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Doc 5: Top five marijuana mistakes -- No. 2 Tyrann Mathieu

Tyrann Mathieu 2012 BCS
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Tyrann Mathieu never had the chance to replicate his 2011 Heisman-finalist campaign. (USA Today Sports Images)

This offseason we will count down various topics from Monday through Friday, bringing you the top five of the important and definitely some not so important issues in college football. It's the Doc Five, every week until we will thankfully have actual games to discuss.

Christians across the world celebrated Easter on Sunday, but some were celebrating another holiday.

April 20, aka “4/20,” has become a de-facto holiday to celebrate the use of marijuana. With 4/20 in mind, we decided to use that as the basis for this week’s Doc 5 – the top five marijuana mistakes.

There are no shortage of college football players running into legal trouble throughout the offseason, many of them for marijuana charges. Any semi-regular reader of Dr. Saturday knows that. Over the years there have been plenty of top players whose marijuana use ultimately led to dismissals that impacted their teams.

Number two is the Honey Badger.

TOP FIVE MARIJUANA MISTAKES

No. 2: TYRANN MATHIEU

When you think of Tyrann Mathieu's college career, the first thing that comes to mind isn't his remarkable 2011 season that made him a Heisman finalist. It's his struggles with marijuana.

As a sophomore, Mathieu was one of the most dynamic players in college football and certainly the best defensive player. He forced six fumbles, recovered five, had two interceptions and LSU in tackles while also averaging 15.6 yards per punt return.

He finished fifth in the Heisman balloting, the only defensive player in the top 10.

The season wasn't all rosy, however. Mathieu was suspended for the Auburn game for failing a drug test that season. It was a public harbinger of things to come.

Entering his junior season, Mathieu was a projected first-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft. But in August 2012, he was dismissed from LSU's football team for failing another drug test.

Not long after his dismissal, Mathieu entered rehab for four weeks under the eye of former NBA player John Lucas. He returned to LSU after rehab; he wasn't transferring anywhere to play football in 2012.

A Sports Illustrated report detailed Mathieu's time in rehab and his family life; in it, Lucas said he wouldn't call Mathieu a marijuana addict but treated him like one. (Mathieu subsequently accused SI of harassing him.)

Not long after the SI story ran, Mathieu was arrested for marijuana possession with three former teammates.

Near the conclusion of the 2012 season, Mathieu announced he would be eligible for the 2013 NFL draft despite not playing anywhere. As teams asked him about his marijuana usage throughout the pre-draft process, Mathieu said he failed 10 drug tests while at LSU.  Yet he was suspended for a game and then dismissed. Those were his only public drug-related punishments.

Because he was only disciplined publicly twice, LSU deserved blame too. If Mathieu indeed failed a large number of drug tests, there's no excuse for the school not taking more action.

Mathieu said his mistakes cost him "millions" and that may be true in more than dollars. As a third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals, his rookie contract was far less than what it would have been as a first-round pick. But he also lost the chance to replicate his stellar sophomore season and be one of the best defensive players in college football history.

Sure, his 2011 performance is still incredible. But it's now always overshadowed and the question of "What if?" will always linger.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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