Best College Football Nicknames for 2012
The Nickname Game
It looks like good nicknames are on their way back in college football.
Notre Dame’s Raghib “Rocket” Ismail, USC’s O.J. Simpson - a.k.a. “The Juice,” “The Four Horsemen” of Fighting Irish fame and “The Galloping Ghost” Red Grange (pictured) of Illinois are just some of the great ones from years past.
We examine the Top 5 nicknames for 2012 from the college gridiron, which have a decidedly old-school feel - even if they have new-school influence.
5. Geno Smith: “Genocide Smith”
This nickname is actually an accident that comes courtesy of the Twitter feed of ESPN’s Todd McShay, who tweeted in part last fall: “WVU QB Genocide Smith off to a fast start.” The accidental tweet that clearly came courtesy of auto-correct was quickly taken down - but not before the internet took notice.
But while its genesis - like many nicknames - is from a mistake or distortion of someone’s actual name, it elicits a chuckle every time we hear it for its ridiculousness - even if the word is not funny at all.
A perfectly normal college quarterback has been nicknamed after a word that represents the extermination of a racial, political or cultural group? Thanks a lot, auto-correct.
Photo: Douglas Jones/US Presswire
4. De’Anthony Thomas: “Black Mamba“
“Black Mamba” is a retread, as Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is already nicknamed after the deadly snake, but it’s still cool. Plus, Thomas - a Los Angeles native - was given the moniker by Snoop Dogg while playing Pop Warner football against the rapper’s team in 2005.
Who wouldn’t want to be given a nickname by the D-O double G? Exactly. That’s why there’s room for a second “Black Mamba,” which is an aggressive and deadly snake. Like Bryant on the court, Thomas has proven to be a deadly weapon for Oregon on the gridiron as one of the fastest players in college football who carried the ball twice for a total of 155 yards and two touchdowns in last January’s Rose Bowl.
Photo: Richard Mackson/US Presswire
3. Jadeveon Clowney: “Doo Doo”
If you watched the interview with George Brett during the “Home Run Derby” on Monday night, you are familiar with “little poopies.”
Now we’d like to introduce you to “Doo Doo” Clowney. Yes, that’s Jadeveon Clowney, the star South Carolina defensive end, whose nickname was revealed on a Christmas Eve party advertisement that sparked thoughts of NCAA infractions. The nickname led to natural jokes on the internet, such as “Not sure which name is worse: Doo Doo or Jadeveon Clowney.”
Personally, we love it and hope Clowney redefines the phrase one sack at a time.
Photo: Jeremy Brevard/US Presswire
2. Denard Robinson: “Shoelace”
Dynamic Michigan QB Denard Robinson, one of the favorites for the Heisman Trophy this fall, only tops his ability on the field with one thing: His nickname. Robinson has been called “Shoelace” since he was a pee-wee football player because he never tied his shoes.
It’s not a habit he has grown out of, either. So we love the reverse logic - sort of like calling a 400-pound guy “Tiny.” Robinson sounds like he could be a member of the “Little Rascals” with that kind of nickname alongside “Spanky,” “Stymie,” “Froggy” and “Porky.”
Photo: Rick Osentoski/US Presswire
1. Tyrann Mathieu: “Honey Badger”
Who else could be No. 1? Mathieu was one of the best players on one of the best defenses in the country. But he’s known more by his nickname “Honey Badger,” which came from a viral YouTube video that was narrated by comedian Christopher Zane Gordon. The famous line is that the “Honey Badger” takes what he wants - just like Mathieu.
We can thank LSU’s John Chavis, who caught wind of the video and helped it take on a new life in the Tigers’ secondary. The nickname went viral almost as quickly as the comedy video with t-shirts, media coverage and separate YouTube videos for Mathieu.
Something tells us this nickname is going to stick with Mathieu forever.
Photo: Marvin Gentry/US Presswire