LSU Football: 6 Things You Must Know About Tyrann Mathieu
Tyrann Mathieu is possibly the best defensive player on the nation's top team. He is near the top of a long list of playmakers for LSU's stingy defense.
Mathieu has 36 tackles so far from his cornerback position. He has also forced three fumbles and picked up one and a half quarterback sacks. Mathieu has intercepted one ball as well.
Mathieu's superb playmaking ability has fans around the nation whispering Heisman trophy support. If he can maintain his electric ability, Mathieu could have a real shot at the trophy by season's end.
Here are six things you must know about the Tigers' dangerous cover man.
Decorated High School Career
Tyrann Mathieu attended St. Augustine High School in Louisiana. Needless to say, he wasn't a bad player before he came to LSU.
Mathieu had 32 tackles, five interceptions, one sack and one fumble recovery as a senior. His ability to make plays in the box or in coverage has carried over into his collegiate career.
He was named to the New Orleans Times-Picayune 2010 Blue-Chip list. He was also a member of the Baton Rouge Advocate Super Dozen.
Mathieu was also honored as a SuperPrep All-American.
He committed to LSU as the fifth best prospect in Louisiana, according to rivals.com.
Made an Immediate Impact as a Freshman in 2010
Tyrann Mathieu wasted no time etching his name among the Tigers' defensive playmakers last season.
Mathieu played in all 13 games.
He finished fifth in the country with five forced fumbles. He was first in the SEC with three fumble recoveries. He also led the team in pass breakups, and had two interceptions. He can tackle as well, finishing the season with 57.
Mathieu showed his talent early and often. This season, without Patrick Peterson around to lend a helping hand, Mathieu has not disappointed.
2011 Cotton Bowl Defensive Most Outstanding Player
Tyrann Mathieu saved his best freshman performance for last. This performance would earn him Cotton Bowl Defensive Most Outstanding Player honors.
Mathieu finished the game with seven tackles, one tackle for a loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception, one sack and one pass breakup.
In other words, if there was a column for it in the box score, Mathieu filled it.
This performance put Mathieu on everyone's radar as a ball-hawking playmaker in the Tigers' secondary.
Received Alvin Roy Fourth Quarter Award
Tyrann Mathieu had a huge freshman season in Baton Rouge. However, this didn't stop him from working hard in the offseason.
Mathieu earned the Alvin Roy Fourth Quarter Award in the offseason. This award rewards outstanding performance in the LSU offseason program.
Earning this award shows Mathieu's determination to improve. This attitude will make him a better player and a better teammate for the Tigers.
If he continues to improve, it is scary to think of how good Mathieu will be.
Lines Up All over the Field
Tyrann Mathieu is a very dangerous weapon for LSU's defense. Because of this, Mathieu must be moved around the field to exploit the opposition's weaknesses.
Mathieu normally starts at cornerback alongside Morris Claiborne. However, he also plays nickel back a lot.
Using Mathieu in the nickel allows him to get pressure on the quarterback. He is lined up on the inside of the secondary. This gives him a shorter path to the pocket or to the ballcarrier.
Any time a weapon like Mathieu presents himself, you must utilize all aspects of his skill set.
Moving Mathieu around the field does just that for the LSU defense.
Sophomore on Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List
Tyrann Mathieu is one of two sophomores in the nation named to the 2011 Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List. The Bednarik Award goes to the top defensive player in the nation.
Mathieu has the talent and the production to make up for his inexperience.
He is incredibly versatile and he plays much bigger than his small frame would suggest. Because of his ability to stuff the stat sheet across the board, Mathieu is a legitimate candidate for post-season awards.
These awards could include the Bednarik Award.
If Mathieu wins the prestigious award, expect his name to be hoisted onto a new pedestal.