In 2011, Tyrann Mathieu was one of the best players in all of college football. A standout cornerback for LSU, his NFL career held high hopes. He became one of the most popular players in recent memory, becoming somewhat of a figure in pop culture with his nickname "The Honey Badger." However, his football career with LSU ended by his own doing after drug use led him to be suspended from the team following the 2011 season and then arrested later in the year. He was ultimately dismissed from LSU all together. Now, Mathieu hopes to make a comeback both personally and professionally and he is relying on old teammates to help.
Mathieu earned an invitation to this year's scouting combine because of his known football talents. After numerous off-the-field issues and missing the entire 2012 season, Mathieu has a lot to prove with the combine.
Mathieu has been working out with former teammate Patrick Peterson, who now plays the Arizona Cardinals and was a former first round draft pick. Peterson's father, Patrick Sr., runs a combine workout camp in Boca Raton, Fla. where Mathieu has been preparing himself. If Mathieu fails to impress at the combine, his NFL future is all but gone.
According Peterson Sr., Mathieu is ready for his audition. He has been working heavily on technique and recorded a 4.47 40-yard dash time. The 40-yard dash will be one of the most important drills Mathieu will participate in. For a cornerback, speed is everything. Peterson Sr. stresses that everything with Mathieu, both personally and professionally is going very well.
"He's going to be good. He's going in strong. He's looking like Tyrann. He's staying away from the off-field stuff and he's focused," Peterson Sr. said.
Mathieu has been pushed by his former teammate who often challenges him during drills. Peterson Sr. says he is very locked in and focused on the business. He stressed Mathieu is aware he cannot get another strike against him.
Mathieu reportedly took a trip to the Senior Bowl to informally meet with NFL scouts and team officials. While Mathieu could not take part in the game, he took advantage of the opportunity to meet with the important people that will decide his future. He is going to face a lot of questions during the interview portions of the combine. Many teams will be probing to find out how he is after all of the issues he has faced in the past year.
Following the 2011 season, Mathieu was recognized as a consensus All-American and a finalist for the Heisman Trophy before being dismissed in 2012. He can still have a long and successful career in the NFL if he can but the personal issues aside. He will not get an official Pro Day to show off his skills, so the scouting combine will mean everything.