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Tyrann Mathieu, 'Honey Badger,' eyes 2013 NFL Draft

Tyrann Mathieu announced his intent to apply for entry into the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday. The former LSU cornerback released the following statement:

"After much thought and reflection, I have decided to forego my remaining college eligibility. It is my intention to apply to enter the 2013 NFL Draft. It is time for me to move forward.

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"I am indebted to my parents, Tyrone & Shiela, and my family for their love, support and guidance. To coach Miles and the LSU football family, I say thank you for the opportunity and support you have given me over the years. I am sorry that I was not able to complete my journey at LSU, but I will always support LSU in any way I can. To my teammates, you are my brothers. You have kept me going. I will do my best to make you all proud of me. Stay strong and play hard.

"Finally, to the fans of Tiger nation. Each time I walked down the hill and ran out of the tunnel in Tiger Stadium, the love and support that you gave me and my teammates was overwhelming, I can't thank you enough. Thank you for the continued support that you have shown to me and my family.

"I am committed to tackling my personal issues and will work to better myself everyday as a man first and only then as a football player. I will always consider myself an LSU Tiger.

"Geaux Tigers!!!"

Mathieu, nicknamed Honey Badger, was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011 and set the LSU career record with 11 forced fumbles. NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter ranked Mathieu the No. 3 cornerback prospect heading into 2012. That was before Mathieu was dismissed from the team because of a failed drug test. Mathieu was arrested a month ago for possession of marijuana. He enrolled back in school at LSU and declined to transfer to another program.

Mathieu showed a knack for making game-changing plays on the field, but his draft position certainly would be affected by the personal situation. Janoris Jenkins faced a similar situation last year. He was dismissed from the University of Florida football program and finished his career at the University of North Alabama. Jenkins was considered one of the top corners in the draft. The St. Louis Rams selected Jenkins in the second round, No. 39 overall, but many people had considered him a top-15 pick.

Just three other defensive players in NCAA history finished higher in the Heisman voting than Mathieu. He also ranked No. 3 in the Football Bowl Subdivision in punt-return yards in 2011. At 5-foot-9, Mathieu doesn't dominate physically, but he always seems to be in the right spot at the right time.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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