Mason West's journey to football excellence and a University of Washington scholarship includes this roadside attraction — as a high school junior, he was named first-team All-Freeway League.
Since he's from the Los Angeles area, he knows how to navigate bumper-to-bumper traffic to get places.
This past April, however, West was in need of a constant tow.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound freshman tight end missed all of spring practice with some sort of undisclosed injury or illness, which the Huskies did not make public.
West showed up every day, only dressed in sweats or shorts, and sometimes went in early to the locker room for treatment as the above video showed.
He didn't wear a boot or a sling, yet something clearly got in the way of his progress, which is unfortunate for him because his position is overly competitive. The Huskies have 11 tight ends on the roster, 7 of whom are on scholarship.
Going down the roster in numerical order, this is another of our post-spring assessments of all of the Husky talent at hand, gleaned from a month of observations, as a way to keep everyone engaged during the offseason.
West wears No. 80, a number that belongs only to him on this roster. Previously, defensive tackle Dave Pear and wide receiver Danny Greene made the number highly visible.
This tight end from Whittier, California, joined the UW in the 2020 class that also included fellow tight end Mark Redman, who was two inches taller and 15 pound heavier and established himself with instant playing time.
In spring practice, All-America candidate Cade Otton, well-used sophomores Jack Westover and Devin Culp, junior-college transfer Quentin Moore and Redman were all deeply involved in tight-end responsibilities. Less experienced and not as physically developed, West faces a big challenge to catch up and move when healthy.
When the Huskies pursued him at La Habra High School, West held offers from Oregon State, Boise State, UNLV and New Mexico, among lower-level schools. He seemed to be leaning to the Beavers, as shown in this social-media post, but resisted committing until he had heard from the UW.
"A lot of schools want you to be a little greedy and want you to commit as soon as possible," West told the Los Angeles Times. "I was feeling the pressure from Boise State. Oregon State was really kind of pushing, saying, 'We want you to commit and if you don't soon, then your spot is going to be taken out.' "
Fellow Husky freshman and 2020 classmate Sam Peacock, an offensive tackle from Gig Harbor, Washington, faced a similar situation and actually committed to Oregon State before ending up at the UW.
Coming to the UW, West understood there was going to be a long line of tight ends and was undaunted by this.
"I know there's going to be a few of us," he said. "I think they'll use me more as a pass-catcher, maybe blocking on the edge. I think my speed and the way I can catch passes in traffic helps me a lot as a tight end."
After an injury-filled spring, West will go to the end of the line once more and try to move up when he can. The former All-Freeway selection will look for the express lane once he's back to navigating Montlake Boulevard.
West's 2021 Outlook: Projected reserve tight end
UW Service Time: None
Individual Honors: Not yet
Pro Prospects: Not yet
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