It has already been a great week for Manti Te’o and it’s only Monday. The Notre Dame linebacker received two major awards on Monday, while also learning that he will be one of three Heisman Trophy finalists later this week in New York.
Joining Te’o in New York for Saturday’s Heisman ceremony will be Texas A&M quarterback and Kansas State University quarterback Collin Klein. Former Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer made the announcement on ESPN.
Te’o was in Charlotte, NC on Monday for the Bronko Nagurski Award ceremony. His day started when he received a surprise call from Dick Butkus to give Te’o the news that he is the 2012 Butkus Award winner. The honor, instituted in 1985, goes annually to the nation’s top linebacker.
Te’o also won the Nagurski award later in the day. That honor goes to the top defensive player in the country. He was asked in Charlotte if he would rather win the national championship or the Nagurski Award.
“All these awards are great, but football is a team sports,” Te’o answered. “If you ask people who the Butkus Award or the Bednarik Award winners are or even the Heisman Trophy winner some years, they probably don’t remember them. But they remember who won the national championship. They remember that. That’s the trophy everybody wants.”
Te’o led unbeaten Irish with 103 tackles this season. His seven interceptions are the most for any linebacker and are the second most for any player in 2012.
Notre Dame Brian Kelly was on hand with Te’o in Charlotte and was the keynote speaker at the event’s ceremony.
“You need somebody that can galvanize the team and somebody to get them to believe that they can do it,” Kelly said of Te’o’s leadership. “His actions, the way he played and the way he led did incredible things for our football program.”
The Butkus and Nagurski awards make the second and third postseason honors Te’o has won since last Thursday. He received the ARA Sportsmanship Award that day before going to the Notre Dame – Kentucky basketball game. Te’o is also up for the Campbell Trophy, Lombardi Award, Maxwell Award, Bednarik Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy, and the Heisman Trophy this week.
He will make two stops in New York and trips to Houston, Orlando and Newport Beach, CA for those award ceremonies.