Shaquille Mason learned, perhaps too young, that days shouldn’t be wasted.
Mason, who goes by Shaq and is a member of Georgia Tech’s 2011 recruiting class, recently spoke about a former high school teammate, Dylan Rebeor.
Rebeor was diagnosed with colon cancer last spring. He was strong enough to flip the coin in the semifinal game
He died a week later, the morning that Mason and Columbia Central made it to Tennessee’s 5A state championship game.
“Your day can be any day,” Mason said. “He fought the hardest of anybody I know. He was a strong kid.”
Led by Mason, Columbia Central went out and won the game for Dylan.
“That whole day, we just felt like we had to win it for him,” he said.
Dylan’s fight to stay alive served as inspiration for his team throughout the 2010 season. Columbia Central posted an 8-2 regular season record and then rolled through the postseason with victories over Lenoir City, Knoxville Catholic, Tullahoma and Knoxville West. Because of his medical condition, his teammates would often carry Dylan out to the sidelines or onto the field for the pre-game coin toss. As long as Dylan fought to stay alive, the Lions fought to win a championship.
Befitting a man of his size, he says it’s more fun to hit than the passive act of pass-blocking. “I like the contact,” he said.
That aggressiveness was highlighted by defensive line coach Andy McCollum when discussing Mason’s skills at Tech’s Signing Day event.
“He’s got great feet, great motor,” McCollum said. “He’s never on the ground, also played defense. He didn’t come off the field.”
Mason said he hopes to play guard at Tech, though he said he will do whatever he can to help the team. Mason obviously has the size to compete for time on the offensive line. He seemingly also has the strength, bench-pressing 375 pounds last year. He would like to play as a freshman, but he’s just looking forward to the experience.
“I’m just an outgoing person, a humble guy,” he said. “I like to have fun with my teammates. Just looking forward to a great experience.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC