The 10 best players on 2014 Cougars: No. 8

ONE OF THE best players on the Cougs was limited this spring – something that tends to render a guy out of sight, out of mind, especially when others in his position group flourish. But there’s just no denying what he did in 2013.

Marcus Mason led the Cougs in rushing with 429 yards (4.9 ypc) this past season. And he was second on the team in receiving (52 receptions).

He was tops in all-purpose yards with 865 hashes.

And he was arguably the best blocking running back the Cougs had last year.

But he got dinged up late in the year and a high-ankle sprain plagued him in the spring. By the time the 15-practice spring session wrapped up, Mike Leach said if the season were to start tomorrow, Theron West and Jamal Morrow would get the lion’s share of the reps coming out of the backfield.

That should make fall camp very interesting.

Assuming Mason will be 100 percent by the first week of August, will he reclaim the top spot, or will Leach and running backs coach Jim Mastro have a three-headed monster at their disposal?

That probably won't be known until the end of August, but the yards and catches from last year speak for themselves. And Mason, according to Mastro, has further improved his flexibility this offseason, he no longer has tight hips.

Mastro told that in 25 years, he's never had a group of five running backs (Mason, West, Morrow, Teondray Caldwell and Gerard Wicks) like this one -- where all five are capable of getting on the field and producing in the same season.

He also said this of Mason: "We know what he can do. So him missing spring hasn't hurt us too much."

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