One of Manti Te'o's neighbors is coming to his defense.
Friday afternoon, I sat down with Saint Mary's senior Ashley Prendergast, who has lived by the Irish star linebacker for the past year.
Prendergast says she's not best friends with him or anything like that because he's a private and reserved person, but she considers herself privileged to know the neighbor she had in him and that they hung out occasionally.
"He was always very caring and sweet," Prendergast said of Te'o. "He was always made sure we were safe and checked in on me and my roommate because we were the only girls in our complex this semester. Just through his actions as a neighbor I was able to see what type of person he was."
"I believe Manti is genuinely a great person. I believe his genuine spirit and sweet heart were taken advantage of."
Of course there are many holes still to sort out in Manti's story---and evidence that at some point along the way he started covering up the truth--for reasons we still do not know since he has yet to speak.
"I think he was led to maybe possibly embellish, but I do think he was 100 percent duped and I do think this is 100 percent story of loss of innocence," Prendergast said.
Many have wondered how Manti could be duped? How could he not figure this out. But remember--Manti's been known to do so much good for so many people. He's almost too trusting, his neighbor says.
"He's getting into that next stage in his life that he shouldn't be so trusting-- that he shouldn't be able to give all of him," Prendergast adds. "Though that's such a great thing about him, there needs to be some sort of judgment in his path and that unfortunately it has to be in such a public forum that he's learning his lesson."