Lassiter High’s Hutson Mason projects to be UGA’s third-string quarterback before taking his first step on college campus.
Mason, who shattered many of Georgia’s high school passing records this past season, will be only UGA’s third quarterback on scholarship when he reports to the team in June.
Zach Mettenberger was dismissed by UGA coach Mark Richt on Sunday, leaving behind Aaron Murray and Logan Gray at the position. Also, cornerback Branden Smith took direct snaps at QB during spring practice.
“Zach is a really good friend of mine,” Mason told the AJC. “It’s a sad thing. I don’t really want to comment on anything else. He’s a good friend, and every time I went to Athens, I stayed with him. Zach will get an opportunity to play again (somewhere else). He’s a good quarterback.”
The 6-foot-3, 192-pound Mason was Georgia’s lone QB recruit this past February. However, he will be one of four quarterbacks expected to join the Bulldogs this summer, with the other three being walk-on (non-scholarship) quarterbacks.
“It’s definitely a door that is open for me,” Mason said. “It’s another door open for Aaron and for Logan. It’s an unfortunate thing. But at the same time, it’s a job now and we all three have to look out for ourselves. … I’m just going to have a lot more motivation every time I work out and when I’m learning the playbook. I’m absolutely excited to get to Athens and to see where everything will lead me.”
When Mason signed with Georgia, he expected to be red-shirted during his first year. However, Mason confirmed to the AJC on Sunday that Richt nor the other coaches have yet to indicate his role for next season — even before Sunday’s shocker.
“With the whole Mettenberger situation now, it probably depends on how the other guys do, and how I come in and do during the summer,” Mason said. “That’s why I am ready to learn as much as I can now so I am as prepared as possible. I’m not going to be able to know the whole playbook, but I think I will responsible for knowing the formations and the protections, and thing like that …
“I was guessing I’d be redshirted, most likely, if both Zach and Aaron stayed. However, if one of them had lost the job, and the other transferred, I might not have been redshirted. But to tell you the truth, I don’t know. I was just worried about things I could control, and let the coaches make their decisions.”
Mason was the AJC’s Class AAAAA Player of the Year in 2009, setting state single-season records for passing yards (4,560) and touchdown passes (54) at the Cobb County school. He seemed a little overwhelmed on Sunday with the possibility of being Georgia’s third-string QB within two months.
“It’s the game of the football. I’ve got to be ready, no matter what, for next year. If I am the third-string guy, then I am two plays away from being in. I’ve got to be ready at all times no matter where I am on the depth chart.”
Mason said he hadn’t talked to Mettenberger or any UGA coaches on Sunday evening.
“No, I haven’t talked with Zach. I wasn’t going to call him. I know he’s going through a hard time right now. It’s really none of my business. If I come across him or see him (when the time is appropriate), I’ll definitely wish him the best. But I’m not going to call him or anything.”