"The Honey Badger" started the season as the most explosive defensive player in college football. He was then "witheld from play" against Auburn and had a quiet five game stretch. But he then ended the season with a bang.
Mathieu scored two touchdowns on punt returns in as many games. Arkansas and Georgia couldn't stop "The Honey Badger." He nearly scored on a spectacular third, but was shoestringed tackled in the Georgia red zone.
I remember a few weeks ago when I spoke to Mathieu before the Arkansas game. He looked frustrated. Playmakers can get that way when they haven't been making big plays.
I asked him about his struggles versus the Razorbacks the year before. He was burned by Joe Adams on a fourth and three play that sealed the victory for the Hogs. I thought "The Honey Badger" was going to treat me like a cobra.
Instead he gave me a stare I will never forget.
He told me he wanted to redeem himself from his mistakes last season. He said the play stuck with him and he wanted to make up for it on Friday.
I could just tell Tyrann was going to do something special. "TM7" looked like a vampire thirsting for blood. He was calm during my interview, but he knew he had been kept quiet for too long. Making big plays is in his DNA. It looked as if he needed to strip the football and/or score a touchdown in order for him to survive.
I said on my KLSU radio program Mathieu was going to have a massive impact to end the season.
|Mathieu was dominant in LSU's SEC triumph over Georgia.|
Photo via LSU Reveille
There is much debate whether Mathieu deserves to be a Heisman finalist. I've stated on Twitter that I don't think he should be because of his five game lull. But there is no debating his fantastic productivity in the final two weeks when his team needed him to make plays. And college football rewards strong finishes in every aspect of the sport.
There is no debate he is the most unique and intriguing figure out of the five Heisman finalists. And that's what helps him. The national media loves athletes with a phenomenal story. The other candidates have great storylines, but not even Mark Twain could have written a better narrative than Mathieu's season.
If I had a vote, I would give it to Alabama's Trent Richardson. But if I had a choice for the most exciting player in college football, I would give it to Mathieu.
But why does it matter? Because if "The Honey Badger" really wanted the Heisman, he would taken it already.
He just takes what he wants.
Follow me on Twitter @CarterthePower.