Mathieu a finalist for Camp award

Tigers' play-making sophomore is only defensive player in final group

LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is one of five finalists for the prestigious 2011 Walter Camp National Player of the Year Award, the organization announced Wednesday.

Mathieu is the only defensive player on the list of finalists. He's joined by quarterbacks Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Case Keenum (Houston) and Andrew Luck (Stanford) and Alabama running back Trent Richardson.

Mathieu is also the only sophomore in the group.

Twice named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week this season, Mathieu currently leads the top-ranked Tigers in tackles with 66. He leads the SEC and ranks second in the nation in both forced fumbles (6) and fumble recoveries (4). Mathieu has also intercepted two passes, recorded 7 pass breakups and a pair of quarterback hurries. He has 5½ tackles for loss and 1½ sacks for an LSU defense that is allowing just 10 points and 248 total yards per game.

Also a punt returner and a stalwart on other special teams units, Mathieu has scored three touchdowns this year: A 92-yard punt return, a strip-and-score fumble in punt coverage and a 23-yard strip-scoop-and score fumble against Kentucky.

In 24 career games, Mathieu has forced 11 fumbles, which ranks second among all active players in college football, and is just three shy of tying the NCAA career mark.

The 2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year award is voted on by the Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors. The winner will be unveiled on ESPN's SportsCenter on Dec. 8. The winner will receive his trophy at the Foundation's annual national awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, at the Yale University Commons in New Haven.

Former Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton won the award last year.

The finalists for the 2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year award:

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