Tyrann Mathieu: Video Highlights for Former LSU CB

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2013

Tyrann Mathieu: Video Highlights for Former LSU CB

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    Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is one of the most polarizing figures in sports and is attempting a comeback at football after a battle with off-field issues. 

    Mathieu was one of the most electrifying players in the world of college football during his two years at LSU. He managed to finish as a runner-up for the Heisman trophy in 2011 despite playing a defensive position. 

    Of course, Mathieu was then dismissed from the LSU program in 2012 for another violation and was later arrested for marijuana. 

    On the field, Mathieu is often knocked for his short stature at 5'9", but there's no debating whether he is a major playmaker—his four interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and two punt returns for touchdowns during his time at LSU are proof enough.

    Let's take a moment to break down some of the best highlights of Mathieu's brief stint with the LSU program. 


    All pertinent prospect info courtesy of CBS

    All statistics courtesy of Sportsreference.com

Turnover vs. Arkansas

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    Despite his stature, Tyrann Mathieu displayed a distinct ability to rip the ball out of a player's hands during his time at LSU—no matter how big they were. 

    Above, Mathieu is falling back into zone coverage but quickly reacts to where the ball is thrown. In the process of making a tackle, he literally rips the ball out of the receiver's hands. 

    Mathieu then comes up with the ball and uses his elite athleticism to elude the offense as he returns the ball for a good chunk of yardage. 

    It's little plays like these that will keep Mathieu in the NFL for quite some time if he is presented with the opportunity. 

Interception vs. West Virginia

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    Tyrann Mathieu isn't given many opportunities to run trick plays, but he can certainly be classified as a trickster after this one. 

    Mathieu covers his man effectively across the field in the above video. He baits the quarterback into thinking his receiver is open and then proceeds to speed up in front of the pass and intercept it. 

    At the next level, Mathieu may not be able to pull a move like this off because every player is smarter, not to mention faster. 

    Still, having the mental ability to pull this off, as well as the physical tools, is a gift. It's a smart play from Mathieu, and one the quarterback was probably kicking himself for in the film room the following week. 

Turnover vs. West Virginia

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    Once again, we have Tyrann Mathieu simply bullying a bigger player and making a major play for his team in the process. 

    This time Mathieu reacts quickly to get to the ball. Before the receiver can have his forward progress stopped or fall to the ground, Mathieu violently rips the ball out of his hands and takes it himself. 

    While he was unable to return the ball for big yardage this time, he still took the ball out of the hands of the offense—literally. That's a major feat on its own. 

    Mathieu is undoubtedly a pesky player on the field. He may not be the best in coverage or have great size, but efforts such as the one above make him stand out.

Punt Return TD vs. Georgia

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    Not only is Tyrann Mathieu a great presence on the defensive side of the football, he also happens to possess an elite skill set when it comes to special teams. 

    Mathieu only returned two punts for touchdowns during his time at LSU, but he got close on many other occasions. 

    The above highlight is obviously one of the rare instances he reached paydirt. 

    Mathieu has elite speed and elusiveness, and his small stature that is often listed as a negative is actually a positive on returns because it makes him more difficult to track and wrap up. 

Interception vs Texas A&M

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    This is a pretty basic play to diagnose here. Tyrann Mathieu drops into coverage in the flat right after the ball is snapped and the Texas A&M quarterback seriously misjudges just how fast the "honey badger" truly is. 

    What's impressive here is Mathieu reads the play the entire way and has the lateral agility to get over there in an instant to make the play. 

    Not only that, his body control to go fully horizontal while having the hand-eye coordination to make the catch is impressive. 

    Thanks to a rare combination of traits, the intended receiver literally had no shot at bringing this pass in or even attempting to commit pass interference. 

Forced Fumble vs. Mississippi State

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    For being the smallest player on the field, Tyrann Mathieu sure does pack a serious punch whenever he goes to hit an opposing player. 

    Whether it's a running back twice his size or a quarterback, Mathieu hits full speed quickly and borderline recklessly throws his body into the ball-carrier. 

    In this case, the victim was an unsuspecting quarterback. Mathieu takes the much heavier player off of his feet and causes a fumble. 

    The quarterback was not expecting the hit, but it's safe to assume that even if he was, Mathieu would have been able to take him off his feet and potentially cause a turnover.

Punt Return TD vs. Arkansas

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    If you miss Tyrann Mathieu and allow him to break away into the open field, you won't catch him before he reaches the end zone. 

    Arkansas found this out the tough way in the above highlight. 

    Mathieu does not do anything particularly fancy here. He fields the ball cleanly and uses his shiftiness and athleticism to split a couple of defenders, then proceeds to turn on the afterburners to reach paydirt. 

    Still, it's an impressive feat of elusiveness and endurance that is sure to help him stick on an NFL roster for quite some time. 

Interception vs. Florida

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    Tyrann Mathieu does not have many interceptions to his name, and his coverage skills are often listed as a weakness. 

    That's simply not the case here. 

    Mathieu sticks with his man from the beginning here and keeps his head on a swivel in order to make a play on the ball when the opportunity arises. 

    Gaining proper leverage without committing a penalty, Mathieu is able to then leap into the air and intercept the pass—in the end zone, no less. 

    The skills displayed here show that Mathieu can at the very least be used as a nickel corner in the NFL in the right situations.

Interception vs. West Virginia

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    Another outstanding element of Tyrann Mathieu's game is his ability to effectively blitz from the secondary. More often than not, he tends to wreak havoc when given the chance. 

    The result above is what can happen when Mathieu blitzes. He didn't get the sack, but he got something better—he tipped a pass into the air, came down with for the interception and then almost returned it for a touchdown. 

    Mathieu's timing and awareness are impressive on this play. He is aware enough to leap into the air while watching the quarterback's eyes, and then aware enough to reel the ball in off the tip. 

    Obviously it would have been a better highlight had he made it into the end zone, but it's a safe bet the fans and coaching staff were more than pleased with the result anyway. 

Forced Fumble, Recovery for TD vs. Kentucky

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    This time, Tyrann Mathieu gets in the end zone. 

    As mentioned, Mathieu is an extremely effective blitzer. Here against Kentucky, he comes off the edge untouched and levels the quarterback from his blind side. 

    Once again, Mathieu is aware and composed enough to locate the football after the big hit, pick it up and scoot away from everyone else for the score. 

    Mathieu is probably one of the smallest players on the field each snap he plays, but you wouldn't know it with the way he disrupts an entire game. When he's in the backfield this quickly, it is hard to run an effective offense, let alone win a game. 


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