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May 26, 2012

Mahon headed to Challenge without hype

MORE: Five-Star Challenge | Underclassmen Challenge

Dallas Jackson is the National High School Sports Analyst for Rivals. Email him your questions and comments at DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Brendan Mahon knows that his participation in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge will put a lot of eyes on him as an individual.

It is not that he is uncomfortable in the spotlight. Rather, he just prefers to receive quiet congratulations.

"I think that being a good offensive lineman means you have to be completely unselfish," he said. "All I care about is blocking for my running back and keeping my quarterback off the ground.

"I might never get my name mentioned in the newspaper that way but when we watch film those guys see the effort I am putting in and the show me that the appreciate it."

Even with an invisible ego, the 6-foot-5, 315-pound player from Randolph (N.J.) High was easy to spot by many colleges and recruiting analysts. He is ranked as the No. 21 player at his position and No. 190 in the nation overall, and has been committed to Penn State since mid-March.

Heading to Atlanta's Lakewood Stadium from June 22-24 to be involved in the invitation-only event will be a chance for Mahon to represent himself.

"I can showcase my ability down there," he said. "Honestly I am happy to be rated where I am and to have the opportunities I do, at least someone noticed me.

"But when I get there I know that if I lose I will get upset and I will come back harder the next rep."

The opportunity to even play football was limited for Mahon. As one of the biggest kids of his age group he was not able to play in youth leagues and was forced to play soccer until he was a freshman in high school.

"I mean I guess it helped me with my footwork," he said. "But really, imagine a 200-some-pound kid running at you in sixth grade. It wasn't pretty."

It was the delay in his introduction to the sport that Mahon now credits for his fire to play.

"I see kids now that are my age but burnt out on football," he said. "For me I am still new to the game and really appreciate everything about it."

For Mahon his everything includes respecting the history of the game, the other players and himself.

"I am like most offensive linemen in that way, though," he said. "I am a big softie off the field but when I am on it you better get out of my way or I am going to move you out of my way.

"I don't talk much at all, even at camps and stuff I have a lot of respect for what it takes to get onto the field and so every rep I know everyone is doing their best."

As one of the top players in the country he also knows that doing his best at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge is a must.

"Getting this opportunity is amazing," Mahon said. "But it will be a lot different from camps here or in Massachusetts or Connecticut.

"There are a lot of good players in my area, but this will be all great players so I have to come to compete."

Mike Farrell's take

Mahon is a big, physical lineman who is hungry to prove that he can hang with the best and loves to compete. He's a blue-collar kid who is at his best when he is aggressive off the snap and initiates contact. One thing about him is that if he gets beaten, he will come back with even more determination and a nasty streak, and he is a quick learner. Athletically he isn't at the top of the charts for offensive linemen, but in tight quarters he is very good and if he gets his hands on a speed rusher he will slow him down.



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