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LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (right) earned the nickname "Honey Badger" for hits like this one, against Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson on Nov. 25, 2011. Mathieu is one of five finalists named Monday for the Heisman Trophy. (AP)

College Football's Heisman Finalists: The All-Name Team, Starring Honey Badger

by Rick Holter
Dec 5, 2011

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Off the football field, the honey badger can rip the head off a cobra.

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The five finalists for college football's top individual honor, the Heisman Trophy, were named Monday, and boy, are these guys named!

Leading the pack to Saturday's Heisman presentation is the preseason favorite, Andrew Luck. His Stanford team is hoping its quarterback will deliver some of his name's karma against powerful Oklahoma State in the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl next month.

Then there's Wisconsin's Montee Ball, who carried the pigskin across the goal line an eye-popping 32 times this season.

The most distinguished moniker belongs to Baylor's quarterback, Robert Griffin III — or, as he's known, RG3.

The only one of this fab five who's not a name-game-changer is Alabama tailback Trent Richardson. (But the writer who covers him for the Birmingham News might qualify: His name is Izzy Gould.)

Richardson's Crimson Tide will line up against LSU in the national championship game Jan. 9 in New Orleans. And trying to tackle the star running back will be his fellow Heisman finalist, cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.

The LSU standout's nickname? "Honey Badger," in honor of what the Guinness Book of World Records dubbed the most fearless animal on Earth. (Get a look at the fierce critter here.)

(Rick Holter is a supervising editor for NPR — when he's not glued to the TV on Saturday afternoons.)

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