POSTED: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 1:42pm
UPDATED: Monday, February 13, 2012 - 10:32pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Tyran Matthieu was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy not too long ago. The guy has his own nickname, the Honey Badger, even variations of the drink  in Baton Rouge and here in New Orleans.
This guy is definitely going places. But for his focus is on the next few hours.
“I think I’m becoming a leader both on and off the field,” Mathieu told NBC33 News. “I’m one of the guys on the team that the defense can count on every Saturday.
In just one year, Tyrann Mathieu has gone from a no-name, undersized back up cornerback to a household name
“I think it is a blessing. Hard work pays off but you have to keep focus on the things that you want to accomplish.”
Too much of a star that you may know him by his nickname better than his real one.
“Just try to intimidate my opponents, just play fast and violently at any point in the game you want to be violent and aggressive.
Mathieu, also known as the Honey Badger , an animal living the life like Tyrann plays football - a nickname that he says doesn’t get old.
“Not when little kids say it, but it’s pretty cool for the most part,” he said. “If I see them, I will take pictures and sign autographs, but I just try and stay at home for the most part.”
And home for him is in New Orleans, a place that has a special place in his heart - a place where he has something to prove.
“It’s an honor to play them again,” he concluded. “We just have to go out and prove that we are the best team in the country.”
Recently Mathieu conducted an interview with FOX Sports and detailed the challenges he’s faced in life. Click here  to read that full report.