AUBURN, Ala. — Tre Mason could become the rarest of Heisman Trophy winners tonight.
For most, it’s a life-changing event. From the moment they lift the bronze, stiff-armed trophy, they join an elite fraternity. Almost instantaneously, they become celebrities — that is, if they weren’t already.
It should go without saying that the Heisman winner would forever be known as the most recognizable person in their family.
Mason might be the first exception to that rule.
“Nah, my dad has a lot more experience than me,” said Mason, referring to his father, Vincent, who is a member of the Grammy-winning hip-hop group De La Soul. “He's a legend.”
Mason can continue adding on to his own legacy if he’s able to bring home Auburn’s fourth Heisman Trophy, though. He elevated himself into that group through his consistent — and sometimes spectacular — efforts running the ball this season. After finishing off a 46-carry, 304-yard, four-touchdown performance in the SEC Championship game against Missouri last Saturday, the junior running back had broken a plethora of records. In some areas, he merely extended leads he already held, as his 1,621 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground are both SEC-bests.
For one reason or another, though, it took until the 11th hour for Heisman voters to pay attention to Mason’s accomplishments this season.
It was a conundrum that flummoxed C.J. Uzomah.
“I heard someone say, ‘Tre Mason, darkhorse for Heisman,’ and I was thinking to myself, ‘How could he be a darkhorse?’” the junior tight end said. “He’s led our team this far — and obviously those other components — in our wins. But we (ask a lot) from him for the majority of our games. He always delivers. He always shows up. He’s always ready to play. And to have 20-plus touchdowns or something like that and 1,500(-plus) yards, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be in New York.”
Gus Malzahn felt the same way.
“You're looking at one of the top running backs in college football, and he proved it again (versus Missouri),” Auburn’s coach said. So usually, the best players on the best teams have a chance at it, and you're looking at one of those guys right here.”
Many seem to think his achievements will mean little on Saturday, given that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is expected to win in a landslide.
All the same, Malson felt just being one of the six finalists for the most sought-after award in college football was an honor in itself.
“You've got to give thanks to the Lord, because without Him none of this would be possible. I worked hard,” he said. “It was a dream of mine coming up as a kid. It's just a blessing to be in (this) conversation.”