(NEXSTAR) – His high school head coach David Johnson, and his best friend, Terry Lucas, knew it long before the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference knew it – Tyrann Mathieu was a special talent.
At 5 feet 9 inches tall, he was a giant at his position. A “shutdown corner” with a knack for wreaking havoc on the opposing offense’s plans.
Mathieu played in all 13 games as a true freshman, but in 2011 he exploded. Mathieu led the SEC in forced fumbles with six and fumble recoveries with five.
Mathieu won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player and was also a Heisman finalist, something he predicted. Tyrann Mathieu wrote a lot, then made it happen.
“Before a game he would right down 10 things … and would accomplish all but two,” Lucas recalled.
He and Terry Lucas knew each other from playground football, and when they arrived at St. Augustine High School, the bond was instant.
Years later, Lucas is his business manager. He said Mathieu has only scratched the surface of what he can accomplish.
“Once he finishes his career in the NFL, we want to come back and do a lot of things for New Orleans,” Lucas said.
In 2012, Mathieu was dismissed from the LSU team for an unspecified violation of team rules, according to head coach Les Miles. “We will miss the guy,” Miles said at the time.
Mathieu flirted with playing at another Louisiana college but instead entered rehab, and came out a changed man. He and Lucas spoke almost daily, and, after a year away from the game, he entered the 2013 NFL draft.
Mathieu was drafted by Arizona – where he launched the next phase of his football life.
Last year in Kansas City, he wrote that the Chiefs would win the Super Bowl – then made it happen.
With Tyrann Mathieu, all seems possible.