LSU Tigers cornerback Tyrann Mathieu isn't going to win the 2011 Heisman Trophy. Just being nominated, in this instance, really is a breakthrough honor. If Ndamukong Suh can't win the Heisman over Mark Ingram, it's hard to imagine any purely defensive and special teams player is going to, especially with Robert Griffin III around.
Still, LSU Tigers blog And the Valley Shook points out Mathieu's production is in line with those put up by Charles Woodson, the closest thing to a defensive Heisman winner there's ever been:
The one time the Downtown Athletic Club got cute and gave it to a defensive player, they gave it Charles Woodson, who also played some snaps at wide receiver. But let's just look at Woodson's defensive numbers in his Heisman winning campaign:
9 pass break ups
That's pretty impressive. Let's look at Mathieu this season:
7 pass break ups
6 forced fumbles
4 fumble recoveries
Mathieu matches up. He has a ton more tackles and was a more disruptive player, constantly getting into the backfield to make tackles. OK, he doesn't have as many picks, but that's made up for by his amazing ability to force fumbles. And he's scored 4 touchdowns, an amazing number for a defensive player.
Let's also remember this: Mathieu's only a sophomore. There's always next year.