Dec. 5, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o won the Rotary Lombardi Award on Wednesday as college football's best lineman or linebacker. He is the second player in college football history to capture the Butkus, Nagurski and Lombardi awards in the same season.
Te'o recently became Notre Dame's 186th first-team All-America selection (AFCA). A National Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation, Te'o also is a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Bednarik Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year and Lott Trophy.
If Te'o were to receive any three of the following five awards - Maxwell, Bednarik, Walter Camp, Heisman or Lott - he would take home an unprecedented six major college football awards.
Former Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson captured five awards in 1997 (Bednarik, Nagurski, Thorpe, Walter Camp and Heisman).
The Maxwell, Bednarik and Walter Camp will be announced during Thursday's 2012 Home Depot College Football Awards show which will air on ESPN at 7:30 p.m.
Te'o is the fifth Notre Dame player to capture the Lombardi - joining defensive end Walt Patulski (1971), defensive end Ross Browner (1977), nose guard Chris Zorich (1990) and offensive tackle Aaron Taylor (1993).
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.
Top-ranked Notre Dame will play second-ranked Alabama on January 7, 2013, for the BCS National Championship.