By Chris Lehman
To be completely honest, college football has never been my forte. But at the same time, it IS still football, and I do know football.
The talk about who the Heisman winner should be is starting to pick up. Here’s why LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu should walk away with the trophy this year:
Right off the bat, everyone wants to say that Mathieu shouldn’t win based off the fact that he’s not the best defensive back on the team. Morris Claiborne probably is their best coverage player seeing as he leads the team with six interceptions. But just as Tim Tebow did not have more passing touchdowns than the other candidates when he won the Heisman, he was much more versatile. Mathieu only has two interceptions this year but has70 tackles including six forced fumbles, four of which he recovered and took two of those back for six points. In addition to his stellar play on the defensive end of the ball, he returns punts for the Tigers when they need a big play. He usually delivers as he has returned two of them for touchdowns at key points.
Those are just stats, however.
Most people automatically mention players such as Andy Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Montee Ball or Matt Barkley. Notice anything? They’re all offensive players. Does this surprise me? Not at all. It’s normal that offensive players lead the conversation seeing as only three defensive players have ever won the Heisman, Charles Woodson being the most recent. So why don’t defensive players get the credit they deserve? It’s quite simple. They don’t have the ball as often as quarterbacks and running backs. Because of that, fans don’t constantly hear their names. The only reason Woodson won was because he scored touchdowns. That’s all anyone cares about. This is the reason I feel that Mathieu has a chance to win, because he scores touchdowns.
The LSU Tigers are the best team in the nation. There’s no question about it. They are the best because of their defense and I’ve been told their punter (but I won’t claim to know anything about Brad Wing). In other words, their best assets are their defense and special teams. Mathieu is their most useful and versatile defender and overall playmaker. The Heisman is the award for the “most outstanding college football player.” That player is the one who you want to have or be around the ball when the game is on the line. For many teams, that will be the quarterback. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be one every year. Mathieu demonstrates everything that the award stands for.
His off-the-field issues earlier this year should not impact his chances of winning. As a sophomore, he has already established himself as one of the best players in the nation. Defensive players deserve more love than they get and should win the Heisman more than they do. Mathieu would be a great place to start.