On Thursday, former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu announced that he will make himself eligible for the 2013 NFL draft. Mathieu made the announcement official in a statement.
"I am sorry that I was not able to complete my journey at LSU, but I will always support LSU in any way I can. To my teammates, you are my brothers. You have kept me going. I will do my best to make you all proud of me. 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. I will always consider myself an LSU Tiger."
Mathieu was thought to be a first-round talent before his off-field life caught up to, and capsized, his on-field potential. He was kicked off the team in August following multiple failed drug tests, and a marijuana-related arrest in October of 2011. There was some thought that Mathieu might continue his collegiate career at a smaller school, but he instead entered a drug rehab program and has stayed at the Florida home of Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, a former LSU teammate.
What will make the 5-foot-9, 178-pound Mathieu intriguing to NFL executives despite his checkered past is that he is an amazing talent. He made an enormous impact as a do-it-all defender for the Tigers in just two seasons, forcing five fumbles and breaking up seven passes as a true freshman and nickel back in 2010. In 2011, Mathieu really cut loose, leading the team with 70 tackles and six more forced fumbles. He had a total of four picks in his two seasons, but Mathieu's value to a defense has always been about more than just his coverage abilities. A fearless hitter when converging on running backs from all angles and depths, "The Honey Badger" made enough plays in which he resembled a guided missile to set himself apart as a pure tackling weapon. Mathieu also made a name as one of the most dynamic return men in recent NCAA annals.