BATON ROUGE, La. -- The LSU defense, ranked third overall in the nation, is doing just fine without its former feisty playmaker, Tyrann Mathieu, who was dismissed from the team in August -- and arrested Thursday along with three other former Tigers on drug-related charges.
What's been missing is Mathieu's ability to provide a big-play spark. Rarely this season have plays emerged like his 2011 highlights -- the strips returned for touchdowns against Oregon and Kentucky, the bat-down interception return against West Virginia or the punt-return touchdowns against Arkansas and Georgia.
LSU also has commitments from a bevy of talented recruits in the 2013 recruiting class -- several of whom have experience in Mathieu's areas of expertise.
The quiet but persistent chatter this season had been that, after a rehab stint, Mathieu might have been able to rejoin the Tigers next season. Thursday's arrest makes that unlikely.