Posted: 12:27 am Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Park Vista star Tre Mason isn’t rushing to make a decision 

By Matt Porter

If Tre Mason is feeling the heat, he hides it well.

Park Vista’s star running back has scholarship offers from “every school east of the Mississippi.” On Facebook and fan sites, classmates and college football fans want to know where he’s going. A local media outlet reported he already made up his mind, leading to a frenzy of texts and Facebook messages.

But Mason, the No. 6 prospect on the Big Board, says he’s going to wait until he’s comfortable with his choice.

“I want to be able to take all my five official visits,” said Mason, who hasn’t made an official visit to a school. “Be sure of my decision. I don’t want go pull a Matt Elam, commit and de-commit, you know? I want to be sure.”

Mason, who has taken unofficial trips to Central Florida, Florida and Miami, said he wants to visit Penn State and Ole Miss. Both of those programs, he said, talked to him about playing as a true freshman. He also wants to visit West Virginia.

Mason firmly believes he can focus on leading the Cobras to the top of a brutally tough District 8-6A, where Boca Raton, Seminole Ridge, Atlantic and Palm Beach Central are hungry to stop him.

“I’m going to pay attention to this year, right now. It’s my senior year, and I’ll never be able to play high school football again. I’m definitely going to have a switch, where I can shut it off.”

His coach, Brian Dodds, isn’t so sure.

“I’d say he’s overwhelmed, with all the publicity,” said Dodds, who saw two of his mammoth offensive linemen, Cody Preble (Wake Forest) and Mike Matulis (South Carolina), commit before the start of fall practice.

“Cody and Mike, they’re relaxed. They’re not feeling any pressure. I wanted Tre to do that, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen,” said Dodds.

“I hope he can [focus], but it concerns me,” he said. “I’ve seen too many kids wait, and it’s tough. He seems like that’s where he’s going to be right now, he’s going to wait and see what’s best for him, but then it gets more confusing.”

Mason is confident in his talent, and he seems to enjoy the recruiting process. “It’s a blessing to have a coach tell me he really wants me on his team,” he said.

A scat-back runner who maintains speed when he cuts, the 5-9 1/2, 182-pound Mason has run as low as a 4.38 40-yard dash, said Dodds, and he usually clocks around a 4.4. He returns kicks and takes pride in being an all-purpose back who can run over a defender when needed.

So what about adding that skill-set to, say, the Hurricanes, Gators or Seminoles? Dodds said Mason will find a home somewhere, but it will probably be out-of-state.

“He’s been offered by everybody east of the Mississippi, pretty much, with the exception of the big three from Florida,” said Dodds.

“That being said,” he continued, “Miami has a ton of young running backs, so they’re really not looking.

“Does he fit into Florida’s thing? Maybe not, unless they change to an [I-formation], or he would have to be a Percy Harvin-type of player. He does all that, but I don’t know that Tre’s looking for that. He’s always been in the backfield, and I think he’d want to continue like that. Not to say he wouldn’t [change], but I’m saying right now, I think that’s why Florida’s kind of off the radar.

“Florida State? I don’t know why. Unless they have a ton of young running backs that I don’t know about. Some schools, like Ohio State, love him … but they have a lot of young freshman and sophomores. They’re not recruiting running backs. It’s all about where he fits in.”