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Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - Page updated at 08:00 p.m.
King's Mason Friedline turns down Pac-12 football for Yale
By SANDY Ringer
Seattle Times staff reporter
The big, happy kid got hopping mad.
As much as Mason Friedline ever does, anyway.
It was at a summer football camp in 2010 when the mild-mannered Friedline got fed up with an offensive lineman persistently holding him.
"That's the angriest I've ever seen him," said King's quarterback Billy Green said, who rarely sees his teammate in a bad mood and describes him as "a big happy kid".
Friedline's response to the holds?
"I tossed him, went after his running back and leveled him," Friedline said with a smile splashed across his freckled face.
Now a 6-foot-5, 280-pound senior, Friedline is considered one of the top linemen in the state, with scholarship offers from around the Pac-12 — including Washington and Washington State — and other BCS schools.
But Friedline is as much about brains as brawn, maybe more so. He carries a 3.85 grade average, scored 1,900 on the SAT, 28 on the ACT and enjoys reading biographies.
When he decided to make his college commitment this month, he shocked many by choosing Yale.
"It's just an amazing opportunity for me," Friedline said. "Obviously, I'm a little more than just football. Not even just the academics, but just the social opportunities at Yale. There are so many great connections I can make ... Yale just fits me."
Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for the CBS Sports Network, ranked Friedline as one of only two four-star offensive linemen in Washington.
"I give him a lot of credit," Lemming said. "Washington and Washington State are tough schools to turn down. But taking an Ivy League education, no one could (blame) you for that. Obviously, the football level isn't as good as the Pac-12, but the education is second to none."
Friedline started at center as a sophomore for the Knights and moved to strongside tackle late last year as the private school in Shoreline made a run to the Class 1A state quarterfinals for the third straight year. Lemming said he is not only smart, but technically sound with quick hands and feet.
"He could have played (center) for just about anybody on the West Coast," he said. "Normally, guys like that wind up going to a big-time program, they don't go to the Ivy League. Football becomes a little more important than the education. ... It's Yale's biggest catch in years. They don't normally get four-star players."
Friedline said he was chubby as a boy, when baseball was his favorite sport and he dreamed of playing in the pros. He didn't take up football until seventh grade and soon realized it might offer a brighter future. Knee trouble cost him his freshman season at King's, but he came to every practice and stuck with the team as a video guy.
"He really showed me his true character that year," coach Jim Shapiro said.
Now Friedline is down to his final high-school snaps and is intent on leading the Knights past that quarterfinal round.
"We want to break that barn door down," he said.
Sandy Ringer: 206-718-1512 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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