Notre Dame football fans hope that Irish linebacker and captain Manti Te'o will receive the biggest honor in college football next week.
Te'o is expected to be named a finalist for the Heisman Trophy on Monday, with the presentation the following Saturday in New York City.
Thursday, Te'o received another tremendous honor for his contributions away from the field--named the College Football Sportsman of the Year by the Awards and Recognition Association.
"I'm a direct result of the young man my parents raised and the values that they instilled in me," Te'o said Thursday. "I'm very happy and honored to be recognized and to represent this school, this community and my family."
Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said the A.R.A. committee has chosen well.
"It's hard to imagine a more deserving candidate of an award that carries that characteristics of this one than Manti," Swarbrick said.
Te'o just wrapped up his final classes at Notre Dame. He graduates next month, earning his degree in just three and a half years. He's been heavily involved in the local community giving back to kids.
Swarbrick says Te'o embodies Notre Dame in a way very few athletes embody their team.
"Maybe a Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, maybe a Derek Jeter in New York, maybe a Bill Bradley at Princeton---but in the history of sports, it's rare," Swarbrick explained. "We have been very fortunate at Notre Dame in the last four year--culminating with this year--to have a student athlete that so perfectly captures the values of the institution."
Te'o continued to give credit to his parents.
"Parents that took the time to show me what I should do and show me by example, the person I should become," Manti explained. "I hope I made them proud."
"This award has shown me to a certain extent, I did listen to them when I was younger," Manti added with a laugh."