Mason Fine has those intangibles coaches love, qualities that conjure a flood of football clichés. Smart. Fiercely competitive. Tough. Willing to take a hit. Tenacious. Excels under pressure. A natural leader.
Missing from that list are the measureables coaches desire. He isn’t big, standing 5‑foot‑11 and 190 pounds. He’s quick and mobile but not blindingly fast. He has a strong arm but not a cannon. For those reasons, despite setting Oklahoma high‑school records for passing yards (13,081) and touchdowns (166) and being the only two‑time Gatorade Player of the Year in state history, college recruiters were not interested in Fine. He was dismissed as a two‑star prospect and received only one FBS scholarship offer.
And yet, Fine is a two‑time Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year and this year was tabbed the best quarterback in Texas by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.
Because all Mason Fine does is make plays and win games.
“He’s a football player, pure and simple,” UTEP head coach Dana Dimel said. “If height was a factor, Baker Mayfield wouldn't be the first pick in the NFL draft. Mason’s that type of player.”
Fine accepted the offer from North Texas, a team coming off a 1‑11 season with a new head coach, and the Mean Green’s fortunes turned immediately. UNT went to a bowl game in each of Fine’s first three seasons. By the end of his junior season, Fine had broken the school records for single‑season and career passing yards, touchdowns passes and completions.
Before the end of his junior season, Fine broke North Texas school records for career passing yards, completions, attempts, and most 200- and 300-yard games.
9,952 Career Passing Yards - most in UNT history.
255.2 Career Passing Yards Per Game - most in UNT history
69 Career Passing Touchdowns - second in UNT history
827 Career Completions - most in UNT history
1,310 Career Pass Attempts - most in UNT history
140.2 Career Passing Efficiency - highest in UNT history
63.1 Career Completion Percentage - second in UNT history
14 300-Yard Passing Games - most in UNT history
1,594 Career Total Plays - most in UNT history
North Texas Single-Season Records - passing yards (4,052), touchdowns (31), completions (324) and pass attempts (511) in 2017
“He’s the gun for North Texas, and he's a playmaker. He’s an extremely smart and intelligent football player.”
Southern Miss head coach
“I know his arm talent, accuracy and football mind are all tremendous. I’m ready for him to graduate.”
UAB head coach
“Just when you think you got him, he throws off his back foot and it’s a perfect dime, and you just can't do anything about it.”
Southern Miss linebacker
|1.||Elijah Sindelar, Purdue||4466.0|
|2.||Anthony Gordon, Washington State||4442.0|
|3.||Anthony Russo, Temple||409.0|
|4.||Cole McDonald, Hawaii||399.5|
|5.||Joe Burrow, LSU||374.5|
|6.||Collin Hill, Colorado State||370.5|
|7.||Drew Plitt, Ball State||368.5|
|8.||Alan Bowman, Texas Tech||356.6|
|Jamie Newman, Wake Forest||356.5|
|10.||Jordan Love, Utah State||355.0|
|34.||Mason Fine, North Texas||267.5|
|1.||Mason Fine, North Texas||9,952|
|2.||Ben Hicks, Arkansas||9,322|
|3.||Stephen Calvert, Liberty||8,808|
|4.||Riley Neal, Vanderbilt||7,856|
|5.||Justin Herbert, Oregon||7,622|
|6.||Jake Bentley, South Carolina||7,527|
|7.||Stephen Montez, Colorado||7,509|
|8.||J'Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech||7,097|
|9.||Caleb Evans, Louisiana Monroe||6,995|
|10.||Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma||6,217|
“If he was three inches taller, we’d be talking about Fine as a first round pick.”
“I see a next level football player.”
SOUTHERN MISS HEAD COACH
“He’s a football player, pure and simple. If height was a factor, Baker Mayfield wouldn’t be the first pick in the NFL draft. Mason’s that type of player.”
UTEP HEAD COACH
“Being that little of a quarterback, he’s proven a lot of people wrong.”
LOUISIANA TECH DEFENSIVE TACKLE
“I love his tenacity, I love his competitiveness. Those are the traits you want to see in a quarterback.”
Old Dominion head coach
“You’d love to have him on your team just because he’s a winner.”
UTEP head coach
“He brings the confidence. He has something about him. Those guys are hard to find. You find a lot of players that have great leadership skills. But that player everybody loves, is drawn to and feeds off of, you don’t find many of them.”
