Rod Oden has coached several NFL players and many college players first at Detroit Crockett and now East English Village Prep, so when he says Emani Mason will be one of the top five guys he has coached, that carries a lot of weight.
Mason started every game at left tackle for the Bulldogs as a freshman. What made it even more impressive is that the 6-foot-4, 268-pound youngster did not turn 14 until January. He made the All-City team and held down the most important spot on the line as a 13 year old.
"It was a little hard because everybody was older," Mason explained, "and they wanted me to be ready to compete against the best."
He did that and then some. Naturally gifted with athleticism, it was his technique and work ethic which put him beyond most freshmen.
"The sky's the limit," Oden says. "He could be a day one draft guy if he stays focused. It's his hard work and attention to detail that puts him above most people. He studies film and watches left tackles in college and the pros and tries to emulate those guys. It's what he does off the field, the things that take no talent, is what makes him great."
Oden has heard from Auburn, Alabama and Tennessee in recent weeks about his star pupil. Mason himself says he has had the most contact with Michigan and Michigan State and has been to both schools on unofficial visits.
"The coaches are great at Michigan. They have a good atmosphere. They want you to work and want you to make it. Michigan State shows me a lot of love. They really just wanted me to see how it was and me to see how good of a school it was."
Mason says he wants to improve technique, speed and strength this offseason. He plans to attend the Sound Mind Sound Body and HSPD camps.
There is a good chance the offers will begin coming in this year and he has already thought about which schools he might like them from.
"Alabama, Michigan and Michigan State, those are my top schools."