BATON ROUGE, La. - Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu was kicked off Louisiana State's football team Friday for breaking an athletic department rule, a blow to the Tigers' national championship hopes three weeks before their season opener.
The junior defensive back - nicknamed Honey Badger for his tenacious style, small stature (5-foot-9, 175 pounds), and blond streak of hair - rose from obscurity to become one of college football's biggest stars last season.
He was a sleeper Heisman candidate as the Tigers won the Southeastern Conference championship and reached the BCS title game. They are among the favorites to win the title this year, and remain so even without Mathieu.