What about the Honey Badger?

No Tyrann Mathieu? WTF, he made it to NYC in 2011 but cant make the watch list in 2012?

That’s the comment left by Drew in response to the 2012 preseason Heisman Watch List I released last week.

It’s a fair question.

After all, Tyrann Mathieu AKA ‘The Honey Badger’ [“I do have a real name,” he once told me] finished fifth in the Heisman vote last season and, by a lot of standards, would have to naturally be considered a contender in 2012 as well.

But, my problem with Mathieu as Heisman candidate is this: Defensive players just don’t win the Heisman.

I offer that statement without moral judgement and without disrespect. It just is what it is.

The preseason Heisman list is intended to include players who have an actual chance to win the trophy.

Can Mathieu overturn a central tenet of the Heisman race and win it?

Think about Mathieu last season. Think about what had to happen for him to even finish fifth in the voting. Heck, take a look at this video:

He’s a great player, without a doubt, and probably the main reason LSU made it through the regular season unscathed.

But amazing punt returns at critical junctures, acrobatic interceptions, forced fumbles, scoop-and-scores, and other plays in that vein are very hard to duplicate. Some of those plays were the kind of plays that were only going to happen in that moment, at that time.

And so, I just can’t see Mathieu being able to replicate it all, which is what he would have to do to get to New York again, much less win it.

I’d say the most likely trophy destined to sit on his mantle is the Thorpe.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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3 Responses to What about the Honey Badger?

  1. Chris May 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    “But amazing punt returns at critical junctures, acrobatic interceptions, forced fumbles, scoop-and-scores, and other plays in that vein are very hard to duplicate. Some of those plays were the kind of plays that were only going to happen in that moment, at that time.”

    I agree with this. But as voters see it, he just has this uncanny ability to make plays at the perfect moments. There’s no doubt he’s a play-maker, but as you pointed out, some of these plays were just being in the perfect spot at the perfect at the time, which is usually hard to duplicate.

  2. AZ May 10, 2012 at 6:30 am #

    I agree with this assessment, I’ll take it a step further and add that he was arguably the 3rd to 4th best player in their defensive backfield last year….Plus there was that stretch in the middle of the season where he virtually disappeared

  3. ian June 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    The Badger had a good year but really? He was in NY and MB7 was not? When one throws for 39 TD, 3,500+ yds with 7 ints and does not get invited, but a defensive player that does not hold any stats on his own team does? Makes you wonder how he got their in the first place.