Pro Football Focus has been rating college football teams and players since 2014, and depending on the number, you can be cheered or maligned. For Kansas State’s Cincere Mason, the latest number is good for him.
It’s easy to see why Mason could rate higher than any defensive back in coverage to start the 2022 season. He’s walked away with an interception in both games against South Dakota and Missouri. In his most recent against Missouri, he explained how he was able to get his second pick of the season.
“I was at the post, the quarterback was looking at me to the left, so I was going over there to participate in another play, he came back and went to the other guy. Julius Brents was also there … at that moment. I realized turn around, I got it, I’m glad Ju didn’t.”
Mason isn’t the only Wildcat to force steals, he was the fourth of four straight series that ended in interceptions at Missouri. Kobe Savage, Daniel Green and Nick Allen also had picks against the Tigers.
Another big element of Mason and his other teammates’ early success on defense is the merit of wanting to carry on the legacy of the K-State defense, while also trying to create their own. Mason said some former players like Reggie Stubblefield, Jahron McPherson and Ross Elder still reach out to talk to them before games.
Mason’s 90.6 coverage rating is only slightly higher than Georgia safety Christopher Smith, who is projected as a late first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.