In a move that was surprising to no one, former LSU cornerback and Heisman finalist Tyrann “The Honey Badger” Mathieu has elected to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
The news was first reported by ESPN.com’s Joe Schad.
Mathieu came to national fame over the past few years for both his dramatic play on the field, and tumultuous time off of it.
On it, Mathieu was simply the best playmaker on a club filled with them at LSU. He served in 2010 as a back-up to future All-Americans Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne, but even in that role had a knack for making game-changing plays. In the final game of the 2010 season, Mathieu was named the Defensive MVP of the Cotton Bowl in LSU’s 41-24 victory over Texas A&M.
And his strong play only extended from the postseason into the following year.
In 2011 Mathieu burst on the scene nationally in a year where he seemingly made a big, game-changing play every week. There was a special teams play that swung the Oregon game, a strip and near score to open up the Tigers’ win against West Virginia and punt returns in back-to-back weeks to help seal victories against Arkansas and Georgia in the SEC Championship Game. In the process, Mathieu was named one of the five Heisman finalists and earned a trip to New York.
Unfortunately, Mathieu couldn’t keep himself out of the headlines off the field as well.
He was suspended for a game during that 2011 season that may have cost him the Heisman and was eventually kicked off LSU’s team prior to the 2012 season for undisclosed reasons that were believed to have involved failed drug tests. Still, he decided to stay at LSU as a non-athlete in 2012, one which may have cost him when he was arrested a few weeks back with three of his former LSU teammates for drug possession.
Now Mathieu enters an uncertain future, where his once promising pro prospects are now a thing of the past.
Following his 2011 Heisman campaign many projected Mathieu as a late first round draft pick, but that stock took a major hit when he was suspended for the entire 2012 season. It was only further damaged when Mathieu elected not to play football at all in 2012 (he could’ve gone to an FCS school and been eligible immediately) and may have been irreparably harmed when he was arrested a few weeks ago. Now a guy with first round buzz will very likely go undrafted.
And that’s the thing with Mathieu: It’s impossible to gauge where he’ll end up. His off the field problems are well documented and he hasn’t played football in a year, meaning that NFL evaluators basically have one season’s worth of games to go off of, and have to figure out how a year away from the sport has impacted him physically and mentally.
For Mathieu, the next last few months have definitely been up and down. The next few months look like they’ll be much the same way.
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