Tre Mason, running back for the Auburn Tigers, came up short in the Heisman Trophy voting for 2013. However, Mason came a long way in a short amount of time, and his sixth-place finish bodes well for his chances to win college football’s most prestigious award next season.
At the midway point of the season, if someone had said that Mason would be a Heisman Trophy finalist, most people would have been trying to figure out just exactly who Mason was. His first half of the season was solid, not spectacular, and his team was just breaking into the Top 25.
In the second half of 2013, both Mason and the Tigers exploded. As a team, Auburn shot up the rankings after winning on the road against the Texas A&M Aggies. Mason’s stock rose as he continued to pile up big numbers against Southeastern Conference opponents.
Then came Mason’s last two efforts. He racked up 164 yards in the Tigers’ upset win over the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide before breaking the SEC Championship Game record with 304 rushing yards against the Missouri Tigers. Over the last five games of the season, Mason rushed for 868 total yards, or 173.6 yards per game.
Should Mason return next season, he will be among the candidates prominently mentioned for the 2014 Heisman. Of course, everyone will be chasing this season’s winner, Jameis Winston of the Florida State Seminoles. But, as has been proven time and again, it’s tough to repeat as a Heisman winner (just ask Johnny Manziel), which could open the door for Mason to become Auburn’s latest Heisman winner.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.