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Te’o named Bednarik semifinalist

Nov 9, 2010, 3:43 PM EDT

Already named a semifinalist for the 2010 Butkus Award, given to the nation’s top linebacker, sophomore Manti Te’o just found himself among 16 semifinalists for the Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player in the country. Te’o is one of only two sophomores on the list.

This from UND.com’s official release:

Notre Dame sophomore linebacker Manti Te’o was named one of the 16 semifinalists for the 2010 Bednarik Award on Monday which is presented to the nation’s top defensive player. Te’o has already been named a semifinalist for the 2010 Butkus Award, which is given to the nation’s outstanding collegiate linebacker.

Te’o (Laie, Hawai’i) leads the Irish in total tackles (100), tackles on running plays (71), tackles on passing plays (27), solo tackles (51) and assisted tackles (49). He also is tied for the team-lead in tackles for loss (7.0). Te’o ranks seventh in the FBS in tackles per game (11.1), 11th in total tackles (100), tied for 19th in assisted tackles (49) and tied for 20th in solo stops (51).

Te’o has registered 10 or more tackles in six of Notre Dame’s last eight games. He only has failed to reach double digits in tackles in three games this season (vs. Purdue in the season opener, Pittsburgh and Tulsa). Te’o finished with nine tackles against the Boilermakers and eight more against the Golden Hurricane.

Te’o established a career-high in tackles with 21 against Stanford on Sept. 25. He was the first player in the FBS this season to eclipse the 20-tackle barrier. In fact, no player in the FBS has had more tackles in one game against a BCS conference foe since Durell Mapp of North Carolina had 23 stops against North Carolina State on Nov. 10, 2007. In fact, it is the most tackles by a sophomore against a BCS opponent since Austin Thomas of Indiana had 22 against Michigan State on Oct. 13, 2007. It was the most tackles by a Notre Dame player since Chinedum Ndukwe had 22 in a victory over Air Force on Nov. 11, 2006. The 21-tackle effort against Stanford not only ranks as the sixth-most in single-game school history, but also ranks as the second-most ever by an Irish sophomore. Bob Crable was a sophomore when he tied the school record with 26 stops against Clemson on Nov. 17, 1979.

With three games remaining in the 2010 regular season, Te’o is headed towards one of the best tackle seasons in Irish history. He is on pace for 133 total tackles, which would rank just outside the top 10 all-time and most since Tony Furjanic had 147 in 1985. The total would also rank as the third-most ever by a Notre Dame sophomore. Crable’s school record total of 187 in 1979 and Furjanic’s total of 142 in 1983 came during each’s second year in an Irish uniform.

The winner of the 16th Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards Show on Dec. 9. Three finalists will be announced on Nov. 22 and a second round of voting will take place at that time. The formal presentation of the award will be made at the Maxwell Football Club’s Awards Dinner on Friday, Mar. 4, 2011 at the Harrah’s Entertainment Complex in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Voting will begin on Tuesday, Nov. 9th and close on Sunday Nov. 21st. Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA Head Football Coaches, Sports Information Directors and selected national media.

Other semifinalists for the award are Sam Acho of Texas, Prince Amukamara of Nebraska, Da’Quan Bowers of Clemson, Chimdi Chekwa of Ohio State, Adrian Clayborn of Iowa, Nick Fairley of Auburn, Justin Houston of Georgia, Brandon Jenkins of Florida State, Greg Jones of Michigan State, Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue, Luke Kuechly of Boston College, Drake Nevis of LSU, Stephen Paea of Oregon State, Patrick Peterson of LSU and J.J. Watt of Wisconsin.