Star DB Mathieu dismissed from LSU

Tyrann Mathieu is no longer with the LSU Tigers, head coach Les Miles announced Friday. The star defensive back was dismissed for a violation of team policy.

BATON ROUGE, La. -- There will be no more "Honey Badger" at LSU.

Tyrann Mathieu -- the star cornerback and kick returner who earned the nickname with his aggressive play -- has been dismissed from LSU, head coach Les Miles announced Friday.

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"This is a very difficult day for our team," Miles said. "We lose a quality person, teammate and contributor to the program. However, with that being said, we have a standard that our players are held to and when that standard is not met, there are consequences."

Mathieu was the face of a fearsome LSU defense as the Tigers compiled a 13-0 regular season before losing to Alabama in the BCS title game. He won the Bednarik Award as the nation's best defensive player.

Mathieu was also a star kick returner for the Tigers, averaging 15.6 yards per return last season, and he finished fifth in the Heisman voting.

He also had a knack for big plays. Mathieu scored four touchdowns, intercepted two passes and forced six fumbles in 2011.


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"He gave us a lot of examples that we can learn from and I think that he's a quality, quality guy who had a behavior issue and that's it," Miles said. "Certainly the overview of his time with us is positive."

The specific reason for the ouster was not immediately clear, but Miles indicated it was due to a violation of team policy.

"It was a longstanding rule set that is adhered to ... very comfortably administered," Miles said. "So I complied and agreed."

Mathieu was suspended for one game last season, also due to a violation of team policy.

Prior to this news, LSU looked poised to bounce back strong from last season's disappointment in the title game. The Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the preseason coaches poll and were a popular pick to get back to championship-caliber.

Miles described the move as "permanent" and said Mathieu will not be back.

Athletic director Joe Alleva called the news "absolutely heartbreaking." Alleva said that Mathieu's scholarship was revoked and that he had the option to remain at LSU and pay tuition, though Mathieu is not expected to do so.

Under NCAA rules, Mathieu could transfer to a lower-division school and play immediately or sit out one year and transfer to another FBS school. The junior still has two years of eligibility remaining.

Also gone from last year's defensive backfield for LSU is Morris Claiborne, an All-American who was drafted with the sixth overall pick in April's NFL Draft. Junior Tharold Simon and redshirt freshman Jalen Collins are next up at cornerback on the Tigers' depth chart. Wide receiver Odell Beckham was mentioned as a possible punt return replacement.

Despite the loss, LSU is still a deep team, and Miles expressed optimism about filling the void.

"The good news is we have good players," Miles said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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