Oct. 19, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame senior All-America linebacker Manti Te'o (Laie, Hawai'i/Punahou) is one of 10 Football Bowl Subdivision student-athletes to be selected as a finalist for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate football. The award honors student athletes who excel both on and off the gridiron and has notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Te'o, the only player in the Football Bowl Subdivision that has averaged over nine tackles/game and collected at least three interceptions, has been tabbed a candidate for the Bednarik (top defensive player), Nagurski (top defensive player), Lombardi (top lineman or linebacker) and Butkus (top linebacker) Awards, as well as highlights just about every 2012 midseason All-America squad. He ranks second in the FBS among active players in career tackles and sixth in tackles per game.
Te'o leads the Irish in total tackles (59), solo stops (32), pass breakups (three) and fumble recoveries. He 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 Notre Dame history to record 300 tackles for a career and currently ranks fourth in school history with 383 stops. He most 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.
Te'o has recorded 10 or more tackles in four of Notre Dame's six games this season and led the Irish in stops on five occasions. He has eclipsed double-digits in tackles 22 times and led Notre Dame in stops on 24 different occasions in his career.
Te'o has played a role in seven of the 15 turnovers forced by Notre Dame's defense. He has recorded three interceptions, recovered two fumbles and hurried passers on two occasions that resulted in interceptions.
In 2012, Te'o has three times been named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week, twice 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.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in September. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website through December 3. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches' votes to determine the winner.
The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2012-13 bowl season.