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.