|Mathieu has scored twice this season.|
Photo via Nola.com
The most dominant player on the No. 1 team in the country deserves Heisman recognition.
Tyrann Mathieu has been the most dominant player for LSU this season. LSU is the No. 1 team in the country. Thus, he deserves Heisman recognition.
"You can't deny he is one of the best players in college football," said LSU linebacker Ryan Baker.
The national media talks about how Heisman candidates usually make memorable plays on primetime national television. Mathieu has made as many as any player in the country.
Against Oregon in the opener, "T-Rex" stripped, scooped and scored as a gunner on special teams for a touchdown. Two weeks later versus Mississippi State, "TM7" led the team in tackles while LSU held the Bulldogs to single digits. Last week in Morgantown, "The Honey Badger" stripped another ball carrier and intercepted a pass at the line of scrimmage. All three of these games had high billing on television.
In LSU's first SEC home game versus Kentucky during Baton Rouge's dreaded 11:21 a.m. kickoff time, Mathieu made a historical play in typical "Honey Badger" fashion. He stripped, scooped and scored a quarterback Maxwell Smith for a touchdown. The fumble recovery pushed him past Ali Highsmith as the Tigers all-time leader in fumble recoveries.
Mathieu is only a sophomore and has a minimum of one full season left for the Tigers.
"Tyrann makes big plays. When he gets the ball, he wants to score," said defensive end Sam Montgomery.
But why is Mathieu not getting any love from the national media for the most prestigious individual award in American sports? Well, even he knows why.
"(Heisman talk) doesn't really affect me. Odds are against me as a defensive player," said Mathieu after Kentucky.
Mathieu plays defense, and it is well known only one defensive players has ever won the award in Charles Woodson.
I spoke at length on Twitter with Sports Illustrated "Heisman Watch" writer Cory McCartney, who hasn't had a defensive player crack his list yet this season. I asked him about Mathieu's chances and his response didn't hold much hope for Mathieu.
"See history of great defenders and this award and this is a lost cause. Mathieu (is) great, not Heisman."
I agree with McCartney. Mathieu probably won't win the Heisman. He then followed with this next Tweet.
"I don't want to say voting for a defender is throwing a vote away but is akin to voting for Ron Paul for president in '08."
|Paul visited LSU last week.|
Photo via TFM
That Tweet "Grinds my Gears." If a voter feels Paul is the right choice for president, he or she should vote for him no matter if Paul has a chance to win or not. This proves the Heisman is a discriminate award to offensive players and is influenced by how everybody thinks instead of how an individual voter thinks.
Traditional molds are meant to be broken.
Even with that said, this column has nothing to do with him winning the award. Mathieu deserves to at least be on everybody's Heisman radar. Anybody that doesn't have Mathieu on a watch list right now is commiting a disservice to the game of football.
If I had a vote, Mathieu would finish fourth on my ballot behind Marcus Lattimore, Kellen Moore and Andrew Luck. All three of those players have been valuable assets for their team to win.
The former No. 7 for LSU Patrick Peterson found himself in a similar situation last season as Mathieu. Peterson was heavily hyped as the next great defensive Heisman contender. He then played Florida the next week and had one of his worst games in a LSU uniform.
Mathieu and the Tigers face the Florida Gators in Tiger Stadium next week.
But unlike Peterson, Mathieu hasn't peaked early in the season as a punt returner. If he can return a touchdown late in the season like Woodson did during his Heisman year, "TM7" will begin to take over voter's minds.
"I go out there always looking to make a play," said Mathieu.
No matter how the LSU season or Heisman voting plays out, don't mess with the Honey Badger.