Georgia Tech sophomore offensive guard Shaquille Mason grew up quickly on the Flats last season. After an impressive fall camp, Mason was the lone freshman lineman to play last year for the Jackets and by the end of the season, he found himself starting in the Sun Bowl. Heading into the 2012 season however, Mason despite being one of the most talented linemen on the team is battling for playing time behind veterans Omoregie Uzzi and Will Jackson at guard.
"I am pushing everyday and me being right there is pushing the others to get better as well," Mason of said of the guard competition. "Competition is what I like and I like this competition."
Head Coach Paul Johnson said that Uzzi, Jackson and Mason as well as redshirt freshman Trey Braun could all rotate and share time at guard this fall. Mason said that scenario is what he expects to happen.
"I am expecting that (to share time equally) as of now regardless of who gets labeled a starter. I think we will all get equal snaps," he said.
Mason flew under the radar at Columbia Central High School (Tenn.) and other than Tennessee; the Jackets were the only BCS program that really pursued Mason. Flying under the radar is something Mason is used to and given all that has happened starting the bowl game last year was just another fun highlight in what has been a fun ride.
"It has been wild and it has been a great experience," he said. "So far my favorite moments were the Clemson game last year because I have never been in an environment like that before and the second would be starting the bowl game."
After playing the spring with just ten healthy linemen the final week of camp, Mason and the other linemen are enjoying the luxury of 15 healthy offensive linemen has a been a treat so far.
"We almost died every day in the spring because of the drills. You would go and be right up again and it is nice to have depth now," he said.
Mason hopes he is one of the two players to start at guard in Blacksburg, but either way he knows he will see plenty of time on the field this fall.