It was an unforgettable sophomore season for Berry Vikings wide receiver Mason Kinsey. The former Habersham Central Raider (’16) broke multiple program records for the Vikings in a breakout season in which Berry went 11-1 on the way to the second round of the NCAA Division-III National Tournament and a Southern Athletic Association Conference Championship. The Vikings were undefeated until their season-ending loss, rising to as high as No. 17 in the national rankings.
“God has blessed me with an awesome support system at home, and I don’t know where I would be without them.” -Mason Kinsey
Kinsey led the way offensively with a video game stat line: 77 receptions, 1,245 yards, 17 TD. YES — 17 touchdowns! He averaged 16.2 yards per catch and nearly 104 yards per game on average on 6.4 catches per game — all program records.
“It took a lot of hard work for this year to come together,” says Kinsey. “I feel like my hard work from not only this year, but all the other [years] finally came together into a season.”
Kinsey is referring to all the previous seasons of hard work that are paying off in a monster way. As a freshman for Berry, he arrived on the scene and produced when he had the opportunity — 9 rec, 101 yds, TD. He worked tirelessly all offseason to ensure he had the chance to do far more in 2017.
Kinsey tied a Berry record with 10 catches in a game — twice! He had five games this season with eight or more receptions. His career game that re-wrote the record book was October 21 at Millsaps, where he hauled in 10 passes for a school-record 228 yards and 4 TD, putting him atop all three single-game records; his efforts earned him D3Football Team of the Week honors. Of the top seven longest Berry College touchdown receptions all-time, Kinsey owns five of them, all of which are 55+ in yardage.
Even while the numbers Kinsey put up this year will be extremely difficult to match next year, he knows that even if those stats aren’t achieved, his game can be taken to still another level.
“I’m really focusing on getting faster and getting a quicker first step,” states Kinsey. “It’s never been hard for me to work hard, because I’ve always had people to prove wrong. A lot of people will call this year a fluke and I want to prove to everyone that I can do this consistently.”
Those who might consider Kinsey’s season a fluke have likely never seen him play. He’s explosive off snap and runs as tight a route as possible, and knows how to finish. From his days as a Raider playing on John Larry Black Field under the Friday night lights, it was evident that he was a physical player with a tireless motor and a desire to win, welcoming a challenge.
“I have to give my family, coaches and teammates all the credit,” says Kinsey. “God has blessed me with an awesome support system at home, and I don’t know where I would be without them.”
Kinsey, as per usual, is quick to give his teammates credit for his success.
“My coaches and teammates trusted me a lot this year to come through and make big plays, and I tried my best to make that happen. Without my QB, Slade Dale, and O-Line, none of it would have been possible. I’m just so thankful man.”
Kinsey now sits at 1,346 receiving yards, which ranks third all-time for the Vikings. He needs 1,491 over the next two seasons to claim the top spot. He’s fourth on the all-time receptions list (86) and third in touchdowns (18).
The Communications major was a standout receiver for Habersham Central from 2012-15, and was a two-time all-region selection, and finished second all-time leading receiver at the time of graduation