Emotional Te'o thanks fans at Notre Dame Pep Rally

Friday night's pep rally at Notre Dame had the perfect setting.

Outside the Hesburgh Library with Touchdown Jesus as the backdrop, Notre Dame Nation rallied to show their support for their main man of Faith.

Irish captain Manti Te'o, still grieving from the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend over the last two weeks, was the center of attention.

The giant crowd sported Hawaiian Leis in support for their beloved linebacker. Irish coach Brian Kelly introduced Te'o, who thanked the crowd for the endless support.

"Four years ago I made the decision to come here and I didn't really know why," an emotional Te'o explained. "It's times like these I know why. I love each and every one of you and I can't thank you enough...

Te'o then paused and took a big breath. Kelly put his hand on Manti's shoulder to make sure that the Irish linebacker could finish his thought.

"...for all the love and support you've shown me and my family," Te'o concluded to a huge ovation. Manti then wiped away tears and began to thank his teammates, coaches and the man upstairs for their support.

"I know one thing for sure--I will see them again," Manti said of his girlfriend and grandmother. "I have faith and have peace knowing I will spend the rest of life after this with the people whom I love."

"I love you guys," Te'o told the Irish faithful. "Go Irish!"

Teammates Prince Shembo and Troy Niklas then uplifted the mood and everyone's spirits as they took the mic. Looking like Thor, Niklas ripped off his shirt and roared and received a big ovation from the females in attendance.

ESPN personality Dick Vitale also took center stage to stir up the crowd in anticipation of Saturday night's showdown with Michigan under the lights at Notre Dame Stadium.

Pregame coverage starts with NewsCenter 16 at 6 on Saturday. Countdown to Kickoff takes over at 6:30 leading you up to Notre Dame and Michigan at 7:30 all on WNDU-TV.


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