Attention college football coaches: Want a Honey Badger?
Tyrann Mathieu, the LSU cornerback with the colorful nickname, was a Heisman Trophy finalist last year. Now, he’s a man without a team after being dismissed for violating team and school rules. A junior, Mathieu would have to sit out a season before being eligible if he were to transfer to another FBS school; he would be immediately eligible at an FBC or lower school. He has two years of eligibility left.
Coach Les Miles declined to specify just what Mathieu had done to merit dismissal from the team that was undefeated until losing to Alabama in the national title game and is ranked No. 1 in the preseason coaches’ poll.
“This is a very difficult day for our team,” Miles said in making the surprising announcement. “We lose a quality person, teammate and contributor to the program. However, with that being said, we have a standard that our players are held to and when that standard is not met, there are consequences.
“It’s hard because we all love Tyrann. We will do what we can as coaches, teammates, and friends to get him on a path where he can have success. We are going to miss him.”
Mathieu, winner of the Bednarik Award as the national defensive player of the year last season, was suspended a game for failing a drug test. (Without him, LSU beat Auburn 45-10.) Miles indicated that Mathieu wasn’t likely to remain in school at LSU.
“I can’t imagine he would be here and not want to transfer and go play football,” Miles said. “We will help him in every way we can.”
Mathieu, 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, scored four touchdowns (two on punt returns, two on fumble returns), had two interceptions and caused six fumbles (recovering four). He finished fifth in voting for the Heisman, which was won by Robert Griffin III of Baylor.
But none of that mattered.
“We have a simple policy here of behavior,” Miles said. “Consequences are pretty spelled out and defined. We did what we could do, but Tyrann is no longer on our team. He violated team policies.
“For Ty, it’s an opportunity for him to redirect. He’s still got a bright future. I think he can reeally accomplish all the goals he set for himself. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be doable.”