North Texas head coach
Mason Fine is about more than football. He is one-quarter Cherokee and grew up in the small northeastern Oklahoma town of Peggs, 25 miles from the seat of the tribal government in the W.W. Keeler Complex near Tahlequah, the capital of the Cherokee Nation.
That heritage is a source of pride for Fine and members of the Nation.
“All through high school, we were extremely proud of Mason and, more importantly, we have so many young people who look up to him and think ‘I can do that.’ It’s very uplifting,” Bill John Baker, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, told the Tulsa World.
Fine was exposed to Cherokee traditions, including the Cherokee language, by his maternal grandmother. Last August, North Texas began selling UNT shirts featuring "UNT" in Cherokee syllabary.
“I’ve done more than I thought I would with the platform that I have,” Fine told the Tulsa World. “I’ve been able to educate people in this platform. I want people to know more about our culture, where I come from and my heritage. It was a platform that I thought I would never have but since I’ve been down here, I’ve had an opportunity to do that and I’ve been proud of that. I’ve been able to spread, inform and educate.
Mason hopes one day to serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
"That's what I want to go into after college, the political field and running for chief one day or studying indigenous law," Fine said. "It's important."
How ‘godsend’ Mason Fine has helped resurrect North Texas’ football program — and pride
by John E. Hoover, Sep. 5, 2019
Fine time at North Texas; QB’s 4th season with Littrell
by Stephen Hawkins, Aug. 29, 2019
Why Mason Fine is the best QB you don’t know
by Alex Scarborough, Aug. 21, 2019
What’s in a Heisman campaign? For North Texas and Mason Fine, everything
by Saad Yousuf, Aug 20, 2019
PFF Rankings: College starting quarterback rankings for 2019
by Cam Mellor, Aug. 13, 2019
The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2019
by Shehan Jeyarajah, July 10, 2019
Ranking all the FBS starting quarterbacks in Texas
by Shehan Jeyarajah, May 9, 2019
Mason Fine gives USC reason to be excited about Graham Harrell’s offense
by J. Brady McCollough, April 2, 2019
Another Very Good ‘Short’ Quarterback Rises From Oklahoma
by Mike Piellucci, Dec. 14, 2018
Watching film with Mason Fine: A peek at how the North Texas quarterback prepares in the film room
by Saad Yousuf, Nov. 14, 2018
The North Texas quarterback shares his story with Jim
radio interview, Oct. 18, 2018
Mason Fine: Once unwanted, now unstoppable at North Texas
by John E. Hoover, Sept. 19, 2018
An intriguing thought – Mason Fine as a Heisman Trophy finalist
by Bill Haisten, Sept. 18, 2018
Upset-Minded Mason Fine Is Ready For An Arkansas Homecoming Of Sorts
by Kolby Paxton, Sept. 13, 2018
G5 Drive: Fearless North Texas QB Mason Fine ready for big stage at Arkansas
by Chris Vannini, Sept. 12, 2018
Born And Bred: Mason Fine
video, Sept. 10, 2018
The 50 most important college players in Texas in 2018 — No. 2: North Texas QB Mason Fine
by Shehan Jeyarajah, Aug. 29, 2018
College Football Countdown: North Texas QB Mason Fine is the Best No. 6 in College Football
by Andrew Doughty, Aug. 18, 2018
Quarterback Mason Fine’s heritage honored with University of North Texas T‑shirts featuring Cherokee syllabary
by Eric Bailey, Aug. 13, 2018
10 things to know about UNT quarterback Mason Fine
by Brett Vito, June 28, 2018
Meet the best QB in Texas: UNT record‑setting passer Mason Fine
by Chris Hummer, May 30, 2018
Tackling Game Day
video, May 6, 2018
New Orleans Bowl: North Texas QB admires Drew Brees for not‑so‑obvious reason
by Christopher Dabe, Dec. 15, 2017
Unlike the rest of the FBS, North Texas took a chance on Mason Fine. It got a sure thing.
by Chris Vannini, Nov. 16. 2017
North Texas Quarterback Mason Fine Is Having Himself A Week
by Kolby Paxton, Oct. 17, 2017
North Texas Riding Mason Fine’s Deep Ball to Historic Start
by Andrew Doughty, Oct. 11, 2017
North Texas Quarterback Mason Fine Continues to Defy Expectations
by Kolby Paxton, Aug. 30, 2017
How Record‑Setting QB with Video‑Game Numbers Finally Landed FBS Offer
by Damon Sayles, Jan. 27, 2016
For credentials, interviews, photos or videos, contact UNT Athletic Communications:
Jordan Stepp, assistant athletic director