Note: The following appears in the Georgia Tech football gameday program.
Defensive end Justin Mascoll has been a part of the Clemson football program for six seasons, allowing him to grow his love and knowledge of the game. Being with the program for an extended period of time, Mascoll has proven to be an asset to the defensive line. The veteran developed his passion for football at a young age, when he watched his older brother on the gridiron.
“My older brother played quarterback at App State. Growing up, he was the first person I saw put on pads and a helmet. He is one of the reasons I decided to play football, and it turned out that I loved playing the sport.”
Mascoll spent his younger years in Snellville, Ga., where he attended South Gwinnett High School playing under Head Coach Steve Davenport. Throughout his prep career, he earned many accolades, as top college football programs heavily recruited him. ESPN ranked him as the No. 12 defensive end in the nation and the No. 16 overall player in Georgia. After closing out his high school career, he decided to take the next steps in his football career at Clemson.
“For me, it was the family feel, the structure and the ‘Best is the Standard’ mindset that made me come to Clemson. Coach (Dabo) Swinney, Coach ‘Ski’ (Lemanski Hall) and the staff did a great job reassuring me of what they wanted me to be, both on and off the field.”
Over the course of his Clemson career, Mascoll has been satisfied with his decision to come to Clemson, as he has made strong connections within the program. He has built great relationships with several of his coaches and teammates, but he has developed an especially strong bond with Hall, Mascoll’s position coach.
“We had some bumps and bruises in our relationship, but I believe it ultimately made us closer. I appreciate him pouring into me every day, trying to make me a better leader.”
Mascoll totaled 86 tackles, nine tackles for loss two sacks, four pass breakups and a recovered fumble in 1,131 career snaps over 53 games (13 starts) in his first five seasons in Tigertown. During the Miami (Fla.) game in October, he joined a select group of Tigers, as he became the sixth player in program history to reach the 60-game mark.
“On the field, I strive to have energy and let every guy know that I am playing for them. I try to lead by example, and I believe you can do that in a lot of ways, both on and off the field.”
His on-field presence has proven to make him a successful leader to the young defensive linemen at Clemson. As a redshirt in 2018, the year the Tigers won the national title, Mascoll learned to grow his patience, which is a lesson he has shared with the young defensive players.
“One of the things I have learned is being patient with myself and knowing that I will always have opportunities to grow. I have learned to take advantage of those opportunities to get better. The younger guys come in, and I tell them to be patient and bet on themselves. They are always growing, and they need to make the most of every opportunity they get to do that.”
While Mascoll has become a veteran leader on the team, he credited his development as both an individual and football player to the coaches, staff and teammates he has had along the way. With his individual growth, Mascoll has also expressed that he has seen growth in the defensive unit as a whole.
“I have played with a lot of great guys, like that defensive line we had in 2018. Xavier Thomas and I have been there, and we know how to communicate to the younger guys. As a defense, we have grown to love each other and play for one another.”
Being as successful as he is, Mascoll looks forward to what is to come in his football career after his final college year. However, he is staying the course and focusing on the present as he finishes his sixth and final season as a Tiger.
“I am excited for life post-Clemson, but I have been so focused about right now and finishing the season. I see myself being very successful, playing in the NFL for however many years God is willing to bless me with that. After football, I see myself being a successful businessman, either going corporate or working for law enforcement one day.”
As Mascoll stays the course, it is evident that he will have future success.