Nov. 17, 2012
HOUSTON - University of Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o has been named one of four finalists for the 2012 Rotary Lombardi Award.
Established in 1970, the annual award honors collegiate lineman who display courage, character and team spirit on and off the gridiron.
Te'o leads the Irish with 92 tackles and is on pace to lead the Irish in tackles for a third straight season, becoming the first Notre Dame player to accomplish that feat since Bob Crable from 1979-81.
The six interceptions recorded this year by Te'o are the most ever by a Notre Dame linebacker and he leads all linebackers in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in interceptions this year. Te'o has also recovered two fumbles and two quarterback hurries directly led to interceptions by the Irish defense.
Te'o leads the nation's No. 1 scoring defense at 11.1 points per game. Over the last 10 seasons, only six FBS teams have allowed fewer points per game than this year's Irish defense. Notre Dame ranks eighth in total defense (295.2 yards per game), sixth in rushing defense (95.9 yards per game) and 10th in pass efficiency defense.
Already named a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, Campbell Trophy and Senior CLASS Award, Te'o is also a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Walter Camp Award, Lott Trophy and Maxwell Award.
Four previous Notre Dame players have won the Lombardi Award: Aaron Taylor in 1993, Chris Zorich in 1990, Ross Browner in 1977 and Walt Patulski in 1971.
This year's winner will be announced Dec. 5 in Houston. The other three finalists are: Jadaveon Clowney from South Carolina, Barret Jones of Alabama and Jarvis Jones from Georgia.