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Auburn running back, Heisman finalist Tre Mason declares for NFL draft

Tre Mason racked up 237 total yards and two touchdowns on Florida State in the BCS title game. Tre Mason rolled up 237 total yards and scored two TDs against Florida State in the BCS title game. (Robert Beck/SI)

Tre Mason just capped off a season in which he was an out-of-nowhere Heisman finalist and rushed for a combined 499 yards in the SEC championship and the BCS Championship. And at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, he declared for the 2014 NFL draft. The Auburn running back said he received a third-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Board.

Mason rushed for 1,816 yards and 23 touchdowns this season, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. Despite his compact 5-foot-10 build, he was consistently able to pick up tough yards. He also showed a surprising ability to zip around the field once he got to the second level. As Grantland's Holly Anderson said about the junior after the Tigers' 34-31 loss to Florida State on Monday:

Last seen recording 304 ground yards versus Missouri in the SEC championship game, Mason lists at 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds, and cannot be a carbon-based life form. No human flesh could be so light, and yet run with such force; we must conclude that Mason is constructed of some sort of heretofore undiscovered cosmic rock and should be studied by astronomers. Go back over his film this season and watch. Even when he's not breaking out for 11 yards or more, which he does QUITE OFTEN, Mason takes a handoff or catches a quick pass and disappears into a tesseract. You can just make out a faint shimmer, and by the time you uncross your eyes, the chains have moved.
Selfishly I'm sad to see Mason go, as I was really excited to see what he could do in Gus Malzahn's offense in Year 2. He immediately joins a crop of very good collegiate running backs in this year's draft class, including Washington's Bishop Sankey, Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, Ohio State's Carlos Hyde, Missouri's Henry Josey, UCF's Storm Johnson and Baylor's Lache Seastrunk.
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