As Mason Cole’s stature grew as a player, so too did his hair.
For the past two years, the East Lake left tackle has sported a helmet-defying hairstyle with his locks long enough to pull back into a ponytail.
On Sunday, the flowing mane was gone, reduced to a simple, short cut. The first thing to go was the ponytail, which Cole posed with for pictures.
“I feel a lot lighter,” said the 6-foot-5, 280-pounder. “I think I can run the same 40 time as (Eagles receiver and fellow Michigan recruit) George Campbell.”
Football players generally have a hard time expressing their personal style on the field. Unlike other sports, those on the gridiron are covered head to toe in protective gear, including a giant, plastic dome on their heads that all but erases individuality.
But Cole did not grow out his hair to advance his persona. Instead, he did it with the understanding he would eventually chop off his hair and donate it to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to children with long-term medical conditions.
Cole initially planned to lop off his locks at the start of playoffs, but was encouraged to wait by East Lake coach Bob Hudson, who is known for his superstitions. The Eagles went undefeated in the regular season and advanced to the state semifinals for the first time.
After East Lake’s season ended in Friday’s 31-24 overtime loss to nationally-ranked Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, Cole decided it was time to say so long to his long hair.
After his haircut , Cole put the ponytail into an envelope and mailed it as part of his donation.
“It was time,” said Cole, who will be attending Michigan in January. “It was starting to get a little too wild. It’s nice to go back to having short hair and start a new chapter in my life.”