There weren't many other options for the troubled former LSU cornerback. He had been kicked off the Tigers team before the season for failed drug tests. Sports Illustrated brought his eligibility into question, due to his likeness being used on an advertisement for a party. And then he was arrested and charged with simple possession of marijuana in October.
He wasn't going to play at LSU again. So, as ESPN reported, he will announce he is going into the NFL draft.
From the pro side of it, as Yahoo! Sports' Doug Farrar of the Shutdown Corner blog said on Twitter, "without the off-field stuff: Elite slot defender, second round. With? Third-day easy-risk player." That sounds about right. Mathieu is a good player who isn't very big, so he isn't an elite NFL prospect like former LSU teammates Morris Claiborne and Patrick Peterson. But he has talent and some team would have taken him reasonably early. Now? Some team will risk a late pick on him, and hope he keeps his life in order and produces on the field.
No matter what happens in the NFL, Mathieu will be remembered fondly by college fans as an electric player who helped LSU to the national title game last season. He won the Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player in college football. He was a consensus first-team All-American and Heisman Trophy finalist. He always seemed to be around the ball and made some huge plays for LSU. He became a national sensation thanks in large part to his "Honey Badger" nickname and some media members' annoying attempts at shoehorning it into any discussion about Mathieu. Now the story of his college career will officially be over.
"I am committed to tackling my personal issues and will work to better myself every day as a man first and only then as a football player," Mathieu said, according to ESPN. "I will always consider myself an LSU Tiger."
We wish him the best in getting his life on track and his NFL career going.
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