Dec. 26, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - University of Notre Dame freshman linebacker Manti Te'o has decided he will return to campus for the spring semester and delay his mission trip for at least one year and possibly until later in his life. Te'o will continue at Notre Dame during his sophomore year and will be a member of the Irish football team in 2010.
Te'o ranked fourth on the team in 2009 with 63 tackles including 5.5 tackles for loss, one sack and added one pass breakup. He played in all 12 games and started nine contests.
Te'o became a full-time starter for Notre Dame in the fifth game of the season against Washington and he ranked second on the Irish with 57 tackles over the final eight games (Safety Kyle McCarthy had 64 tackles in that stretch). Te'o recorded 10 tackles against both Washington and Stanford and totaled nine tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup against Boston College.
A native of Laie, Hawaii, Te'o is enrolled in Notre Dame's First Year of Studies program.
The following are quotes from Manti Te'o collected in a phone conversation by Notre Dame director of football media relations Brian Hardin:
Now is this just for next season? When will you take your mission?
Who all did you consult with on this decision?
How tough was this decision for you?
"This was probably the biggest decision that I've had to face in my entire life. I knew the impact of my decision could have a positive influence on those who follow me and those who watch what I do. I always want to have a positive influence on them. I just thought that I was sent to Notre Dame for a purpose and that is a purpose I have to devote to."
What were some of the factors that led you to the decision to return?
When did you come to the decision to return to Notre Dame?
Have you had a chance to talk to Coach Kelly about your mission?