Marcus Mason had a huge season last year for WSU catching balls at running back (F), but finds himself in stiff competition this year to get reps at the position. Let's get to know him a little better before the season begins.
Name - Marcus Mason
Position - Running Back
Year - Senior
Height/weight - 5'9", 187 lbs.
Hometown - Etiwanda, CA
Things to know
1. Unheralded recruit - Like so many recruits brought in during the Paul Wulff era, Mason was an unheralded 2-star recruit out of Etiwanda High School. Neither Scout nor Rivals list him as having any other offers outside of WSU.
2. Immediate returns - He saw significant action on special teams as a true freshman once he arrived at WSU. He was WSU's second leading kick returner for the 2011 season with 13 kickoff returns for a total of 260 yards averaging an even 20 yards per return.
3. Limited action - Mason saw limited action behind Carl Winston, Teondray Caldwell, and Leon Brooks his sophomore season in 2012. His role as a kickoff returner was also cutback significantly to five returns.
4. Breakout season - Mason emerged as a key player in 2013 making 11 starts at the running back position and being named a team captain for five games. Limited to three kickoff returns for 46 yards, Mason still led the team in all-purpose yards. He had 87 carries for a total of 429 yards (4.9 average). His biggest contribution came from catching the ball out of the "F" slot, the letter assigned to the running back position in Leach's Air Raid system. Mason had 52 catches for a total of 390 yards (7.9 avg.). If you want to read about how important the F was to the Cougs offensive attack in 2013, you can read this piece from our own Brian Anderson who did absolute yeoman's work in breaking down the production from the skill positions last year. The number of touches and yards from the F increased dramatically in 2013 from 2012. Mason's improvement received headlines here and here that you can read about if you are interested.
5. No guarantees in 2014 - Many might assume after the season Mason had in 2013 that he would easily sit atop the WSU depth chart in 2014. But that's not the case. Mason was listed as WSU's No. 1 running back in the spring depth chart with Theron West. Mason seemed to have a big spring. However, by the end of spring Leach said that West and Jamal Morrow held a slight edge at the running back position. Teondray Caldwell is also in the mix. Call it a hunch, but I think Mason with his pass receiving abilities will see more reps at running back than anybody else, but he will definitely be sharing the role.