SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Mason Jacobson was an 18-year-old graduate of Harrisburg High School. He’d been an offensive tackle on his school football team, and was preparing to play at the collegiate level at Minnesota State University in Mankato.
Mason was killed in a crash about a mile north of Chancellor, S.D. on the evening of August 1, 2022 after the S.D. Department of Public Safety says he failed to stop at an intersection, colliding with another vehicle.
Details of the crash have not been fully revealed as of Thursday, and for those who knew Mason, the details won’t change what was lost.
People remember Mason as someone special; someone they were lucky to have known. That’s how Brandon White, head football coach at Harrisburg, feels.
“I was very fortunate to coach Mason in high school,” White began. “It’s been a true pleasure to meet Mason and watch him develop as a young man — he’s definitely going to be missed.”
White remembers Mason as a raw, gangly type of talent when he came into the football program as a freshman. “You could just see the potential he had when he walked in the door,” he said. “He was so far from growing into himself as a freshman.” He says he saw real growth from Mason through his sophomore year.
“Player-wise, he was as good as they come at right tackle for us,” White said (Harrisburg went 12-0 last year and won the 11AAA State Championship). “Every week we knew what we were going to get out of him — one word that always comes to my mind with his personality and how he played was consistency.”
As well as consistent, White had other descriptors for Mason. Driven, smiley and happy-go-lucky all came up in short succession as the coach worked to paint a picture of the player — the young man — that he knew.
White made it clear that Mason had not reached the height of his potential, going on to describe the start of Mason’s post-high school journey. “He went on a ton of recruiting visits — he was a highly noted offensive lineman for Harrisburg High School, and he chose Mankato — he was gonna do big things there.”
White said he had been looking forward to watching Mason continue to blossom in his college career. “He could grow so much more, and we knew that — without a doubt, he was going to be a starter for Mankato at some point.”
Mason did not just have a large presence on the field. White said the young man brought a contagious sort of positive nature to those around him. “You knew he was going to take you to places that maybe you weren’t ready to be at — and typically that’s a happy place,” he explained. “What I mean by that is having fun in life.”
“A truly great soul.” That’s another way that White found to describe Mason during our conversation. He said he had some awareness of Mason before he made it to high school through camps and seeing him play youth sports. Once he entered his program, White described the way he say Mason grow.
“A lot of it was maturity, you know,” said White. “He wanted to be a perfectionist and he wanted to do everything right. He was asking questions and — a little bit over-the-top in that sense — driven.”
That maturity showed when Mason made mistakes, White said. “He knew he was going to make mistakes, but the maturity level he changed to was ‘I cannot let the same mistake happen again.’ — was he distraught sometimes because he made a mistake — absolutely,” White said “but he knew it was a growing opportunity.”
Many never got the chance to meet Mason. White feels sorry for them.
“He was one of the only kids that would stop by,” White remembered. “[He’d] make sure to say hi, or ask how your day was going. You know, you’d ask him all the time and he’d give a few short answers — but he was always interested or wanted to know how your day was going — and see if he could make an impact on your day.”
Leaving off, White asks for people to continue praying for Mason’s family and friends, “not just today, not just this week — now, six months out, nine months out, a year out, and continue to give them strength.”