Notre Dame senior All-America linebacker Manti Te’o (Laie, Hawai’i/Punahou) was named a Butkus Award semifinalist and Lott Trophy quarterfinalist Tuesday. Te’o is one of four players in the nation to be recognized on each list.
Te’o leads Notre Dame in total tackles (69), solo stops (33), passes defended (seven), interceptions (four), pass breakups (three) and fumble recoveries (two). He is the only player in the Football Bowl Subdivision that has averaged over nine tackles/game and collected at least three interceptions.
Only one player in the FBS has generated more turnovers than Te’o, who ranks sixth in the nation in interceptions overall and tied for the most by a linebacker. He is the only FBS player to rank in the top 10 in both interceptions and fumble recoveries. Te’o has actually played a role in eight of the 17 turnovers forced by Notre Dame’s defense. In addition to four interceptions and two fumbles recoveries, Te’o hurried passers on two occasions that resulted directly in interceptions.
Te’o has recorded 10 or more tackles in five of Notre Dame’s seven games this season and led the Irish in stops six times. He has registered 10 or more tackles 23 times and led Notre Dame in stops on 25 occasions over his career.
In 2012, Te’o has three times been named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week, four times been named the FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Week, once been named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, once been named the Bednarik Player Of The Week and once been named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week.
Te’o has collected 100 or more stops in each of the last two seasons and is on pace to do the same in 2012. Te’o became the 10th player in Irish history to record 300 tackles for a career and currently ranks fourth in school history with 393 stops. With seven more tackles, Te’o will be the third Notre Dame player to reach 400 career tackles. He likely will become the first player to lead the Irish in stops over three consecutive seasons since Bob Crable accomplished the feat in 1979, ‘80 and ‘81.
The Butkus Award honors outstanding linebackers at three levels of play, while spreading the word about the I Play Clean™ initiative, which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude, instead of resorting to performance-enhancing drugs. More information is available at www.iplayclean.org or at www.facebook.com/i.play.clean.
Finalists will be announced November 20 and winners will be announced by December 4.
The Lott IMPACT Trophy is named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and honors the student-athlete who has the biggest IMPACT on his team on and off the field. IMPACT is an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
Semifinalists for the award will be announced Nov. 13 and four finalists Nov. 28. The four finalists will be invited to the Ninth Annual Lott IMPACT Trophy Awards Ceremony in Newport Beach Dec. 9.