Oct. 25, 2012
DALLAS - University of Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o has been selected a 2012 National Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation.
As a National Scholar-Athlete, Te'o receives a $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and is one of 15 finalists for the Campbell Trophy, the award presented to the nation's top scholar-athlete and often referred to as "The Academic Heisman." Should Te'o win the Campbell Trophy, the scholarship would grow to $25,000.
The National Scholar-Athlete program awards the top football student-athletes from all NCAA divisions and NAIA for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities. Fifteen class members were selected this year from a nationwide pool of 147 semifinalists.
Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade-point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship. The 147 semifinalists for the award were announced on Sept. 27 and the NFF Awards Committee selected this year's class. The NFF Awards Committee is comprised of a nationally recognized group of media, College Football Hall of Famers and athletics administrators.
Te'o is the 17th Notre Dame football player to receive the scholarship and the third in the last six years (John Carlson, 2007; Chris Stewart, 2010). Only Nebraska (20) and Ohio State (19) have had more players selected since the program began in 1959.
Te'o has led Notre Dame back into the spotlight with its highest national ranking since 2006. The Irish enter this week's contest at Oklahoma ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches' polls as well as the BCS standings. Te'o is co-captain of a defense that ranks second in scoring defense and sixth in total defense in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.
Set to graduate this December with a degree in graphic design, the Laie, Hawaii, native owns a 3.32 cumulative grade-point average and was named the 2011 Notre Dame Football Student-Athlete of the Year. He was also selected as a Second Team Academic All-American and First Team All-District honoree as a junior.
Te'o is a two-time Second Team All-America performer who has already been named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week three times this season. He received national acclaim earlier this year for his standout performances versus Michigan State and Michigan.
A finalist for the Butkus Award and the Lott Trophy as a junior, Te'o has led the Irish to consecutive bowl berths, including a win in the 2010 Sun Bowl. His 133 tackles in 2010 were the most by a Notre Dame player in 27 years, and he recorded the third-most tackles (63) ever by an Irish freshman. Te'o leads the fifth-ranked Irish with 69 tackles and two fumble recoveries (two) and co-shares the top spot in interceptions (four) and pass breakups (three) this season.
Te'o will be one of the honored guests at the National Football Foundation's Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 4 in New York City. Also honored at the awards dinner will be former Notre Dame tight end and 2012 College Football Hall of Fame inductee Dave Casper.
The 2012 National Scholar-Athlete Class:
Matt Barkley, QB, USC
Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska
Cody Davis, S, Texas Tech
Nick Driskill, S, Mount Union (Ohio)
Nick Florence, QB, Baylor
Nabal Jefferson, DT, Northern Illinois
Barrett Jones, C, Alabama
Aaron Mullane, OL, West Texas A&M
Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
Nolan Nearhoof, DE, Robert Morris
Ethan Peterson, OL, MIT
Sean Renfree, QB, Duke
Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame
Patrick Ward, OT, Northwestern
Shane Zackery, WR, Saint Xavier (Ill.)