Bert Mayo had never played a down of football until two years ago, when he stepped on a practice field at Avalon and was immediately accepted because of his size. But even at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, Mayo couldn’t hide from his inexperience.
“Everyone was just shocked,” Mayo said. “They were like, “This guy’s big. He’s probably a good player, and all that.'”
But Mayo had to prove himself. After a strong junior season in 2012, in which he saw unprecedented exposure come to Avalon through high level recruits in Rachid Ibrahim and Jacquille Veii, Mayo started to believe that he could follow the same track. He’s slimmed down now (Mayo is currently about 230 pounds, thanks to a strong devotion to Avalon’s basketball workouts this summer), but is nonetheless one of the more promising defensive line prospects in Montgomery County this fall.
Mayo currently has no offers on the table, but has attracted serious interest from Maryland, Iowa, Syracuse and Old Dominion, among a slew of other schools, and believes he will have a surge of offers with a strong showing this fall.
“I have to prove more on the field,” Mayo said. “Wherever the coach can put me on the field, I’ll play it.”
Avalon will likely have fewer than 30 players on its roster this season, but the Black Knights reached new heights last year after Ibrahim (Pittsburgh) and Veii (Maryland) earned national recruiting exposure. In addition, the school also boasted highly touted rising junior lineman Adam McLean, who transferred to Friendship Collegiate and then Quince Orchard this winter.
Mayo, despite just having two full seasons of football under his belt, is left to pick up the slack. Although he’s still learning how to play the game, Avalon coach Tad Shields believes it’ Mayo’s s natural attributes — his hands and feet — that also make him a natural prospect.
“He’s got good size. He’s athletic, he’s a basketball player,” Shields said. “Ibrahim and Veii) were skill position players…they’re different type of players all together. Bert is a lineman.”
Mayo averaged eight points per game on the basketball court for Avalon last year, and he he plans to play as a senior even though he admits that most of his future is based on football. On the gridiron, he feels most natural at defensive end — but he will use his length and speed to help out at tight end next season as well. Both Ibrahim (1,760 yards rushing, 19 touchdowns) and Veii (10 total touchdowns) had standout senior seasons en route to college scholarships, and Mayo has designs on doing the same.
“It was amazing. I was just thinking about what if I put myself in their shoes,” Mayo said. “That’s all I could I think about. I was proud of them. My future could be like that too.”
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