Cbssports.com has reported that star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu has been dismissed from LSU, for violating team rules. Mathieu's pro draft stock is sure to suffer and the incident could push him down to the middle rounds in 2013.
The news is a massive blow to an LSU football program, voted no.1 in the nation prior to the start of the college football season. Much of that lofty ranking was due to the play of Mathieu, who had established a reputation as arguably the most dangerous ball hawk at the collegiate level.
In 2011, Mathieu enjoyed a prolific campaign. In tandem with 2012 first-round draft choice Morris Claiborne, Mathieu made the LSU secondary the most feared unit in the SEC.
He snared two interceptions and forced six fumbles. LSU ended the year as the no.2 scoring defense in the land, thanks to Mathieu's ability to make plays on the ball.
Despite standing only 5'9" and weighing a mere 175 pounds, Mathieu consistently delivered hammer blow tackles that belied his diminutive frame. He also established a niche as an exciting return man and had NFL scouts drooling way before the 2013 draft.
Mathieu's suspension is certainly a major blow to LSU's standing and severely undermines that no.1 overall ranking. It will also damage Mathieu's stock heading into next April's draft.
A consensus first-round choice, Mathieu must now face the very real possibility of slipping past the top two rounds and into the middle of the pack.
This isn't the first disciplinary incident Mathieu has found himself embroiled in. He received a single-game suspension last season. That kind of track record will make many NFL teams wary.
Fellow cornerback draft prospects Jonathan Banks of Mississippi and DeMarcus Milliner of Alabama, will now be able to leapfrog Mathieu on many draft boards.
While maybe not as naturally gifted as Mathieu, the pair are big and physical corners, with the prototype size scouts now covet. In Mathieu's absence, they will be able to dominate the SEC and convince teams wary of Mathieu's discipline problems, to look elsewhere in the first round.
However, there will be those still willing to roll the dice on a player possessing Mathieu's elite speed and big play capability.
Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson both fell afoul of program rules and the law during their college days. Yet that didn't stop the St. Louis Rams from gambling on the talented, but troubled pair in the 2012 NFL draft.
Matt Hinton of Cbssports.com states that Mathieu will still qualify for the 2013 draft, despite his low standing with the NCAA. He would be free to transfer to another program, so long as that school plays in the FCS, according to Chris Smith of Forbes.com.
Jenkins was dismissed from a prominent program, when the Florida Gators let him go. He transferred to a so-called weaker conference and stood out at a small school.
Jenkins managed to tempt teams into looking past his off-field troubles and focus instead on his talent. That has to be the priority now for Mathieu.
However Mathieu's immediate future plays out, what is clear is that the "Honey Badger" has lot to do to convince pro scouts he is ready to seriously commit to football.