Dec. 3, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o was honored with the 28th annual collegiate Butkus Award® Monday. The announcement came in a surprise telephone call by legendary linebacker and award namesake Dick Butkus and his son Matt. A presentation is planned for December 17 on the Notre Dame campus as part of an "I Play Clean" workshop series.
Te'o was selected by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists coordinated by Pro Football Weekly.
"Manti Te'o embodies the toughness, intensity, competitiveness and on-field demeanor of a throwback performer like Dick Butkus himself," said Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly. "Te'o was the first ever High School Butkus winner (2008), and he has lived up to all the expectations and positioned his team for a chance at the national championship. He has been an inspiration to his team and community, and serves as a model citizen."
Te'o finished with 83 points in the Butkus Award voting system. Finishing second was Jarvis Jones of Georgia (54 points) and third was C.J. Mosley of Alabama (21 points). Kevin Minter of LSU and Dion Jordan of Oregon were tied for fourth.
Te'o leads the Irish with 103 tackles. He is the second Notre Dame player to ever collect at least 100 tackles in three consecutive seasons (Bob Crable, 1979-81). Te'o is the third player in Irish history to record 400 career tackles and currently ranks third in school history with 427 stops.
Te'o has recorded seven interceptions in 2012, which is tied for second in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total interceptions. He has set a Notre Dame single-season record for most interceptions by a linebacker. In fact, no FBS linebacker in the past 11 seasons has collected more single-season interceptions than Te'o. He has generated nine total turnovers (seven interceptions and two fumble recoveries), which is tied for the most of any FBS player. Te'o has actually played a role in 11 of the 23 turnovers forced by Notre Dame's defense in '12. In addition to the seven interceptions and two fumble recoveries, he has hurried two quarterbacks on plays that directly resulted in interceptions.
Te'o has started 48 career games at Notre Dame, including each of the last 47 contests. That is the longest streak of any linebacker in the nation and fourth longest of any defensive player in the country.
Te'o already became Notre Dame's 186th All-American first team selection (AFCA). A National Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation and finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Nagurski Award, Lombardi Trophy, Maxwell Award, Bednarik Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year and Lott Trophy.
Notre Dame will play Alabama January 7, 2013, for the BCS National Championship.