Mark Schlabach just wrote one of the most important college football pieces this season. If you have not read it, check it out here. I just finished reading this masterpiece and it's safe to say that Kleenex is needed.
Tyrann Mathieu is one of the most popular players in college football and his story is straight from Hollywood. College Football fans alike would never guess that the Honey Badger, who has been nothing short of incredible this year, was once just an adopted boy with a dream.
Upon learning of this shocking tale I couldn’t help but make connections between the childhood of the Honey Badger and the 2009 film The Blind Side. This Oscar nominated movie was based on the life of Baltimore Ravens star Michael Oher.
Like Oher, Mathieu had a bad mother and an absentee father. Both of these players were finally adopted. Shelia and Tyrone Mathieu adopted their nephew, the LSU superstar.
Oher was adopted by a white family he didn't know. This was not the case with Mathieu. Tyrann had stayed overnight with his aunt and uncle many times before. At age five he decided that those overnight visits were just not enough and stayed full time.
The parents of both Mathieu and Oher were criminals and dark marks on society for many different reasons. It is the legacy that they left behind, manifested in their children, which will continue to shine on.
Though the horror of his father's past has followed Tyrann Mathieu throughout his whole life he tries to keep a singular focus. His dad was a jailbird who murdered many people.
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Mathieu preaches that he is not who is father was. Mathieu is the product of his aunt and uncle. They are a loving and caring family. Every child deserves a family like that and I’m glad that the Honey Badger as well as Oher found a group of people that really cared for them.
Much like Oher, Mathieu found solace on the football field. When he was all but ten years old he was named "King of Willie Hall Park". This was an honor bestowed on the best player in his respective peewee football league.
The Honey Badger tore up St. Augustine High School and graduated with an outstanding body of work. Sadly, it was only after missing out on other recruits that LSU opened their arms up to Mathieu. This is much different from Oher. Michael was a much-heralded recruit and had coaches on his doorstep.
After this experience Mathieu has always played with a chip on his shoulder. After reading this story my respect for this star skyrocketed. After watching him over and over again on highlight reels I finally understood the man behind the big plays.
The Honey Badger can run, but this time Mathieu faced his past with a toughness that eclipses his work on the gridiron.