- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Racean Thomas’s senior year keeps getting better.

The Oxford High School running back was named Alabama’s Mr. Football on Wednesday by the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Before that, the Auburn commitment watched the Tigers make it all the way to the national championship game in a huge turnaround after a dismal 2012 season.

Then, Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason announced he was leaving early to enter the NFL draft, giving Thomas a better opportunity to compete for early carries with players like returnees Cameron Artis-Payne and Corey Grant.

“I’ve seen that they run pretty much the same offense that we run at my high school,” Thomas said. “I think I’ll fit in great and I think I’ll pretty much play the same role that Tre Mason is.”

The three-time first-team all-state performer ran for 2,211 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior despite battling injuries. A five-star prospect rated one of the nation’s top high school running backs, Thomas rushed for 6,169 yards and 82 touchdowns in his career.

When the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Thomas committed to the Tigers last August, they were coming off a 3-9 season where the offense sputtered in spite of Mason. He feels vindicated by Auburn’s first season under coach Gus Malzahn, which ended with a 12-2 record and BCS championship game loss to Florida State.

“That was great,” Thomas said. “Everybody doubted me. It was like, ‘Why are you choosing Auburn right now? They had a terrible season, a terrible staff.’ Stuff like that. It’s good because I can pretty much rub it in everybody’s face now because they went all the way to the championship. It’s great.”

Thomas said he’s making an official visit to Auburn this weekend and doesn’t have trips to other schools scheduled before national signing day, Feb. 5.

Thomas received 217 points and 15 of the 17 first-place votes. Calera High quarterback Ronnie Clark finished second with 130 points, followed by Auburn High linebacker Rashaan Evans (122) and Florence quarterback Kendrick Doss (110).

Clark is committed to Alabama as an athlete and Doss to Mississippi. Evans is one of the top uncommitted prospects in Alabama.

They’re joined on the ASWA Super 12 team by St. Paul’s linebacker Tre Williams, Pickens County running back Jermarcus Brown, Shades Valley running back Keith Mixon, Spanish Fort quarterback Tyler Johnston, Pinson Valley running back Nick Gibson, Homewood offensive lineman Jordan Sims, Southside-Gadsden running back Dantley Coker and Carver-Montgomery linebacker Shaun Hamilton.

The ASWA also named backs and linemen of the year for each classification at Wednesday’s luncheon, which was presented by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association.

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