Auburn University Tigers
Palm Beach, Florida
Park Vista High School
After finishing at the bottom of the Southeastern Conference standings in 2012, the Auburn Tigers listened to "sweet music" on the way to falling one victory shy of capturing the 2013 national championship. The "leader of the band," Tre Mason, actually comes from a musical family, as his father, Vincent, is a member of the hip-hop group "De La Soul."
Vincent's son had Tigers fans dancing in the streets last season, as Tre set the school season-records with 1,816 yards rushing, 2,374 yards in all-purpose yards and 23 touchdown runs to propel the team to a 12-2 record. He was the featured ball carrier on a squad that produced four players with at least 600 yards rushing, including two that went over the 1,000-yard mark.
Mason's all-purpose yardage took over the second spot in the Southeastern Conference's annual record chart. His 23 touchdowns on the ground tied another league mark and his rushing yardage figure is third-best in a campaign by an SEC player. His 317 rushing attempts are good for third on the league annual list and second in the school record coffers. Despite starting only 17 games, he ranks sixth on the Auburn career-record lists with 516 attempts for 2,979 yards, placing fourth with 31 touchdown runs.
Mason recorded one of the finest game performances by a Tiger. His 46 carries vs. Missouri in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championship Game set the school record and rank second on the league game-record list. That output resulted in 304 yards on the ground, the second-highest game total by an Auburn player, taking over the fifth spot on the league game-record list.
Mason has also proven to be invaluable on special teams, ranking sixth in school history with 1,107 yards gained as a kickoff returner. He produced an average of 26.36 yards via those runbacks, third-best by a Tigers performer. Among active NCAA Football Bowl Sub-division performers, he ranks 18th with 2,979 yards on the ground, 19th with 31 rushing touchdowns and 21st with a rushing average of 5.77 yards per attempt.
Before Mason put on an Auburn uniform, he was regarded as a four-star prospect during his senior year at Park Vista High School. He was named the 21st-best running back in the nation by ESPN.com and 29th by Scout.com.
Mason began attracting recruiters during his sophomore year. He rushed for 1,545 yards and 20 touchdowns, earning All-Palm Beach Large School second-team and Florida Sports Writers Association Class 6A All-State honorable mention. By the time his junior season concluded, he was rated among the nation's elite ball carriers.
In 2009, Mason was selected Palm Beach Large School Offensive Player of the Year and earned first-team All-Palm Beach County accolades from the Sun-Sentinel after he gained 1,460 yards and 24 touchdowns rushing. That performance earned him third-team All-State Class 6A classification as an all-purpose athlete.
Mason was named Prep Star All-American as a senior, adding Mobile Press-Register Super Southeast 120 honors, in addition to again being chosen to the All-Palm Beach Large School first-team. He was selected for Florida's North-South All-Star game following his senior season, when he rushed for 1,643 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2010.
Auburn recruiter Curtis Luper got Mason to sign his national letter-of-intent to play for Auburn University on January 26th, 2011, fending off other recruiters from Michigan,
Mississippi, Penn State, Texas A&M and West Virginia, to secure the speedy ball carrier's services. Luper recognized that the Park Vista High product had the top-end speed that can easily allow him to pull away in the open field from most defensive backs.
Mason was also regarded as an excellent receiver coming out of the backfield. But, his forte was the ability to make that one-cut move to explosively navigate past the initial tackler miss and then cutting it back across the grain for big yardage.
Mason wasted no time making an impact at Auburn, rushing for 161 yards on 28 carries while leading the Tigers with 633 yards on 24 kickoff returns in 2011. He took over a more prominent role as a ball carrier entering the 2012 schedule, and became a starter at mid-season. He went on to lead the team with 1,002 yards and eight touchdowns on 171 carries (5.86 ypc) and was the first non-quarterback to lead Auburn in total offense for a season since Bo Jackson in 1985.
That set the stage for Mason to attack more of Jackson's entries in the Auburn record books as a junior. He went on to break Jackson's school season-record on his last carry at Auburn in the BCS title game loss to Florida State, leading the SEC in rushing with 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns on 317 attempts (5.73 ypc). The Heisman Trophy added 163 yards and a score on 12 catches, ranking sixth nationally with an average of 169.57 all-purpose yards per game.
With a pair of exceptional performances to close out his 2013 season (304 yards and four touchdowns on 46 carries vs. Missouri and 34 attempts for 195 yards vs. Florida State), Mason decided leave school before his senior season to enter the 2014 NFL Draft. "After all the thought, talking to family and friends, I talked to my mom and dad, went over it a lot with them," Mason said. "I'm going to declare for the 2014 NFL Draft. I just came in here wanting to be the best. Breaking Bo Jackson's record was a goal of mine from the time the season started, and I believe God blessed me with the opportunity to do that."
Mason appeared in 38 games at Auburn, starting 17 of his final 26 contests…Gained 4,335 all-purpose yards as he accounted for a total of 34 touchdowns, picking up 2,979 yards with 31 touchdowns on 516 carries (5.77 ypc)…Caught 19 passes for 249 yards (13.11 ypc) and a score…Returned 42 kickoffs for 1,107 yards (26.36 avg) and a pair of touchdowns…Also recorded three solo tackles.