We kick off a new series today, wherein we'll profile the team's five "Impact Players" this fall. What are "Impact Players"? Well, quite simply, they're players that we expect to impact the team's performance the most this fall. (Revolutionary, I know.) They were all selected for specific reasons, and you might be surprised at one or more who were picked. I think you'll see though that each of these guys is going to be absolutely crucial to the team if it is to be successful. So, without further ado...
Shaquille Mason, Senior, Offensive Guard
The first major impact player we're going to discuss is Shaquille Mason. By now, you've probably asked yourself, "How the hell is an offensive lineman an impact player?" Stay with me.
Mason is the best offensive lineman on the roster at the moment. He's getting looks as an NFL prospect, was the ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week twice last year, and was selected to various All-ACC teams last year. He's started 25 games over the past two seasons. He's a talented, smart, and reliable offensive lineman. The other key to this is that Mason is the main returning starter from last year's offensive line, along with Bryan Chamberlain who started 7 times.
Shaq Mason is an impact player this fall because of all he brings to the table. He's a veteran leader working with a unit that's trying to replace 3 of 5 starters. His leadership and knowledge will be invaluable in developing the incoming starters. Don't forget, either -- he'll be in charge of protecting a new quarterback, too. Having a veteran leader right off of a new quarterback's shoulder will go a long way in getting said quarterback comfortable and giving him the best chance to succeed.
In short, Shaq Mason will be highly impactful on how Justin Thomas or Tim Byerly develop, as well as on how his new co-starters on the offensive line develop. His presence alone will be a big deal for the offense, and his skill will be something that Tech fans everywhere thoroughly appreciate by the season's end.
Do you see Shaq Mason as an impact player this fall? Would you ever consider an offensive lineman to be an "impact player"?