Tyrann Mathieu is still picking up all the awards and accolades he earned after breaking out at LSU this past year. The Heisman Trophy finalist is also taking time to take a little bit of a look forward to next year. Mathieu describes next year’s Tigers team as one that will look fairly similar to this year’s version, outside of some unfamiliarity at quarterback.
Mathieu is just a sophomore, so he could not have entered the NFL Draft after this past season. It shouldn’t come as a shock, however, that he says he hopes he gets the opportunity to take his game to the NFL level after the 2012 season at LSU.
Tyrann Mathieu joined 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia with Mike Missanelli to discuss the Honey Badger nickname, how he got to LSU, athletes that are coming out of the state of Louisiana, how he goes from a mild-mannered guy to being angry on the field, playing for Les Miles and looking ahead to next year.
Where did the Honey Badger nickname come from?:
“I think it came from the fans. Then our defensive coordinator. He kind of brought it up in a meeting and it just kind of went crazy from there.”
Do you like it?:
“Not at first. I didn’t like the ‘Honey’ part too much. But I guess as time went on, it kind of grew on me. I just embrace it now.”
How did you get to LSU?:
“I wasn’t that highly recruited coming out of high school. I think my size had a lot to do with that. Really it was just about LSU giving me a chance. I think Coach Miles seen that I was a pretty good player and had decent talent and just decided to give me a shot. It didn’t take me long to commit. As soon as he offered me, I committed right there on the spot. I was just pretty set on playing for LSU.”
What is it about Louisiana that produces great athletes?:
“I think we’re overlooked sometimes with California and Texas and Florida being predominantly [talked about]. … It’s just a lot of hungry guys willing to prove themselves. When they get their chance they just take advantage of it.”
You seem like a mild-mannered guy. Does a switch just flip on the field?:
“I don’t know. It’s just something about the game that brings out this kind of anger in me. … I just try to channel my anger. Some guys bully. I just channeled mine with football.”
What’s it like playing for coach Les Miles?:
“He’s funny. He’s definitely a fun guy to be around and rather interesting. I think he comes up with a new word every now and then to just throw a lot of words into sentences.”
How do you think this team will shape up for next year?:
“I hope [to make the leap to the NFL after next year], if I’m fortunate enough. But we’ve got a pretty good team coming back next year, pretty much the same team from a year ago minus the quarterback, a few receivers and obviously Morris and Brandon Taylor and Ryan Brooks in the secondary. But we have a lot of guys that are going to step up and make a name for themselves.”