Mathieu is making a case to become the second defensive player ever to win the Heisman Trophy. The first was Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson in 1997 edging Tennessee's Peyton Manning for the award.
Matheiu won't be lacking for showcase opportunities as LSU is in the midst of playing four consecutive games on CBS.
LSU coach Les Miles believes Matheiu should be considered for the Heisman, pointing out the recent recipients have been the best players on tremendous teams. The Tigers enter Saturday's game at Tennessee having won six games by the average score of 39-13.
Mathieu is nicknamed the "Honey Badger" after a YouTube clip about a relentless animal from Africa and India that takes whatever he wants. The clip, which shows the honey badger going after everything from bee hives to cobras.
The 1951 Tennessee Volunteers football team will be honored on Saturday at Neyland Stadium, the 60th anniversary of the Vols' national championship team. Two stars on that team were Hank Lauricella of New Orleans and former Saints defensive end Doug Atkins. Lauricella was runnerup for the Heisman and Atkins is in the College and Pro Football Hall of Fames.
Lauricella, the tailback on the team, described his talents: "I would say I was a better than average runner, a fair passer and a good punter. In the single wing, you didn't have to be the best runner, passer or punter, but you had to be able to do all three."
Lauricella will attend the game, but Atkins won't because of bad legs. Atkins was named SEC Player of the Quarter-Century from 1950-74.
by Ed Staton