Nov. 15, 2011
Liz Mannis, Texas Media Relations
Texas Longhorns sophomore offensive guard Mason Walters has played a pivotal role this season in helping the Longhorns reach No. 2 in the Big-12 and No. 15 nationally for rushing yards per game. His hard work and leadership are not passing without recognition or praise, as he has been named a team captain three times already this season.
“It’s a huge honor to be named a team captain. The University of Texas has been around for a really long time, and I realize there aren’t many sophomores that have had the opportunity to lead the team,” said a humble Walters.
Walters is the only non-senior to be named captain this season. With such a young team, the Longhorns will look to Walters to continue to lead and motivate the team in years to come.
“I feel like this role was there for the taking, and I just know I want to win football games. If that means I need to say a lot, or I don’t need to say anything, I can do whatever it takes,” said Walters.
So far, the progression into a leadership role for Walters has been a seamless one.
“I guess I’ve had to live in it. So I don’t really think it’s been too hard,” Walters said. “Whatever I’ve been able to do, I’ve been able to do naturally.”
The standout offensive lineman grew up playing basketball, before embracing his lineman stature and switching to football.
“I played basketball first. That was my first love for a sport,” Walters said. “But I was always a bigger guy. My dad was big into football, so he presented the opportunity and I stayed with it.”
“I always loved having something to do as a team. So I tried out the first year of Pop Warner football and got into it,” said Walters. “I started hitting people, and I was good at it. I loved it. And I haven’t stopped yet.”
Walters gave up playing organized basketball when he came to college, but every now and then he finds time to play pick up with some of his teammates.
“We’ll get the offensive line together and we’ll go out there and play a pickup game of basketball. Nothing too intense . Obviously we’re not the best of athletes,” laughed Walters. “But we definitely have a good time.”
Walters grew up admiring the athleticism and leadership of former NBA point guard Steve Kerr.
“I looked up to Steve Kerr when I was younger. I don’t think there was ever a person that better defined the word “clutch,” said Walters. “I think that’s what really makes a good player. Somebody that goes into a situation, knows what they need to do, and performs 99% of the time.”
Walters draws inspiration from Kerr’s style of play, using it as a means of accountability for his own personal performance.
“It hurts when you’re thinking about it and you don’t accomplish it, a little bit more than if you weren’t thinking about it,” stated Walters. “Football is my job, so I better do it well. When you make that a conscious part of you, it’s a little more painful when you don’t accomplish it.”
Kerr once said, “Ultimately, being a part of a team means competing, working, living, and winning and losing together.”
Walters understands that he and his teammates must embody the mentality Kerr once spoke of. In order to continue growing and improving, the team must be a team in everything they do.
“If we do what we're supposed to do week in and week out. If we practice well. If we do the little things. If we take care of our bodies and study our opponent, we've got a chance to win football games.”