Ben Mason Plans On Making Defenders 'Feel His Physical Presence' In The NFL
Despite seldom touching the ball during his collegiate career (just 37 rushes and three receptions), former Michigan Wolverines football fullback Ben Mason had quite a memorable tenure in Ann Arbor. He earned the nickname “Bench Mason” and was admittedly Jim Harbaugh’s favorite player on the team, with the U-M head man once saying Mason was the kind of person “any dad would have been proud to have fathered.”
The next step of Mason’s football career will take place under the leadership of yet another Harbaugh, this time under Jim’s brother, John Harbaugh. The Baltimore Ravens selected Mason with the final pick of the fifth round during this past weekend’s NFL Draft, knowing full well the mentality and hard-nosed playing style he’ll bring to the table.
“Since I’ve been a kid, I really enjoyed the process of arriving at contact and going from Point A to Point B,” Mason said after the Ravens drafted him. “I love everything about it — arriving, meeting the defender with your hat and hands, and driving your feet on contact.
“My mental process out there is that I’m the baddest dude on the field at all times, and I play like that and think like it. When I see defenders in the hole, I want to make them feel my physical presence.”
Mason was primarily known for his blocking abilities as a fullback during his time at Michigan, but actually played several other roles as well. He was a regular on special teams, was flexed out to more of an H-back/tight end role this past season, and was even placed at defensive tackle for a short while early in the 2019 campaign.
“I’m very versatile and that’s something you need from your fullback,” he explained. “You need to be able to play in the I [formation], play in the hip and a little tight end — that’s what I’ll bring on offense.
“I also have experience playing defense at Michigan, and that helped me become a better player. I played special teams on all four units and it’s something I take very seriously.
“There’s no better feeling to me than running down on coverage units, and being the ball carrier. I look forward to making my imprint felt.”
Mason didn’t carry the ball much during his four years in Ann Arbor, but made the most of the handful of carries he did receive. Of his 37 rushes, nine went for touchdowns, which equates out to nearly a quarter (24.3 percent) of his attempts ending in the end zone.
Despite standing 6-3, 254, Mason also showed a tendency at times to jump over defenders while carrying the ball. His leaping abilities didn’t go unnoticed outside of Ann Arbor, with a Baltimore reporter eagerly asking him about his vertical jumping skills and whether or not it’s something fans may see in Baltimore.
“That’s just another tool in my toolbox — that’s how I look at it,” he exclaimed. “It’s another way to combat defenders when they come at you low. You can run them over, jump over them or juke them.
“It’s a tool in my repertoire and I learned it at a young age. I’ve been doing it since my sophomore or junior year of high school. I look at football as being as versatile as possible and doing as many things as possible, and [if you do that], it’ll work out for your team.”
Mason admitted the Ravens’ organization has not told him the specific role they see him playing quite yet, though fullback is obviously a safe bet. He also said he’s looking forward to playing for John Harbaugh, especially if he’s anything like his brother.
“I enjoyed playing for Coach Jim,” Mason said. “He was my favorite coach and it was an absolute joy playing for him.”
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