This last year in college football brought a lot of excitement and with that excitement Tyrann Mathieu, affectionately known as honey badger, emerged. For the first time in over a decade a defensive player was being considered for the Heisman trophy, but he wasn’t just being considered he had a chance to win it. Not since Desmond Howards’ Heisman pose against Ohio State had a defensive player garnered so much attention for the trophy and things seemed to be looking up for Mathieu, that was until LSU dismissed the star cornerback.
What went wrong at LSU
It’s hard to know what went wrong, because Les Miles isn’t saying much about it, but it appears that Mathieu made a mistake that cost him. Each and every time this happens I always wonder what makes a kid with such promise and such talent make a mistake like this and waste the talent he was given. Yes, he could go to another school and he will still be drafted by the NFL, but he was a sure first round pick if he continued his play at LSU and had a real chance at winning the Heisman. Each time this happens it is easy for us as fans to blame the school and ask why they didn’t do enough, but when it gets right down to it, it’s the athlete’s choice. While I am sure Les Miles did not want to let the young man go, he did the right thing, because after all life is more important than football. The fact that LSU is willing to help and support him every step of the way is a good thing. I have seen in the case of Maurice Clarett how a player with such talent can waste it because of the issues off the field. No matter whom you are a fan of; it’s hard to see any kid go through these kinds of problems, especially when they were put into a position to have great success.
How to move on
For LSU this will be no easy task. It’s easy to see it as just one player and with their talent they can overcome some of the obstacles, but it will affect each and every one of the players on that team. Only time will tell how they respond to the situation, but what is clear is they have to fill the position of cornerback which they lost. It is hard to replace a player with talent and experience, but often times when a team has to battle through something like this they find a way to improve and get better. There is no doubt that this has hurt the football team, but you have to do what is right in a situation and you have to make sure all players follow the rules. It’s a coaches’ job not so much to get these players ready for the next level as it is to prepare them for life after football. As fans, we sometimes forget that these are kids trying to grow up and live up to expectations while also battling through the temptations of being a college football star. LSU can play as well as they did before without him, but that doesn’t mean that the experience and talent lost won’t be felt on the field this season.