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The 20-year-old Mathieu won the Bednarik Award as national defensive player of the year last season and was a big-play machine at cornerback and on special teams. The All-American scored four touchdowns _ two on punt returns and two on fumble returns _ intercepted two passes, caused six fumbles and recovered four.

He has two years of college eligibility remaining.

Freshman Jalen Mills is now starting in Mathieu’s old cornerback spot and moving to nickel back on passing downs, when redshirt freshman Jalen Collins comes in.

Punt return duties have been taken over by sophomore Odell Beckham Jr., spectacularly so far. Beckham returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in LSU’s season opening 41-14 victory over North Texas last Saturday. He would have had a 76-yard return for a score had it not been nullified by an illegal block.

Still, Beckham was quick to say he would welcome Mathieu back to the team.

“I would love it, not just the things he does on defense or punt returns,” Beckham said. “Just the vibe that he brings to this team is something that is unmatched.”