FRANKLIN FURNACE — It’s no secret in standing six-feet and eight-inches tall that Mason Hensley stood out at a small school like Green.
Now, Hensley has plans to stand out at Muskingum University, as the tall two-way lineman made it official on Friday afternoon at Green High School —and announced his intentions to play football for the Muskies.
Hensley — a two-time second-team Southern Ohio Conference Division I selection and an (Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association) all-Southeast District Division VII Honorable Mention honoree as a junior — put pen to paper on his national letter-of-intent to play for head coach Erik Leuter.
Hensley was flanked by his parents Timothy Hensley Jr. and Jamie Hensley; sister Alley Hensley and former Green High School head football coach and athletic director Ted Newsome.
Muskingum — located in New Concord — is a member of the Ohio Athletic Conference and the NCAA Division III, as Hensley hailed the Muskingum campus and the Muskies’ coaching staff for his decision to choose them over other OAC programs — and a handful of NAIA offers.
“I just fell in love with the entire atmosphere up there. It’s a beautiful campus. I talked a lot with my recruiting coach Coach (Austin) Pritchard and asked a lot of questions and he answered them. I believe I will really fit in well with their offensive scheme, both pass blocking and run blocking, and I’m super excited about my decision and am ready to go get started with the other commits,” he said.
Hensley said he was recruited to Muskingum as an offensive lineman, and will play either left tackle or tight end in the Muskies’ run-pass spread offense —under offensive line coach Edward Reny.
The Bobcats, under Newsome, were primarily a run-oriented option-based club — as Hensley weighed roughly 265 pounds before dropping about 30 for his senior season.
He said he has the height for the left tackle spot, but needs to gain weight to help secure such an anchor position.
Hensley said he currently weighs 235, but wants to put on an estimated 60 pounds and approach the 300 mark.
Still, he also wants to maintain his speed —whether either as a tight end or tackle.
“I’m 6-8, so I am tall and have arm length for pass blocking. I really think I can excel at pass blocking, and Muskingum will pass more with a spread offense than perhaps what we ran at Green. When you’re run blocking, you can do more pancake blocking by just being bigger and stronger than the defensive lineman, but pass blocking emphasizes more technique and footwork and speed. I lost a lot of weight my senior year that I want to gain back and better prepare to block bigger defenders. But I also want to be a fast offensive linemen. There are a lot of quality and quick defensive linemen and especially ends at the Division III level. I want to be quicker while gaining muscle, not fat. It’s important to be big, but just as important to stay low and be mobile and flexible,” said Hensley. “Muskingum will run a lot of spread sets with one back and one tight end and in the red zone a lot of two tight-end sets with a tall tight end.”
Of course, Hensley is aware his 6-8 size attracted a lot of college programs’ attention.
“My height helped get me college looks, but I also feel like my footwork and skills improvement was a big thing too,” he said.
Newsome spoke highly of Hensley’s work ethic, and his on-the-field leadership.
“Mason has the skills to play for any program and he really developed into a leader for us. He is a good hard worker and is the real deal. We were a run-oriented team, but Mason will be an effective run-blocker or pass-blocker for Muskingum. He has the skill set to do both at a high level,” said the coach. “ He probably fits better physically as a tackle, which is his natural spot, but no matter where they put him he will be competitive and play hard. He is a very intense kid that applies himself well. We are really proud of him. He is a great young man who does things the right way and will do them at the next level as well.”
Hensley had perhaps his best season as a junior —when Green had its best season in almost three decades.
That’s because the Bobcats posted an 8-2 regular-season (2018) mark, and qualified for the state playoffs for the first time since their back-to-back undefeated falls in 1989 and 1990.
In fact, only the past two seasons since the 2005 and 2006 campaigns has Green gone back-to-back years with at least a .500 record.
“It was a ride at Green. I feel like I owe a big thank-you to Coach Newsome. As freshmen, some of us were punkish, didn’t like working hard. We turned that around by bringing better attitudes to practice and working together as a team. I was a leader last two years. I had to make sure we pulled together and not fall apart and argue with each other when things weren’t going well,” said Hensley. “It was a fun time and we really formed a brotherhood. My teammates and I worked really hard those last two years and they were the best two years of Green football in a long time.”
Now, Hensley hopes to build a brotherhood with his fellow Muskie commits, as he is scheduled to report to preseason training camp on Aug. 12.
“I am ready to get up there and get moved in and get after it with my teammates,” he said. “From the ones I’ve met and talked to already, we don’t like to lose. The offensive linemen, everyone from freshmen to senior, there is a bond there. Lot of things in common, we will get together and hang out off the field. I respect those guys and our coaching staff and am ready to go to battle with them.”
Hensley is also excited about the academic aspects Muskingum University offers, as he plans to major in either Nursing or Sports Training.
Indeed, after standing out at Green, Hensley has plans to do the same with the Muskies.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved