Senior signs his letter of intent in Feb.8 ceremony –
By Mark Carpenter –
The determination and grit that fueled Manchester senior Mason Bilyeu through his career as a Greyhound football player will now take him to the next level. Bilyeu, who came back to the Hounds after missing his entire junior season with a freak injury, will continue his gridiron career as a member of the Mount St. Joseph University Lions. The versatile senior athlete made that official on Feb. 8, signing his letter of intent in ceremonies held at MHS.
“After football season, I put together a highlight tape and posted it online,” said Bilyeu. “Some different colleges contacted me, but then I sent some more stuff out and the Mount contacted me almost immediately. I visited Muskingum, Capital, and the Mount, and it seemed like MSJ was going to be the best fit. They had good people, good coaches, and it is close to home.”
“The class sizes seemed to be really small and it was jut really nice up there.”
“I’m not exactly sure where they will have me playing yet, offense or defense, but their linebackers coach really wants me to play linebacker. I’ve got a good shot at some playing time if I hit the weights and work hard right off the bat.”
It is somewhat of a miracle that Bilyeu even got to his senior season with the Greyhounds. Between his sophomore and junior years, while on a vacation tot he ocean and doing some skimboarding, suffered a horrific ankle injury, one which was caught on video and not pleasant to view. After one doctor hinted that his football career may be over, Bilyeu sought out a second opinion and ended up having surgery that inserted a plate and nine screws into his shattered ankle, and after a tough rehabilitation period and intense therapy, he returned to the Greyhound starting lineup for his senior season, showing his versatility by playing wide receiver, running back, linebacker, cornerback, and defensive end at various times. That is the type of player who will garner attention from coaches at the next level.
Because of NCAA regulations, the coaches at the Division III Mount are not permitted to comment on potential recruits, but Manchester head football coach Dustin Cook talked to The Defender about Bilyeu and his role in the program.
“For Mason, today’s signing is a testament to how far he has come as a high school football player,” said Cook. “Even as a freshman, we had high expectations for Mason and he saw significant minutes on both sides of the ball. He continued to progress throughout his career and for him to be able to come back after his injury really shows the kind of character and work ethic that he has. I think those are all things that will translate really well for him into the college game, he will be extremely prepared.”
“I’m just extremely excited for him to have this opportunity.”
On the academic side, Bilyeu will have a jump start as his post-secondary classes for the past two years will earn him an Associate’s Degree before he ever steps foot in a classroom in Delhi. At this point, he is still undecided about his academic path at the Mount, but he is leaning towards something in the Business field.