A popular series from last draft cycle is returning yet again at Stampede Blue. Last off-season, I interviewed over 40 prospects that could eventually be fits for the Indianapolis Colts in the 2019 NFL Draft. As a result, we were able to find out a lot about two Colts who went on to eventually be drafted by the team in Marvell Tell III and Khari Willis. This year I hope to interview even more prospects so you all can get an inside look at these player’s accomplishments and mindsets going into this next draft.
Our next prospect is wide receiver Mason Kinsey from Berry College. Kinsey is a small school wide receiver who played very well against good competition at the Shrine Game. We had a great talk about his mindset as a small school player, his experience at the Shrine Game, and what he can bring to an NFL team.
6’0” 195 pounds
3x All-SAA First-Team (2017, 2018, 2019)
Holds every Berry record in each receiving category
SAA record holder in receiving yards and touchdowns
65 receptions for 1,221 yards and 16 touchdowns in 11 games played.
Fit with the Colts:
The Chris Ballard Colts seem to like their fair share of small school receivers. Going into last off-season, the team rostered four receivers who came from FCS or lower colleges (Zach Pascal-> Old Dominion, Daurice Fountain-> Northern Iowa, Ashton Dulin-> Malone, and Chester Rogers-> Grambling State). The Colts seem to leave no stone left unturned when it comes to receivers. Could Kinsey be the next diamond in the rough? He has been super productive and could fit the potential void left in the slot on the Colts’ roster this off-season. He won’t be a high pick but it never hurts to bring in super productive small schoolers as late rounders/UDFAs.
Late Day 3/PUDFA
Mason Kinsey is a savvy route runner. Gets in and out of breaks with as few steps as possible. Stock up after a big week at the Shrine Bowl. Should post freaky testing numbers, too. pic.twitter.com/SiCu117Njo— Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) January 21, 2020
.@berrycollege WR Mason Kinsey is going to turn some heads this summer. Savvy route runner, little wasted movement in and out of breaks, and tracks the ball extremely well. He’ll impress at Kennesaw State’s Pro Day on March 11. pic.twitter.com/JDtE8QB38H— Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) February 16, 2020
ZH: So Berry isn’t known for being a football powerhouse by any means. How did you end up at a small D3 school?
MK: My first official offer out of high school was Mercer which is FCS. I was basically ready to go there. I loved the culture, the coaches, they had what I wanted to major in and every thing. They called me my Senior year after football season was over and said they had a JUCO kid that wanted to transfer in and they didn’t think he was going to get into the school but if he does then they would have to pull my offer and drop me to a preferred walk-on. He ended up getting in and they pulled my offer.
As far as recruiting, I had shut it down as I was just concentrated on Mercer at the time so I was kind of left in the dust. I had a few preferred walk-ons from other D-I schools, visited some D-II schools, and Berry was actually my last college visit. I fell in love with the coaches, the program — they were a new program that had only been running for three years— and fell in love with the fact that they continually improved over their three years. I definitely feel like I made the right decision looking back.
ZH: Looking back on your career now, as a multiple record holder and a four time conference champion, how would summarize your experience at Berry?
MK: I feel like I got an experience that was more than just being a football player. I was on a work based scholarship there so I worked full time 20 hours a week in the Fall and the Spring. I worked 40 hours a week in the summers, 9-5, Monday through Friday and that is how I paid for school. D-III can’t offer athletic scholarships so that is how I paid for my schooling. It is 52 grand a year to go there so it’s not cheap. I got to work, I also ran track my sophomore year, played on the football team, won the conference championship in the 4 x 100 in track as well, and learned a lot in the classroom. I definitely got the full package when I ended up coming to Berry.
ZH: That’s great man. I am curious because you mentioned track, what was your best time in the 100 meter when you were there?
MK: I think it was 11.2? It... wasn’t very good. I wasn’t very good honestly. I ran my Sophomore year and I’ve definitely gotten a lot faster since then but I’m really good about 60 meters down the way then I usually died out right after that (laughs).
