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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Mason Wickett, DL, Buena Vista University

Mason Wickett Buena Vista
Mason Wickett the physical defensive end from Buena Vista University recently sat down with Jimmy Williams of NFL Draft Diamonds.
  • Name: Mason Wickett
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 285 lbs
  • Position: DL
  • College: Buena Vista University
  • Twitter: @masonwickett

Tell us about your university/college. Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?

Buena Vista University is a beautiful, lakeside college that offers many opportunities for learning as well as building a sense of community. Aside from football, I am involved with intramurals, as well as volunteering for the local elementary schools through the football program.

How did you end up at Buena Vista?

I started my collegiate career at Iowa State University. I was not a part of any sport during my time there. That summer, I found that a big time college like Iowa State was not for me. On top of this, I missed football more than anything in the world. I looked around for the right college for me and decided on Buena Vista because of the location, education opportunities, but most importantly, the people. My coaches made the decision easy, as they made me feel like I belonged at BVU. Having the second chance to play football is a blessing.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

My teammates have said that my best quality is that I am personable, genuine, and easy to talk to. I think that these qualities are what make me a good leader for my team. I am able to keep the team together and focused during times of adversity, as well as showing the newer guys techniques that I use to be successful.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?

I see myself as a leader. I lead by example and by motivating others to be the best they can be on an off the field. As an older guy on the team, I enjoy showing the new guys what they can do better to improve their game.

The position that suits me best is anywhere on the defensive line. I have played all of the positions on the defensive line and excel at all of them. I can lock down an area that no one will be able to get through, but I am also quick on my feet for a bigger guy.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

The best player I have played against in college is Nic Vetter. He is an offensive guard for the Wartburg Knights. He was a first team all American this last year.

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

The teammate that impresses me the most is Eric Pacheco. He is a WR for us and is a freak athlete. What impresses me most about him is just his sheer athletic ability. He is fast, coordinated, disciplined, etc. I am also impressed by his commitment to the team. You will never see him take a rep off or let something go. He will do whatever it takes to better himself, and his teammates. I consider us very lucky that he chose to come to BVU because, in my opinion, he could probably play at a higher level. 

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

When I was three years old, my birth mother died of cancer. However being a small child, I didn’t quite understand what that meant, and never really went through the grieving process. As I got older, it was hard to think about her without being overwhelmed with grief. However, due to the help of my family, I have videos and pictures to remember her by and am able to come to terms with what happened. I still have not completely overcome this struggle, and probably never will, but I am proud and like to think my mom is proud of the progress that I have made so I can continue to remember her.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?

I am most proud of making the decision to leave Iowa State and come to Buena Vista. This is also probably my greatest achievement. I went to Iowa State for the wrong reasons and I paid the price for it. My grades and mental health suffered. With the help of my parents, I was able to break out of that low point in my life and made a decision that was most beneficial for me. 

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

The most memorable play of my collegiate career is definitely my interception against Dubuque. They had run a screen pass on us already once and I was up against talented offensive lineman. When I felt that I went by them too easily, I knew they were running a screen again and looked around for the running back. Luckily he was right next to me and the quarterback threw the ball up and, having played a WR in the past, I intercepted the ball and ran it back for about ten or so yards.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?

If I didn’t play football, I would want to play baseball. I was a first baseman in high school and loved every second of it. I had very talented and fun teammates to play with and we went undefeated in the conference and made it to state my senior year. I have a lot of great memories playing baseball.

What was your major/minor? Other than football, what would be your dream job?

My major is educational studies and my minor is criminal justice. I recently changed my major and added the minor of criminal justice because I want to go into the police force, or something along those lines. My dream job would be a professional piano player because I want to be able to play piano so badly, but I can’t.

What have you been working on in the off-season?

I have been working on my hang clean and my explosiveness during the off season. I hold the third best hang clean record at Buena Vista at 345 lbs. and would like to be number one by the end of the season. As for my explosiveness, this in terms of being first off the ball. I work on changing direction speed, coming out of my stance, and shooting my hands.

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?

My favorite player in the NFL is J.J. Watt. I try to model my game after him because he is an absolute unit on the field. He is also a fantastic leader and role model in terms of hard work and habits to be the best player that you can be.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Do you have any secret talents?

In my spare time, I like to hang out with my friends and family. My family owns a cabin in Minnesota that we go up to every summer where we swim, tube, fish, etc. My friends and I also record a podcast in which we talk about our favorite movies, games, T.V. shows, etc. I do have a secret talent in that I am an expert magician. I can perform many sleight of hand magic tricks with playing cards that blow the freshman players’ minds.

Why do you play football?

I play football for the physical and mental challenge. Going up against another man and testing our physical strength and discipline against each other is what drives me to play. After football, when can you go up to a person and just dominate them physically? I enjoy testing myself against others, so I can therefore better myself as a result. I also play football for the comradery of my teammates. I have known my teammates for about three and a half years now and I can tell you I would do anything for each and every one of them. A lesson I learned at Iowa State is that I need to be a part of something bigger than myself. This will give me the drive and willpower to be successful, not just in football, but in every aspect of life. Lastly, I play football because of the life lessons that it teaches. Football has been my primary teacher when it comes to dealing with adversity, teamwork, and humility. All of these things are necessary to be successful in life. Football has taught me how to handle each one of these things so that I may apply them to my life in the future.

Who or what motivates you the most?

When I started a job stocking shelves at a grocery store, my father told me something. He said, “Do not ever think that this job is beneath you. If you are doing something you have to try to be the best at it. If you’re the President of the United States, you have to think to yourself I have to be the best President I can. If you’re stocking shelves, you have to think to yourself, I have to be the best shelf stocker I can.” This is honestly what keeps me motivated. I realized then that no matter what I do, I have to strive for excellence. The strive to be excellent in everything I do, no matter if it’s football or stacking cans on a shelf, is what keeps me motivated.

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