Auburn running back Tre Mason's unlikely run to Heisman Trophy finalist status came on the strength of a fantastic November stretch in which he rushed for 100-plus yards in consecutive weeks against SEC foes Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. After capping the year with an SEC championship game record 304 yards against Missouri last weekend, Mason's NFL draft stock would figure to be climbing fast.
But is it?
This from an NFC general manager who spoke with NFL.com's Albert Breer: "He's a solid runner, but my gut is the offense is really the engine that drives the production."
Mason has rushed for 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns for the Tigers this season.
Mason first learned Malzahn's zone read-option offense as a freshman in 2011, when Malzahn was Gene Chizik's offensive coordinator. NFL scouts that want to see Mason in action in a more traditional offense need only turn on film of his sophomore year in 2012, when he managed 1,002 yards for a hapless team that failed to win an SEC game. As well, the 2012 Auburn team was terribly ineffective passing the ball, which led to Mason facing more eight-man defensive fronts.
Malzahn had moved on to Arkansas State as head coach last year, hence the change in Auburn's offense, but Mason flourished upon Malzahn's return as Auburn's head coach this year.
"Good speed, balance, burst and vision," a college scouting director told Breer, but he "lacks size."
Mason, a junior, is listed at 5-10, 205.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.