Prior to the start of the 2011 season, most college football fans, especially those who don't follow the SEC, hadn't heard of Tyrann Mathieu. Over the last 12 months he reached the top of the mountain with a surprise top five finish in the Heisman voting, and now has tumbled back down the other side. After his departure from LSU most felt he would play this season, the only question was would he transfer to a major program and sit out a year, or take the Janoris Jenkins route and play for an FCS program so he could play right away. The answer this morning is neither.
From Bruce Feldman of CBS Sportsline:
Lucas reached out to Mathieu after last Friday's press conference at LSU by coach Les Miles announcing the Tiger standout's departure from the program. Mathieu, according to the source, flew to Houston on Sunday.
"They have the finest of everything there," the source said of the Houston rehab center. "Tyrann realizes he has to resolve his issue. The desire is for him to get his life right, to get his life together. He needed counseling. He needed help. If he went somewhere else just to go play football, his problems would resurface. He understood that ‘The Honey Badger persona' couldn't last living that life.
I feel a mix of pity and anger when I see a guy as talented as Mathieu throw away a bright future for no reason. Mathieu wasn't the greatest cover corner ever, but he was a playmaker, he was exciting, and made football even more fun to watch even if you don't root for the Tigers. He's obviously made many, many mistakes, but I think this latest decision was the correct one. John Lucas has a history of guiding athletes struggling with drug addiction after struggling with his own addiction to cocaine in the 1980's. He won't play any football in 2012, but if he takes this rehab seriously and turns his life around, he'll have two years of eligibility left starting in 2013.