In a move that shakes up the college football landscape, LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu – perhaps the most dynamic player in college football – has been dismissed from the preseason No. 1-ranked team for violating school and team rules.
“We extended ourselves personally and professionally to him,” LSU coach Les Miles said at a news conference Friday. “He has really improved and has a chance to take some steps as a person.
“We extended ourselves to the full length of the policy.”
Miles would not specify the reason Mathieu, who was suspended for a game last year for failing a drug test, was kicked off the team.
“We’ll miss the guy,” Miles said. “The football team’s got to go on. We’ll have to fill the void.”
A source told ESPN that Mathieu has been looking for a new school to play for this season. Mathieu has two years of eligibility left and could transfer, but he would have to sit out this season if he went to another school in major college football. If he moved down a level, to FCS, he could play right away.
“I can’t imagine he would be here and not want to transfer and go play football,” Miles said. “We will help him in every way we can.”
Last season Mathieu was a finalist for the Heisman and won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s best defensive player.
The junior defensive back nicknamed “Honey Badger” was the surprising Heisman Trophy candidate last season as the Tigers won the Southeastern Conference championship and reached the BCS title game. LSU lost the championship 21-0 to Alabama.
LSU enters this season ranked No. 1 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.
The AP college football poll will be released Aug. 18. The Tigers opened preseason camp last week as one of the favorites to reach the national championship game again.
Mathieu was the team’s big-play machine at cornerback and on special teams. The All-American scored four touchdowns — two on punt returns and two on fumble returns — intercepted two passes and caused six fumbles and recovered four.