Valley Preps

Update: Columbus' Essang Bassey, Ja'Quan Mason sign


Columbus High School football coach Phil Marino says Southeastern Conference schools such as Alabama, Georgia and Auburn made a mistake by not recruiting Essang Bassey.

"He is a terrific athlete and terrific person. Since he arrived here, he has been our best player on the field,"  Marino said of Bassey, who signed with Wake Forest on Wednesday choosing the Division 1 school over offers from Tulane, Army and Air Force.

Another senior signing from the team that went 7-4 was Ja'Quan Mason, who is going to Point University.

"I am excited about going to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It doesn't get much better," Bassey said.

Bassey feels he will get a chance to play early at defensive back at Wake Forest. Mason feels the same about his playing time at linebacker at Point.

Bassey was the Ledger-Enquirer All-Bi-City Athlete of the Year this season, having strong campaigns on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. He rushed for over 500 yards, had nearly 600 yards receiving, recorded 50 tackles, an interception and three fumble recoveries on defense.

Of signing day, Mason said, "we had a great season and this is the icing on the cake."