Photo CC: @Coach_Morton60 & Vype
The Class of 2021 has loads of potential with multiple offensive and defensive weapons committed to the current class. Coach Wells and Crew have made it a point of emphasis to bring in athletic players and guys that still have plenty of room to grow, the prime example, Mason Tharp. Tharp is a 6’8 230lbs TE from Klein HS in Spring, TX who is a coaches’ dream at the TE position. He is tall, agile, has soft hands, and isn’t afraid to block. I recently sat down with both Mason and his position coach at Klein HS and Texas Tech grad, Chris Morton.
RC: First off, thank you both for talking with me. I hope both your families and friends are staying safe and healthy. My first question is for Mason, this has been a weird time for everyone due to COVID-19, what have you been working on to improve your game going into your senior season?
Mason: I have been working on my footwork with Rischad Whitfield, AKA the Footwork King, and working out to get stronger. Overall, just trying to get better.
RC: Coach, what aspects of Mason’s game stand out compared to other TE’s that you have coached?
Coach Morton: Mason’s hands are one of, if not THE best on the team. You mix that with his height and it makes for a scary match up in the passing game, but his blocking ability when he puts his hand in the ground is what really sets him apart.
RC: Mason, you had 17 offers with a majority coming from Power 5 schools, what was it that made you choose Texas Tech over those other programs?
Mason: Texas Tech has great academics and athletic programs and a passionate fan base which are all important to me. I love the way they use the Tight End by having one on the field at all times. Also, I was intrigued by Coach Scholz’s approach to strength and conditioning. I believe Coach Matt Wells is building something special at Texas Tech. Coach Luke Wells and many of the other coaches were involved in my recruitment. It really is a family atmosphere. And last but not least, I wanted to play in Texas where my family can come and see me play…football here is special.
RC: Coach, we had previous exchange before doing this interview and you said, “Mason Tharp is special. I’m just blessed to be a part of the ride”. What makes Mason such a special talent at the TE position?
Coach Morton: His size and his skill set speak for himself. You watch his film and you can see that he can ball. But it’s the work he puts in behind the scenes that really sets him apart. I tell Mason all the time “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Mason has mixed talent with hard work and boy its fun to watch.
RC: Mason, when watching your tape, you obviously can go up and get the jump ball, but your blocking is something that also standouts, talk to me about how important that element of your game is.
Mason: I’m a traditional Tight End and contributing to the running game by blocking is a big part of what I do. I like setting the tone with my physical play which will set up the passing game.
RC: Coach, what are some aspects that Tech fans can look for when it comes to improvement from Mason This year and how that will translate to the 806?
Coach Morton: Well at Ole Klein High, we will run the football so I can promise you he will know how to come off the ball and play physical football. Mason has also been working on his footwork for the past two years which has improved exponentially. If I was back in the 806, I would be excited because they are getting a weapon that will cause many problems for defenses in the Big 12.
RC: Mason, how would you describe your game for Tech fans that haven’t gotten to see you play yet?
Mason: I can block. I can catch. I’m physical at the point of attack and I love the game of football. I look forward to showing everyone in Lubbock and West Texas what I have to offer.
RC: Mason, when looking at the Class of 2021 for Texas Tech, what excites you the most?
Mason: We’ve got a really good group of guys coming in. They can all play and we are all really looking forward to building something special at Texas Tech.
RC: Do either of you have a message for Red Raider fans?
Mason: Everyone stay safe and healthy and get ready to have a lot of fun in the next few years! Wreck’Em
Coach Morton: Get your popcorn ready! It’s going to be a wild ride! Wreck’Em