When his team needed him the most, the next player on our list delivered. In the last five SEC games, he averaged 173.6 rushing yards per contest and scored 13 touchdowns. He propelled his team to the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game and earned himself a trip to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.
No. 2: Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
2013 summary: When it was all said and done, Mason finished the year with 317 carries for 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns, leading the SEC in both yards and touchdowns. His most notable performance came against Missouri in the SEC championship game when he rushed for 304 yards and four touchdowns on a record 46 carries.
Most recent ranking: Not ranked in the 2013 preseason countdown
Making the case for Mason: The Missouri game might have put him on the map nationally as a Heisman contender, but Mason had been doing it all season long and doing against the stiffest of competition. He had 132 yards and two touchdowns on the road at Death Valley against LSU. He racked up 164 yards and a touchdown against Alabama, the SEC’s top rushing defense. And proof that no stage was too big for the 5-foot-10 dynamo, Mason had 195 yards and a touchdown against Florida State in the BCS title game. There were times where it felt like he literally carried Auburn on his back during the season, which is ironic given the durability concerns put on him when he first arrived on campus. Midway through the season, he said he didn’t want to be an underdog anymore. It’s safe to say he no longer has to worry about that. Now, after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons at Auburn, Mason is preparing for the NFL draft and chasing his dream of playing at the next level.