LSU Tigers football have found a gem in Tyrann Mathieu because he’s proven to be one of the biggest game-changers in college football.
Mathieu finished fifth in the 2011 Heisman Trophy voting, taking home 34 first-place votes, and many people thought that was even enough.
Well, this kid is a sophomore, so we’re lucky to have at least one more year of watching him, and odds are, he’ll make our viewing worth it.
Check out these reasons for why the Honey Badger will be the 2012 Heisman Trophy recipient.
A player’s “Heisman moment” is that play, or series, during a big-time game that makes you sit back and just appreciate what this player is truly capable of.
It leaves you speechless until the next day, when all you want to do is talk about it.
For Tyrann Mathieu, he has two legitimate ones, both of relative equal value and both products of the return game.
With LSU down by two scores at one point against both Arkansas and Georgia, the Honey Badger single-handedly swung momentum with electrifying punt returns.
You’re going to see Mathieu in similar fashion in 2012 because LSU is going to a title contender again. He’ll have his opportunities in the most opportune times, and I’d put the mortgage on the fact that this guy will deliver—again.
I previously mentioned Tyrann Mathieu’s skill as a kick returner, but he’s a feisty defender as well.
He blitzes well from the corner, reads quarterbacks well and has an uncanny knack for freeing up the football.
On the season, Mathieu has two interceptions, 1.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and 71 total tackles. The impressive number there is the five forced fumbles, two of which were returned for touchdowns by Mathieu himself.
I mean, without Mathieu’s multiple game-altering plays this season, would LSU even be in the national championship game?
If a defensive back/kick returner is ever going to win another Heisman Trophy, it’s because of this word right here.
Think back to Charles Woodson in 1997, as he was the last cornerback/kick returner to win a Heisman Trophy.
Woodson was electric, and he changed the atmosphere of football games with his timely interceptions and the fact that he scored touchdowns on offense and defense.
Normally, being a defensive back would hurt someone in the Heisman race because the award naturally goes to a quarterback or running back, but Mathieu’s 2011 season is going to work in his favor in 2012.
We’re all aware now of what this kid can do now, and all we have to do is sit back and watch him do it next year. He’s at the forefront of our minds the way a running back or quarterback would be.
Simply put, in 2012, Tyrann Mathieu is going to be the best player in college football.
Many people feel that it’s this reason right here that Mathieu had as good a shot as any to win the Heisman Trophy this season.
However, next season, expect LSU to be right back near the front of the pack in terms of being the best team in the country.
We’ve see their ability to play with limited talent at quarterback, and whenever they’ve lost a key player at a key position, someone has stepped in without breaking stride.
The Tigers are a talented bunch, are immaculately coached and will enter 2012 as one of the elites in college football. That alone will keep Tyrann Mathieu in the Heisman talks, needing only his stellar play on the field to solidify his resume.
Heading into the 2011 season, there were two legitimate candidates who we thought preseason-worthy to hoist the Heisman Trophy: Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson.
Both ended up finishing the season in the top three of the voting, but it was players like Robert Griffin III, Mathieu and Montee Ball who used remarkable play throughout the season steal some of the thunder.
Entering this year, there is a very thin list of what you can call “favorites.” Tyrann Mathieu must be on that list, along with Matt Barkley of USC and possibly Sammy Watkins of Clemson and Denard Robinson of Michigan.
All of these guys are fantastic football players, but none of them have done what Mathieu has accomplished in his sophomore season.
Tyrann Mathieu: Heisman Trophy 2012.