The 2012 season hasn't even started yet and LSU star defensive back Tyrann Mathieu is already thinking about his future.
Mathieu told Philadelphia's 97.5 "The Fanatic" that his plan is to play well enough in 2012 so that he could move to the NFL in 2013.
"If I'm fortunate enough," Mathieu said.
And it's not as if Mathieu isn't ready. His punt return skills alone would make him an asset to the league. Last season he averaged 15.6 yards per return and had two dynamic touchdowns. And his playmaking ability has never been questioned — he had four fumble returns and two of them resulted in touchdowns.
He could stand another year of seasoning and work on his man-to-man coverage, he was burned by a couple of the conference's better receivers, but we'll chalk that up to age and experience.
In short, if Mathieu wants to go pro after his junior season, the Heisman Trophy finalist simply has to be as good or better than he was in 2011. He will be the star of the secondary with Morris Claiborne, Brandon Taylor and Ron Brooks all gone. And LSU is expected to be one the top if not the top team in the country by the time preseason rankings are released.
"We've got a pretty good team coming back next year, pretty much the same team from a year ago minus the quarterback, a few receivers and obviously Morris and Brandon Taylor and Ryan Brooks in the secondary," Mathieu said. "But we have a lot of guys that are going to step up and make a name for themselves."
Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
• Forde Minutes: North Carolina proves it's an NCAA title contender
• Video: Are the Celtics really shopping Rajon Rondo?
• Fans going to extreme lengths to get tickets for London Games
• Y! Music: Anna Kournikova's beau, Enrique Iglesias, reveals why he won't marry