- Associated Press - Friday, August 10, 2012

Tyrann Mathieu was a game-changer for LSU last season. The definition of a ball hawk, the Honey Badger turned games in the Tigers’ favor with an uncanny ability to make big plays when they were needed most.

Now that Mathieu, an All-American cornerback and Heisman Trophy finalist, has been kicked off the team, what does it mean for LSU’s national championship hopes?

Let’s answer some questions:

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WHO REPLACES HONEY BADGER?

Like Mardi Gras beads on Bourbon Street, it’s not hard to find a blue chip cornerback at LSU. Still, the Tigers don’t have as much depth at the position as they had last season.

One of two Jalens will likely take Mathieu’s spot opposite Tharold Simon as the starter in the secondary. Redshirt freshman Jalen Collins is a big corner at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. Rivals.com rated him a four-star prospect out of Olive Branch (Miss.) High School. He won LSU’s most improved player award after spring practice.

Freshman Jalen Mills is only a few months removed from high school in DeSoto, Texas, but has impressed coaches in the preseason.

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YEAH, BUT CAN ANYBODY REALLY REPLACE MATHIEU?

Probably not. Mathieu wasn’t a lockdown corner in the mold of former teammates Morris Claiborne and Patrick Peterson. Versatility was his trademark skill.

Often he was listed as the nickel back and LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis lined him up all over the field. One down Mathieu was a corner. One down he was a safety. One down he was _ all 5-9 and 175 pounds of him _ a linebacker.

Finding a player who can do all that as effectively as Mathieu will be difficult.

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WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE TURNOVERS?

Story Continues →