FAYETTEVILLE — The chances of high schools holding any spring football activities are basically non-existent, but that hasn’t stopped Mena’s Class of 2021 three-star tight end Mason Brotherton from working hard to improve his game.
Brotherton, 6-4, 235, is one of the state’s top prospects in this fall’s senior class. As a junior, Brotherton caught 21 passes for 272 yards and five touchdowns, threw a 25-yard touchdown pass and rushed twice for five yards. In spot duty on defense, Brotherton had five tackles, all for a loss, four sacks, a quarterback hurry and one forced fumble.
“We didn’t have a lot of camps planned out before this happened,” Brotherton said. “I think schools were just releasing their camp dates. We were trying to get that together, but we haven’t had anything set in stone certainly yet which is good. So when this blows over hopefully and it starts back up we’ll get on that.
“Right now I’ve just been taking the time to get better and better myself. Like they say the social distancing, working out getting my workouts in and also recovery too. So when this all does start back up I can hit the ground running.”
Brotherton said he’s not concentrating on just running or lifting during this time.
“This year I’m just doing a little bit of everything extra,” Brotherton said. “Because you don’t realize it until it’s almost your last offseason of high school. Last senior season is approaching and it’s a hard pill to swallow, but right now I have to work harder than ever to be anywhere near where I want to be, but also better. So I’m doing a little of everything more, but in the past I’ve overworked and been injured. So I’m trying to work on the recovery side of it so I’ll have more work days. I do feel well right now.”
Brotherton and the Bearcats finished 7-4 in 2019. They lost in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs to Gosnell 40-29. Gosnell offensive lineman Tederian Blair was impressed with Brotherton and talked about that on Sunday morning.
“It was a pretty big shock to me because on film I was just paying attention to the defense,” Blair said. “Then when I watched the offensive said I said, ‘Those are some pretty big dudes. I’m pretty sure he’s a dude for them.'”
In the game against Gosnell, Brotherton threw a 25-yard touchdown pass, he rushed for three yards on one carry, caught three passes for 37 yards and a touchdown and had one quarterback hurry on defense. Brotherton was also very complimentary of Gosnell.
“What I do remember about them they were a very athletic team,” Brotherton said. “They had a really good bunch of guys. They have a few really good offensive linemen on that team because they were a good rushing team. They had good running backs and good speed at wide receiver. I remember they caught like a screen pass on the first play and he went around the edge for about 60 yards. That was a wake-up call. They were a very good team.”
Brotherton talked about his touchdown pass against the Pirates which was his only passing attempt of the season.
“I think it was third or fourth quarter and we were down by three or four touchdowns,” Brotherton said. “I mean really anytime coaches call me to do anything including some defense and passing touchdown I do it. We were down three touchdowns and coach called that play. I have played baseball my whole life so throwing a baseball is like a football. I knew I could get it to him, but I’d never done it before so it was little new to me.”
Brotherton talked about the formation the Bearcats were using on that play.
“We were in like four receivers split out to the right making a little diamond formation,” Brotherton said. “I was in the back. They threw it backwards to me and the receiver from the other side of the field came across like on a deep drag route to the corner of the end zone. It felt good out of my hands and it was a good ball. When I watched it again I was like, ‘I’m impressed.'”
Brotherton did make it the University of Arkansas before all the visits got shut down by NCAA. He was at the March 7 Junior Day. He got to meet and talk to Jon Cooper (tight ends), Kendal Briles (offensive coordinator) and Sam Pittman (head coach). He left Fayetteville impressed.
“The thing that really stood out to me was how close they all were,” Brotherton said. “If I asked one coach about another coach they didn’t hesitate to tell me how good a coach the next one was.
“I was highly impressed by Pittman as well. I think he’s an awesome coach. He has done great things in his career. Coach Cooper and Coach Briles are great coaches as well. When you talk to them about football you know they are highly intelligent. I’m excited to get up there again and build a relationship with them.”
Brotherton has offers from Memphis, Kansas, Mercer, Coastal Carolina and Louisiana-Monroe.