He’s big, he’s fast, he tackles quarterbacks like lions take down gazelles, and Mason Husmann has college football coaches’ attention.
The Aurora Houn’ Dawgs’ 6-foot-5, 220-pound lineman says he may not announce his college plans until the NCAA officially opens the signing period for national letters of intent Feb. 3, 2016.
“As of right now, my plan is to wait until signing day and see what schools want to offer me,” Husmann said.
Husmann plays defensive end and offensive guard for Aurora. The prolific pass rusher logged six sacks and 84 solo tackles his junior season.
He said he presently has four college teams offering scholarships: Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois, Austin Peay and Colgate, but larger schools are taking notice of Husmann to gauge his interest.
Husmann also plays basketball and is a track sprinter. He has been to six college campuses for camps this summer. Husmann went through workouts at Missouri State, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Southern Illinois and Purdue.
Husmann said Arkansas coach Bret Bielema took notice of his athleticism.
“He came up to me after the camp and he goes, ‘Hey, you impressed me at this camp with your size and speed. You did good,'” Husmann said. “That was really nice of him to shake my hand and say that.”
At Nebraska, Husmann introduced himself to defensive line coach Hank Hughes.
“He goes, ‘I know who you are, Mason,'” Husmann recounted.
And at Southern Illinois, Husmann showed off the speed he gained from track meets.
“I was the only big man — the only lineman — in the ‘fastest man’ race,” Husmann said of the SIU camp.
Husmann will attend a seventh camp at Louisiana-Monroe July 18. When he’s not working out for college coaches, Husmann is working out in the Aurora weight room and taking part in 7-on-7 passing drills, something most linemen avoid.
The 7-on-7 work, Husmann said, is to get better at playing outside linebacker, which he would need to do if he signs with a college team that runs a 3-4 or 3-5 defense. Aurora runs a traditional 4-3 defensive front.
“There’s been a few schools that have wanted to play me as a hybrid, maybe in a 3-4,” Husmann said. “I would like a 4-man defensive line front, that’s what I would like because that’s more opportunity to rush off the edge.”
Aurora coach Rick Scholten plans to continue using Husmann as a pass-rushing defensive end this fall.
“For the most part, the college coaches are recruiting him as a defensive end,” Scholten said.
In addition to leading the Houn’ Dawgs in sacks, Husmann leads in the locker room.
“He’s as hard of a worker as I’ve ever coached. He always expects a lot of himself and expects a lot of the people around him — very respectful,” Scholten said.
Husmann is also a classroom leader. He self-reports a grade point average of 3.91. Having a chance for football to pay for a college education is not lost on the Aurora big man.
“That’s a huge deal, I have to be able to put up the grades,” Husmann said. “I have to get a degree, that’s what I want to do.”
Husmann said geography doesn’t play much of a factor as he considers his college options. He’s more interested in the quality of the football and the education a college can offer.
“Honestly, it really doesn’t matter to me,” Husmann said when asked about staying local. “If they have a great program I feel is a great fit for me, I’ll go there.”
Signing day is almost seven months away. Husmann’s senior season at Aurora starts Aug. 21.
Mason Husmann’s numbers to know
Positions: DE, OLB, OG
40-yard dash: 4.84 seconds
Vertical leap: 33 inches
Bench press max: 315 pounds
2014 tackling: 84 solo, 24 assists, 9 tackles for loss, 6 sacks