What a difference one year makes.
Running back Tre Mason was named offensive player of the year and Gus Malzahn the coach of the year in the Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference team only a year after Auburn was the only school to not have a player represented with the honors.
Mason was a unanimous decision at running back while after rushing for an SEC-leading 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns. His record 304-yard, four-touchdown performance in the back-and-forth battle against Missouri in the SEC title game helped sway the decision in his favor to be the best offensive player.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Auburn football club rose from 3-9 and winless in league play to 12-1 and a spot in the final championship game of the BCS era. Much of the credit goes to coach Malzahn who helped build the team back into a contender with a talented coaching staff by his side.
Mason is also among five others as a Heisman finalist. The record-setting junior could become the fourth Auburn player to win the coveted trophy. Other Tigers to win it include: Pat Sullivan 1971, Bo Jackson 1985 and Cam Newton 2010. The winner will be announced Saturday although Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the favorite to win it.
When asked if Mason will return to Auburn for his senior year or declare for the NFL Draft, Mason wasn't sure of his decision yet.
"I'm not sure," Mason said in an ESPN report. "I've been talking to my family, talking to a couple guys that I know that are already there like [Baltimore Ravens safety] Matt Elam and guys like that. I've been discussing those things with them and they said don't worry about it, leave it in God's hands. He's going to make the right decision for you, so I'm just going to let time wind down."
If Mason were to run for 166 yards in the BCS National Championship Game against Florida State, he would surpass Bo Jackson's school record of 1,786 yards. He has already surpassed the school record for touchdowns and all-purpose yards.