Dec. 8, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o finished second at the 2012 Heisman Trophy ceremony at the Best Buy Theater in New York City on Saturday. Te'o is the third defense-only player to finish in the top two of the Heisman Trophy balloting and the first since Pittsburgh defensive end Hugh Green in 1980. Iowa defensive tackle Alex Karras was the runner-up in 1957.
Including Notre Dame's seven previous winners, Te'o (Laie, Hawai'i/Punahou H.S.) is the 17th Irish player to finish in the top three (11th in the top two). It's the highest a Notre Dame player has finished since 1990 when flanker Raghib Ismail was runner-up to BYU quarterback Ty Detmer.
Te'o was Notre Dame's first Heisman Trophy finalist since quarterback Brady Quinn in 2006. Quinn finished third in that year's balloting.
Texas A&M redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel edged out Te'o. Kansas State signal caller Collin Klein finished a distant third. Te'o finished with 321 first-place votes and 1,706 points - the most ever by a defensive player in college football history.
Te'o has captured the Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year. He is the first player in college football history to sweep the aforementioned six awards. In fact, no other player in college football history has ever captured more than five major awards in one season.
Te'o nearly became the third player to ever be named a first team Academic All-American and win the Heisman in the same year joining Pete Dawkins (Army) in 1958 and Danny Wuerffel (Florida) in 1996.
Te'o, a Notre Dame team captain, has been the leader of an Irish defense that ranks first nationally by allowing just 10.3 points per game. The senior has 103 tackles and seven interceptions. Te'o has registered three-straight 100-plus tackle seasons and ranks third in Notre Dame history for career tackles at 427.
His seven interceptions are tied for third in the Football Bowl Subdivision and leads all FBS linebackers. Te'o owns the school record for interceptions by a linebacker in a single season and no FBS linebacker has registered more single-season interceptions than Te'o since 2001. He has generated nine total turnovers (two fumble recoveries), which is tied for tops in the FBS. Te'o has played a role in 11 of the 23 turnovers forced by Notre Dame's defense. He has also hurried a pair of passers on two occasions that directly resulted in interceptions
The undefeated Fighting Irish (12-0) will take on Alabama (12-1) in the Discover BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7 in Miami.
Te'o has played some of his best games in Notre Dame's biggest games this season:
- He had a season-high 12 tackles and one fumble recovery in Notre Dame's 20-3 victory over Michigan State, ranked 10th at the time.
- In a 13-6 victory at then-No. 18 Michigan, Te'o had eight tackles and two interceptions and was named the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week.
- In another Notre Dame victory, 30-13, at then-No. 8 Oklahoma, Te'o registered 11 tackles, one sack for minus-nine yards and made an interception. The 13 points the Irish allowed equaled the second-lowest total the Sooners had scored at Owen Field during the Bob Stoops era.
- Against then-No. 17 Stanford, Te'o addressed his defensive teammates in overtime just before the Cardinal lined up for a potential game-tying touchdown on fourth and goal from the one-yard line. "I love you guys, no matter what happens," Te'o told his teammates. The Irish stopped the Cardinal on fourth down and preserved their undefeated season with a 20-13 victory.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. An electorate comprised of 928 sports journalists and every living former Heisman winner determines the finalists and winner. Included in the electorate is one overall fan vote, an opportunity supported by Nissan North America, Heisman's Premier Partner.
TOP HEISMAN TROPHY FINISHES BY EXCLUSVELY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
|2||Manti Te'o||Notre Dame||2012||LB||Sr.|
|4||Marvin Jones||Florida State||1992||LB||Jr.|
|5||Ross Browner||Notre Dame||1977||DE||Sr.|
|5||Mike Reid||Penn State||1969||DT||Sr.|
|5||Ted Hendricks||Miami (FL)||1968||DE||Sr.|
|6||A.J. Hawk||Ohio State||2005||LB||Sr.|
|6||Randy Gradishar||Ohio State||1973||LB||Sr.|
|9||LaVar Arrington||Penn State||1999||LB||Jr.|
|10||Julius Peppers||North Carolina||2001||DE||Jr.|