Round number four of our preview series brings us to the wide receiver room and Mason Starling. Starling is a big body receiver that gives the Golden Bears another 50/50 ball threat in addition to J.Michael Sturdivant, Tommy Christakos, and Jeremiah Hunter.
The Bio and Measurements:
6 foot 4 inches
College of San Mateo (via Tacoma, WA and Rainer Beach HS)
What does Starling bring to the table?
Mason Starling is a big body receiver who played on the outside for CSM, catching passes from Utah PWO QB Luke Bottari, in one of the more dynamic duos in California JUCO football. Under the guidance of highly respected coach Tim Tulloch, Starling has been able to embrace his big body feel on routes such as fades, deep crosses, and slants. Starling does a good job at times of turning his hips on routes and contorting his body to make contested catches, especially in the case of a fake slant turned fade into the endzone at the 44 second mark here. I think Starling has a solid release and ability to make adjustments on the fly when the ball is in the air, but I have reservations about how he can get in position for these adjustments and catches. Early reports from spring practice have come back positive for him so it looks like Burl Toler III has already gotten some things instilled for him to take some of the next steps.
What can Starling improve on?
When I see Starling, I see a bit of Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Juwan Johnson in him, big body receivers who use their height and weight to their advantage as a mask for sometimes not as sharp route running. Outside of his frame, I don’t see breathtaking speed or agility, but rather more of a football IQ that gets him in position to make plays, like Kenny Lawler did. Starling seems to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time, and that will serve him well as he gets bigger ans faster throughout his Cal tenure. It is quite clear that he is improving in this aspect, as fluidity within regards to hip movement and rotations are critical for receivers and secondary players alike. Will he crack the receiver rotation this year? Honestly I wish I could tell you because I have no idea how the snaps are going to be split this year but Starling is going to have a big chance across Spring and Fall to earn snaps. He’s reportedly off to a good start already courtesy of our Rob Hwang who has been taking notes for spring practices (you should subscribe to see those, it is great content and good perspective in looking towards the future) so hopefully he can keep it up.
Mason’s HUDL is here: https://www.hudl.com/video/3/5362980/61426a56ff02080a002c9e4f
Best of luck to Mason as he starts his Cal career!