Two years ago I campaigned hard for Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to join former Michigan great Charles Woodson as the only defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy in the modern era.
Considering the fact that LSU sophomore cornerback and punt returner Tyronn Mathieu made plays every bit as dramatic and consistently as Woodson did for the 1997 Wolverines, he too should get strong consideration for the award. Whether it be with his interceptions, fumble recoveries or returns, Mathieu unquestionably had more "Heisman-esque" moments this season than Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson and Montee Ball. Mathieu's chances at the trophy would seem even better with none of the other four finalists having an obvious edge over the others. Like Baylor's Griffin (affectionally called RG3), Mathieu even had the benefit of a spectacular nickname (Honey Badger) to aid in the hype-building that has unfortunately become so important in building a Heisman campaign.
Two critical mistakes, however, will keep Mathieu from winning the award -- an October 21 suspension for using synthetic marijuana and a controversial hit from behind against Alabama cornerback 'Dre Kirkpatrick that some labeled a cheap shot and felt deserved another suspension.
I do believe Mathieu deserves to have been among the finalists for the Heisman Trophy. His exploits on the field and in helping LSU finish the season undefeated and in position to win the BCS Championship in my opinion demanded that he be there.
However, the Heisman Trophy carries with it not only the expectation of athletic supremacy, but playing and carrying oneself with integrity, as well.
As such, for those interested, my Heisman "ballot" would read:
1. Robert Griffin III, Baylor
2. Andrew Luck, Stanford
3. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
4. Trent Richardson, Alabama
5. Montee Ball, Wisconsin