I think my throwing motion kind of resembles Brett Favre, just because I don't really have the Tom Brady or Peyton Manning release straight over the top. I kind of have the ability to find windows to throw it in whether it's a three-quarters release or sidearm. If you watch Brett Favre a lot, he kind of finds windows to put the ball in. That kind of resembles Philip Rivers a little bit, too. But I've also heard a lot of people compare how I find windows to Brett Favre, and he kind of has a knack for throwing it sidearm or something just to get the ball off.

DH: Away from football, what do you like to do for fun?

I like to hunt and fish a lot. Those are my two things that when I can get away from football that I like to do. I like just hanging out with friends and stuff like that. I played basketball up until this year. I stopped to focus on football in the offseason. I go on mission trips every spring break. I've been to the Dominican Republic, Portugal, Ecuador and stuff like that.

DH: You're friends with Zach Mettenberger, and you said you've spent some time in Athens lately. So what's the best advice those guys have given you to get you prepared for life as a Bulldog?

The best thing they told me was that you have to be mentally tough. Coming in from Day 1, you've always got something to do. There's not time for naps. There's not time for breaks. You're going to study halls, you're watching film, you're at practice. You've got to be mentally tough, and when you come in as a freshman, there's a lot you're not used to -- whether it's a coach always down your throat, or weight training being so much more intense -- you've just got to be upbeat every single day and you have to be able to take it, especially in summer conditioning when you have someone yelling at you for really no reason other than to see how mentally tough you are. The quarterback position is really 90 percent mental. You have to be able to have confidence in yourself and stuff like that. That's one of the biggest things that they've given me advice on.

DH: OK, last question. How many times have you dreamed of what it will be like to get out there on the field and loft a pass to someone like A.J. Green?

I tend to think of it a little bit, but if I'm blessed with the opportunity to actually step out there and actually throw the ball that young in my career to A.J., it'll be a true blessing for me. I think about it. Everyone's got their dreams, and you want to be able to step on the field as soon as possible. But it's about making sure you're physically and mentally ready.


Trey said...

The next Joe Cox? I don't mean that negatively in any way.

Anonymous said...

The kid sounds like he is a mature, level headed young man. Maybe he'll be able to fulfill his dreams while at UGA. Good interview.

Keese said...

Great interview David. Sounds like Hutson is coming in with the right perspective.

Cojones said...

He is fortunate to let us get to know him thru you. He is a good and mature addition to the Dawgs.

We tend to get to know the players by their numerical stars. Knowing UGA's history of accomplishments by low-starred and walk-on players, this guy sounds as if he has been a Dawg all his life. Maybe there is something to be said for destiny and this guy fits the mold, thanks to your interview.