Tyrann Mathieu's recent dismissal from the LSU football team sent shock waves throughout the entire college football world. The No. 1 team in the nation dumping its best player? For smoking pot? That's nearly unthinkable in today's climate.
As Mathieu considers his options and visits small schools, I sincerely hope he considers trying to stay at LSU and reclaim a spot on the team.
There are the obvious ramifications of such a choice, of course. Mainly, at LSU, Mathieu would pretty much have a shot at the national championship every year.
Next year's team won't be quite as loaded as this year's version, but anything is possible at LSU.
By staying at LSU and competing for a title, Mathieu would be showing that he is an unselfish player who is willing to do what it takes to fix his own issues for the sake of the team. That's a quality NFL scouts admire.
Speaking of the NFL, Mathieu's path isn't quite as clear as your average Heisman finalist's. The Honey Badger is tiny for an NFL cornerback. At only 5'9'' and 172 pounds, there are serious questions about his pro future.
He isn't going to prove anything playing for a school like McNeese State. He isn't Janoris Jenkins, someone destined for the NFL who just needed a stopgap.
Mathieu still has a lot to learn about covering bigger receivers. For him to succeed in the NFL, he has to absolutely master the art of playing within his own limitations. Which coaching staff do you really think has a better shot at teaching him that: McNeese State's or LSU's?
Finally, Mathieu has to think about his own personal growth and maturity. It is clear that in some form or another, he needs help.
I'm not suggesting that he needs to go to rehab, but he didn't even have enough control to stay on the LSU football team as a Heisman finalist.
Going to a small school is the easy way out. It would look to other way at any transgressions because it desperately needs the press of having someone like Tyrann Mathieu.
If he really wants to face his problems and grow as a man, LSU is the place to do it. I think if he really dedicated himself to improving as a person rather than a player, Les Miles would be impressed enough to let him rejoin the football team.
And honestly, it might be a good thing for him outside of football. I can't imagine the average LSU football player takes classes particularly seriously. It's hard for players to develop a real social life outside of football.
This could be a chance for Mathieu to almost be a normal college student. As a current college student, I can say that it's pretty darn fun.
Are there benefits to playing for a smaller school for a year and then jumping ship to the NFL? Absolutely. It made sense for Cam Newton to spend his year at junior college just like it made sense for Janoris Jenkins to play out a year at Northern Alabama.
It just isn't the right choice for Mathieu. If he really wants to become the type of player and man NFL teams want, he'll stay at LSU.