Dec. 9, 2013
Auburn's Tre Mason is on the run to the Heisman Trophy announcement in New York (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Heisman Trophy voters discovered Saturday what Auburn and the SEC already knew.
Tre Mason is a special running back.
Mason ran over Missouri at the SEC Championship Game and didn't stop until he was named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy on Monday. The SEC rushing leader is one of six finalists invited to New York for Saturday's announcement of the Heisman winner.
"When I heard the news, I was in disbelief," Mason said. "This has been such a season for our team and we are going to the national championship. For me to be invited to the Heisman ceremony, I am honored and blessed. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates; this is an honor for all of them also."
Mason was invited to the Heisman Trophy announcement along with Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, who he'll meet in the BCS Championship Game in Pasadena on Jan. 8. Also invited to New York were Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who won the award last year; Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron; Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch and Boston College running back Andre Williams.
The six finalists are the most announced by the Heisman Trophy since 1994. The formal Heisman banquet is Dec. 16 in New York.
Auburn already has three Heismans in its trophy case thanks to Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Cam Newton.
Mason's Heisman candidacy took a huge stepped forward when he rushed for 304 yards and four touchdowns on a whopping 46 carries in Auburn's 59-42 win in the SEC title game.
Mason, named Monday as the SEC's offensive player of the year by the Associated Press, leads the league in rushing with 1,621 yards. His 22 rushing touchdowns are an SEC record by a running back. He's also first in the SEC with 2,137 all-purpose yards, the most in school history.
Mason's 1,621 yards is second to only Bo Jackson's 1,786 yards on Auburn's single season rushing list. Mason didn't pad his stats against overmatched teams, either. He rushed for 778 yards and eight touchdowns against four Top 10 teams.
"He's one of the best players in college football," said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn on Sunday.
Mason said Jackson, who was on the sidelines Saturday, helped in the SEC title game.
"At the beginning of the game, he said he was going to have eyes on me like a hawk…making sure I've got the ball tucked in tight and just coached me throughout the game," Mason said. "If you're going to be great, you've got to play great. He kept me motivated throughout the whole game."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine