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CFL Spotlight: Mason Fine, Saskatchewan Roughriders’ New Starting Quarterback

Born on April 19, 1997, Mason Fine has carved a distinguished path through American football, culminating in his current position as the starting quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League (CFL). But it’s not just Fine’s professional and collegiate performance that piques our interest; it’s his remarkable journey from a young Oklahoma boy with a dream to an inspiring quarterback on an international stage.

Raised in Peggs, Oklahoma, Fine is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, holding one-quarter Cherokee heritage. His commitment to the game was evident from his pre-teen years when he attended a quarterback camp at the University of Oklahoma. The dedication and attention to detail he demonstrated, analyzing former Oklahoma star quarterback Josh Heupel’s throwing techniques, set the groundwork for his future career.

His high school football journey began at Locust Grove High School in 2012. While his smaller physique raised questions about his viability as a quarterback, his coach, Matt Hennesy, saw potential in Fine’s passing ability.

Despite starting as a wide receiver, Fine threw for over 600 yards in his freshman year through a series of trick plays designed to showcase his throwing skills. He went on to set Oklahoma high school records for passing yards and touchdowns, securing the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year award twice.

College recruiters initially overlooked Fine due to his size, and he completed his senior high school season without a scholarship offer. His break came with the arrival of Seth Littrell as the head coach at North Texas. Littrell, familiar with Fine’s high school achievements, offered him a scholarship despite his lack of stature. Fine signed a National Letter of Intent with North Texas in February 2016, marking his entry into the world of college football.

At North Texas, Fine’s performance continued to defy critics’ expectations. He began his college career by setting a new school record for the longest play from scrimmage with an 80-yard touchdown run. Over the next two years, he led the Mean Green to nine victories per season, throwing a total of 7,845 yards and 58 touchdowns, securing back-to-back Conference USA (CUSA) Offensive Player of the Year awards.

Despite his sterling performance, Fine went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. His resilience was rewarded when the Chicago Bears offered him a tryout in August 2020. However, his path would eventually lead him north, to the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, whom he signed with on December 30, 2020.

In the CFL, Fine initially served as a backup quarterback to Cody Fajardo. His starting opportunity came towards the end of the 2022 season when he was named the Roughriders’ starting quarterback. Although the Roughriders were defeated in Fine’s first CFL start, he showcased his potential by completing 18 of 28 pass attempts for 196 yards and a touchdown.

Fine’s 2022 CFL statistics reflect his growing command over the game. In 17 games, including two starts, he completed 67 of 102 pass attempts, amassing 690 yards with three touchdowns. With a completion percentage of 65.7% and an average of 6.8 yards per attempt, Fine demonstrates his steady growth in the league.

Despite early criticisms about his size and an unconventional route to professional football, Mason Fine remains a player to watch. As he gears up to lead the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 2023 season, his story serves as a powerful reminder of the rewards of determination, hard work, and resilience in the face of adversity.

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Mark Perry Editor
Mark Perry is the founder and editor of CFL News Hub. A dedicated and experienced football analyst, he has been providing comprehensive coverage of the sport since 2018.
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