Michigan fullback/linebacker Ben Mason talks about his love of football. Angelique S. Chengelis, Detroit News
Ann Arbor – A meniscus tear that knocked Michigan fullback/linebacker Ben Mason out of spring practice is completely healed, and he’s now going through summer workouts.
Mason, who worked at Michigan’s high school prospects camp on Saturday, underwent a procedure about a month and a half ago. Now he said he’s 100 percent and has “no limitations.”
Unsurprisingly, Mason has convenient amnesia when it comes to revealing which knee he injured sometime last season during his freshman year. He said it began to nag him in spring practice and realized something wasn’t quite right.
“I don’t know,” Mason said coyly when asked which knee was injured.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh revealed Mason’s injury during a podcast as spring practice was in full swing.
“He was cracking skulls, doing Ben Mason stuff as spring ball was going,” Harbaugh said. “But he complained a little bit about his knee. It didn’t feel right.”
An MRI revealed the injury and Harbaugh said surgery was the appropriate option.
The 6-foot-2 Mason has added about seven pounds and is now 258. Voted the team’s “toughest player” last year as a freshman, it is anticipated he could be a two-way player this fall. Mason was practicing at fullback and linebacker before the setback.
He said the coaches approached him about playing some snaps at linebacker, but he doesn’t know what the breakdown could be in the fall.
“I’m not sure,” he said, adding he doesn’t have a preference between offense or defense. “I’m just here to play football and do whatever the coaches tell me to do.
“I just like football. I like hitting people, I like running the ball, intercepting the ball. Defense is fun.”
How much defense does he anticipate he will play?
“We will see in September,” Mason said.
Wolverines defensive lineman talks about Mason's ability to play at numerous positions. Angelique S. Chengelis
Defensive end Rashan Gary admires Mason’s versatility.
“Ben Mason is a weird guy,” Gary said, smiling, on Saturday after the camp. “You could put him anywhere and coach him and he would do it. You could put him at fullback, you could put him at tight end, he’s very coachable, and he’s strong. That helps him out a lot.
“You could put Ben Mason anywhere and he’s going to do a hell of a job, going 110 percent every play. He coming for you every play. He’s going to make you better.”
Mason is one of the strongest players on the team, according to first-year strength coach Ben Herbert, who has been earning praise across the board from the Wolverines. They have taken to his approach since his arrival in January.
“I don’t want to compare, but I really like how enthusiastic Coach Herbert is with the players,” Mason said. “He has an atmosphere that people want to come in and work for him. People want to workout and put everything on the line for Coach Herbert and his staff. His staff as a whole, they just work really well together. It just works out.”
He said Herbert doesn’t care about a player’s weight as much as he focuses on getting them “lean and dense.”
“There’s a lot of strong people on the team,” Mason said. “That’s Michigan football. We’re strong.”
Teammate and offensive guard Ben Bredeson said he appreciates Mason’s contributions on a number of levels. Mostly, though, he said Mason is flat-out unique.
“You’ve got to love him because he has absolutely zero volume control,” Bredeson said, laughing. “Can’t control his voice at all. We’ll be in class trying to whisper, and he’ll just be blurting out loud what he’s trying to say.
“He has this unique personality that you can’t really put a finger on other than that blockhead football player. I love Ben. Love him to death. It’s almost too easy to make fun of him, because it’s so out there.”