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Manti Te’o is Notre Dame

Nov 14, 2012, 3:19 PM EDT

Te'o Victory Stanford

It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that Manti Te’o will be playing his final home game at Notre Dame Stadium. From the day he chose Notre Dame over USC at a high school banquet in Hawaii, Te’o’s was expected to do big things at Notre Dame. Yet in his senior season, it’s hard to fathom that he’s surpassed the expectations of even the most enthusiastic Irish fans.

In a 24:7, ESPN-era that does its best to create heroic journeys for athletes that may not live up to the hype or expectations we heap on them, Te’o continually overachieves, doing just as much off the field to engender hero-worship as anything he’s done on the field. That’s no small feat when considering the record-setting season Te’o is having, a year that rightfully has him in the Heisman Trophy discussion.

At a school as polarizing as Notre Dame, where adulation is often counterbalanced by scorn, Te’o has managed to stay above the fray, almost universally admired by friends and rivals alike. (Put simply, if you’ve got a problem with Manti Te’o, you’ve got a problem with yourself.) Whether it’s his jaw-dropping athleticism on the field, his bravery and humility off it, Te’o has embodied everything Notre Dame wants not just in a student-athlete, but in a representative that’ll live on far longer than the three-and-a-half years it has taken Te’o to graduate.

In all the decades it took to build the legend of Notre Dame, it’s amazing to think that a Mormon from Hawaii, who committed to Notre Dame after witnessing one of the darkest moment in Notre Dame Stadium of the past 20 years, has almost single-highhandedly sparked a long awaited revival of Irish football.

But that’s Manti Te’o.

There will be other five-star recruits, All-American linebackers, and Notre Dame greats to walk out of that tunnel. But it’s hard to think of anybody that’s done more for a Irish football program that has so desperately needed a singular player to lead it out of the malaise of the past 20 years.

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  1. domer77blowsgoats - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    This has to be one of the more ridiculous comment sections I have seen in some time re: Manti hype being too much

    Does every successful team not have a star, a face of the franchise, a crowd and media favorite?

    Yankees = Jeter
    Heat = Labron
    Patriots = Brady

    this list is obviously infinite – Manti embodies everything an ND man should. Combined with a unfortunate tragedy and a breakout ND season led by our defense, which he leads, this attention level is well deserved.

    Bitching about Te’o hype – never thought I would read that

    • nudeman - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      No one is saying he isn’t a great football player, doesn’t embody everything ND is all about, didn’t have an awful life tragedy to deal with this year, etc etc.
      All of that is true.
      Wonderful guy, wonderful player, good student, terrible tragedy this year.

      And no one is “bitching”, either, except you.

      Point is simple: The subject has already been covered numerous times and frankly there are other seniors who deserve some love too.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM

        so let me get this straight… you aren’t bitching by bitching this subject has been beaten to death?

        ah got it

        What a horrible idea to honor the most respected and influential ND player in the last 25+ years before his last home game

        $10 he gets booed running out of the tunnel…

  2. nudeman - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    I just looked at the ND roster and here are all the seniors who barring a 5th year are playing their last game at ND Stadium. Some we almost never hear about.

    How about some information on some of these guys who practice every day, don’t get the recognition for their hard work but might be just as wonderful of a representative for ND as T’eo. I hope they ALL get in on Saturday.

    #92 Tyler Stockton
    #89 KLM
    #88 Jake Golic
    #81 John Goodman
    #71 Dennis Mahoney
    #70 Zack Martin
    #66 Chris Watt
    #62 Matt Tansey
    #57 Mike Golic
    #52 Braxston Cave
    #49 Blake Breslau
    #48 Dan Fox
    #44 Carlo
    #40 Nick Tausch
    #38 Nick Fitzpatrick
    #36 Will Salvi
    #35 Ben Turk
    #26 Jamoris Slaughter (injured, of course)
    #24 Chris Salvi
    #20 Cierre
    #15 Dan McCarthy
    #9 Robby Toma
    #6 Theo

    • domer77blowsgoats - Nov 15, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      yup – plenty of reasons why #49 Blake Breslau or #62 Matt Tansey should have national media attention – just don’t understand why Rome isn’t beating down their dorm room door?

      while im sure they are nice guys and great representatives of ND – by definition not everyone can’t be a star

      what are we in a 10 year old gymnastics competition? “and 15th place goes to…..”

      hey Keith where is my recognition and reward just for posting today?

      • nudeman - Nov 15, 2012 at 3:31 PM

        I will attempt to clarify my point again, recognizing that you come here with a tired agenda of presenting yourself as Board Monitor & The Conscience of Notre Dame Football (if not the Western Hemisphere).

        1. I love T’eo. Period. Best LB I’ve seen in an ND uni for a long, long time. And an even better human being.

        2. The next article or NBC segment I see on him will seem like the 500th, and that’s just in the last few weeks. Love the guy, but enough already.

        3. Playing football for a major program like ND doesn’t mean you’re automatically in the spotlight. Some of the seniors I mentioned and the ones you ridiculed might never have gotten into a game in 4 years. Despite that, they’ve practiced, played on the scout team, had to to the work in class and who knows? Maybe one or two of them endured personal tragedy like Manti did. These are in some ways the unsung heroes. Why not a sentence or two or a quote from each of them? Don’t like the idea? Don’t read it.

        4. I respect that you’ve never played sports and don’t quite grasp what I’m talking about here. So I forgive you. And I’ll also pay you to go away. You really add nothing here except the obvious, the bitching, and tired old lines like “Hey what is wrong with you people; we’re 10-0!!”
        Wow … where would we be as enlightened people without that?

      • dmac4real - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        Nude:

        If you want to read a piece like that, FishOutOfWater did a great piece on all the Walk on player’s and their stories this past summer over at OneFootDown. I think you would enjoy that.

      • 1historian - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:52 AM

        Manti Te’o is NOT Notre Dame. Manti Te’o is Manti Te’o – a fine young man who is a terrific athlete who has survived personal tragedy in a way that reflects well on him and his upbringing.

        He is also the beneficiary of one of the best (and most shameless) publicity machines in the country.

        “by definition not everyone can’t be a star” – what, I might ask, does that mean?

    • 1historian - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:54 AM

      Could you see if you could get his number right?

  3. dmac4real - Nov 15, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    How anybody can read the stories about Manti or watch that video and say he is getting to much undeserved attention is ridiculous. That man has more love for his family, team and community than I have ever seen in an athlete and deserves every bit of attention that he gets, even though he does not want it.

  4. c4evr - Nov 16, 2012 at 2:06 AM

    Didn’t say he deserved any blame, those are your words. But who’s responsible for the more than 100 point drop off in point production through 10 games from last year? I guess Kelly’s immune to any criticism for that as well. And even Ty led them to a BCS bowl, so yeah it happens that idiots can lead a college team to a BCS bowl game. Kelly was hired as an offensive guy who could rack up points using the spread. This year’s offense is ranked lower than the previous 2 years while the defense jumped from being in the 50’s the first 2 year’s up to #11 this year – so yes, the defense is carrying the lion’s share of the load and Diaco & T’eo deserve the lion’s share of credit. No need to bicker with you, wait and see what next year brings.

  5. littleirishfan - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Manti and the Irish, you are awesome!!! Keep it up and GOOOO IRISH!!

  6. seamus0317 - Nov 18, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    HeisManti

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