University of Notre Dame junior linebacker Manti Te’o has been an impactful member of the Fighting Irish football team in his three years at Notre Dame but has been an even better person off the football field. Te’o was recognized for that on Tuesday.
Te’o was selected a finalist for the 2011 Lott IMPACT Trophy, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation announced. The award goes to the defensive player who has had the biggest IMPACT on his team, both on and off the field. The IMPACT acronym is Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.
Recipient of the Lott Trophy Player of the Week award following the Boston College game, Te’o leads the Irish with 111 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and four and a half sacks. He is also a finalist for the Butkus Award, presented annually to the top linebacker in college football. Te’o has been a leader on the Notre Dame first-team defense that has allowed only 14.8 points per game in the last 10 contests.
Te’o has earned a 3.37 cumulative grade-point average and was named academic all-district earlier this season. He is on the national ballot for the Capital One Academic All-America team that will be announced Dec. 8.
In June, Te’o worked at the South Bend Center for the Homeless and he has participated in numerous community service projects while at Notre Dame. He has served as a positive role model for South Bend youths and interacted with them by playing games and reading books with them.
The other three finalists for the Lott Trophy are Emmanuel Acho of Texas, Dont’a Hightower of Alabama and Luke Kuechly of Boston College.
The winner will be announced at the eighth annual Lott IMPACT Trophy awards banquet at 6 p.m. PST on Dec. 11 at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach, Calif. The banquet will be televised live on Fox Sports.
The IMPACT Foundation will award $25,000 to the general scholarship fund of thewinner’s university with each of the runner ups’ school receiving $5,000.