ZH: Looking back, what area do you feel like you’ve improved the most in from your freshman year to your senior year?
MK: I feel like I’ve become a more complete athlete. I’ve always been pretty good with my route running, I’ve always worked hard and been strong in the weight room, but I always needed to become more athletic and kind of grow into my body. I really focused on that. I wanted to improve my speed — that’s one of the reasons why I ran track— and I just worked on being a better overall athlete. You can use being an athlete in a lot of places. The more places they can use you, the better your film is gonna look from being a punt returner to a kick returner or taking hand-offs.
ZH: Which wide receiver position did you line up at most in college?
MK: My freshman year, I had two guys in front of me and one was an All-American and the other was First-Team All-Conference as well so I rotated in at Z — outside receiver— just because I was faster than the guys I was playing against. My sophomore year I moved to X because one of the guys graduated and my junior year I was X again while rotating in the slot just to find ways to get me open because this was the year that I was the most experienced receiver and I was getting double-teamed a lot. My senior year due to injuries and other things, I ended up playing boundary receiver so I was always to the boundary. In certain match-ups and such though I would play some slot too as a senior.
ZH: Which of those positions would you say you prefer or is your best fit at the next level?
MK: I don’t know if I have a preference. I like the slot because it is a lot more space and you get to go against guys who aren’t always used to covering receivers like linebackers and walk down safeties which I enjoy facing. I feel like I’m a good enough route runner where I can play on the outside. I practiced both at the Shrine Game. Me and Malcolm Perry were the two guys who moved from outside to inside and had to learn X, slot, and Z so I rotated all week and actually ended up playing outside in the game. I don’t really have a preference really, if I had to play long snapper or kicker I’d do it.
ZH: You mentioned the Shrine Game so let’s talk about that. You went from D-III to the Shrine and performed really well. How was it playing against that competition and how was the whole week for you?
MK: When I first got there it was a little bit of a culture shock because I hadn’t seen that many good athletes on the field at one time. I’ve trained with a lot of guys who played D-I football and guys who have played in the NFL so I know what a football player looks like. Even coming from a good D-III program, people are athletic. I think that’s a common misconception with small school football that people ‘aren’t good at football’ or they ‘aren’t athletic’. The biggest thing is size especially in the box.
I enjoyed my time there though. I really just wanted to answer the level of competition question and I feel like I did that throughout the Shrine. I think I only lost one of the one-on-ones all week and it got called for a pass interference so I went almost perfect in those drills. That was my goal and I went in there with a chip on my shoulder to prove I can play with the best players in the country and I feel like I did that.
ZH: Do you think you ultimately helped your stock by going to Shrine and showing you can compete with those power five guys?
MK: Yeah, talking with some teams throughout the week after practice and such, I think they didn’t know who I was going in. Seeing that Georgia logo with the blue on the helmet probably had them thinking what school I even came from. I had coaches on my own Shrine team asking me where I’m from. Meeting with coaches and scouts every night after practices and I got nothing but positive feedback. I answered the level of competition question by just going down there and now the biggest question is how fast can you run. I’m ready to answer those questions too.
ZH: What would you say is your favorite route to run?
MK: I like option routes. It gives you multiple ways to read the defender in front of you and choose. I read something about Julian Edelman when he won Super Bowl MVP that he didn’t actually have a route called that entire game. He was kind of just getting open and Tom (Brady) was finding him. Option routes are just good because you aren’t really limited to doing just one thing. If you and the QB have good chemistry and do your job correctly, it should be a win every single time.
ZH: Final question. What is my team getting if they spend a draft pick on Mason Kinsey?
MK: You are getting the hardest worker in the room. Doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what school you went to, what round you were taken in... You are not going to outwork me. I’m gonna give you everything I got no matter if I’m on kick-off, if I’m catching touchdown passes, if I’m long-snapping or whatever. I’m here to do everything I can do to help the team win and I’m going to do it at the highest level possible. I can go to sleep every night knowing that I’ve given 100% on every single rep and I’ve done everything that I can to make a roster and make a team better.