LSU Tigers head coach Les Miles has not ruled out former star Tyrann Mathieu’s return to the program for next season.
Speaking on ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt Show, Miles said, “I think that this is a very legitimate chance that he would have a happy ending,” in response to a question about Mathieu’s future with the program.
This August, Mathieu was dismissed from the team for violating the team rules, and ESPN reported that he failed multiple drug tests.
Mathieu earned the nickname “Honey Badger” for his tenacity on defense and established that he's one of the premier defensive backs in the country during his sophomore season.
He is a vicious hitter who finished the year with 76 total tackles, including 7.5 for a loss. He also forced six fumbles and recovered five.
In coverage, Mathieu excelled with 11 passes defended and two interceptions on the season.
The elite athleticism that made him a fantastic defender also contributed to his ability to be a lethal punt returner. He averaged 15.6 yards per return and scored two touchdowns in 2011.
All this culminated to an invitation to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist, and Mathieu was expected to equal or surpass his performance from a season ago while trying to help LSU win a national title in 2012.
But those plans were drastically changed when he was kicked off the team, and Mathieu has since attended a drug rehab program in Houston.
Athletes with Mathieu’s talent will almost always receive a second chance if they can show that they can learn from the mistakes that got them into trouble in the past. Miles seems optimistic that his former star will be able to avoid the behavior that led to his dismissal.