Skip to content

Te’o wins Butkus Award (Jaylon Smith does too)

Dec 3, 2012, 2:49 PM EST

Irish linebacker Te'o follows the play against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during their NCAA college football game at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend

After shedding 15 pounds in the offseason to help make him a faster player, Manti Te’o better be careful. On the banquet circuit, the pounds pile on pretty quickly.

Te’o, on the first stop of an awards tour that’ll pile plenty of kudos on Notre Dame’s middle linebacker, was awarded the 28th annual Butkus Award today for being the nation’s top linebacker. He received a congratulatory phone call from the legendary linebacker himself today and will receive the award on December 17th back on campus at Notre Dame.

Te’o’s senior season, where he tallied 103 tackles and had seven interceptions as he led the Irish to a 12-0 record, was good enough to have him selected by a panel of 51 coaches, scouts, journalists, and recruits as the winner with 83 points. He finished ahead of Georgia’s Jarvis Jones (54), C.J. Mosley of Alabama (21), Kevin Winter  of LSU and Dion Jordan of Oregon.

“Manti Te’o embodies the toughness, intensity, competitiveness and on-field demeanor of a throwback performer like Dick Butkus himself,” said Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly in a statement. “Te’o was the first ever High School Butkus winner (2008), and he has lived up to all the expectations and positioned his team for a chance at the national championship. He has been an inspiration to his team and community, and serves as a model citizen.”

Making the Butkus Award a truly Notre Dame affair, Irish commit Jaylon Smith was awarded the high school Butkus Award, with the five-star Bishop Luers linebacker also getting a phone call from Butkus to receive the good news. At 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, Smith led his high school team to another state championship, carrying the offensive load as a running back while also starring at linebacker, a position he’ll play in South Bend.

“Jaylon Smith distinguished himself on the field and in the classroom. Already committed to Notre Dame, Smith has been a part of four state championship teams. He was a dominant two-way performer with the talent to follow in Te’o’s footsteps,” said Arkush in a press release.

The Butkus Award honors the best linebacker in the country, but also emphasizes the work players do off the field.

Latest Posts
  1. Pregame Six Pack: The present and future of a key rivalry

    Nov 28, 2014, 12:54 PM EST

    UNC at Notre Dame UNC at Notre Dame

    Expectations have been recalibrated. But it doesn’t take a view from 30,000 feet to understand the importance of Notre Dame’s annual battle with USC. Let’s get to a special rivalry edition of the pregame six pack.

  2. Notre Dame football players: Why I’m Thankful

    Nov 27, 2014, 10:00 AM EST

    Luke Massa, Kyle Brindza Luke Massa, Kyle Brindza

    With the Irish heading to Southern California to try and finish the regular season with a much-needed eighth victory, seniors Austin Collinsworth, Kyle Brindza, Cam McDaniel and Christian Lombard look back on a football career that’s now ending.

  3. And in that corner… The USC Trojans

    Nov 26, 2014, 12:10 PM EST

    The greatest intersectional rivalry in college football might not have the shine of previous years, but it doesn’t make it any less important. Both Notre Dame and USC will enter the Coliseum desperate for a victory.

  4. Secondary depth chart reaches red-line status

    Nov 26, 2014, 11:47 AM EST

    Michigan v Notre Dame Getty Images

    A one-armed man. Two guys sentenced to a year in the house. And a parolee. Sounds like the cast list for a new cop drama. But that’s the safety depth chart entering the final Saturday of the regular season.

  5. Kyle McCarthy: Blessed with ND football during cancer fight

    Nov 25, 2014, 7:38 PM EST

    Washington v Notre Dame Getty Images

    Throughout the ups and downs of the football season, one thing was a constant in graduate assistant Kyle McCarthy’s first season of coaching. A life or death battle with cancer.

  6. Irish defense loses Jones, Tranquill for season

    Nov 25, 2014, 2:59 PM EST

    Notre Dame v Syracuse Notre Dame v Syracuse

    The hits just keep coming for Notre Dame’s defense. On Tuesday, Brian Kelly confirmed that defensive tackle Jarron Jones would be lost for the season. He also announced that safety Drue Tranquill tore his ACL, ending the freshman safety’s season as well.

  7. The good, the bad, the ugly: Notre Dame vs. Louisville

    Nov 24, 2014, 2:24 PM EST

    Brian Kelly Brian Kelly

    The Irish exited Notre Dame Stadium for the last time in 2014. And for the second-straight week they sang the alma mater after a defeat, taking another step backwards from a home-field advantage Brian Kelly and the Irish had quietly built over the past few seasons.

    Let’s take a look at the good, bad and ugly of Notre Dame’s 31-28 loss to Louisville.

  8. Young defensive front up for another challenge against USC

    Nov 24, 2014, 10:42 AM EST

    Jacob Matuska, Reggie Bonnafon Jacob Matuska, Reggie Bonnafon

    It appears that Notre Dame’s already youthful defensive line is going to be getting even younger on Saturday. After losing Jarron Jones essentially on the first play of Saturday’s 31-28 loss to Louisville, a Sunday MRI will determine the severity of the injury and whether he can play again this season.

  9. Five things we learned: Louisville 31, Notre Dame 28

    Nov 22, 2014, 8:40 PM EST

    Austin Collinsworth, Joe Schmidt Austin Collinsworth, Joe Schmidt

    Kyle Brindza stared down his spot. Envisioned making the kick. Took a final deep breath before waiting for the snap.

    And then he missed it.

  10. Live chat — Notre Dame vs. Louisville

    Nov 22, 2014, 3:15 PM EST

    Rice v Notre Dame Getty Images

    How will the regular season end for the Irish? Let’s talk about it here during the home finale from Notre Dame Stadium.

  11. Mailbag: Still steaming mad about last week

    Nov 22, 2014, 12:33 PM EST

    New Mailbox

    With the questions (understandably) a little bit more filled with frustration than usual, it seems more than a few of you are searching for answers to last week’s loss still. Let’s answer a few mailbag questions before the game.

  12. Former Irish greats talk about their favorite Notre Dame memories

    Nov 22, 2014, 10:42 AM EST

    Washington v Notre Dame Getty Images

    With Senior Day a perfect time to look back, some former Notre Dame football greats are looking back at their time with the Irish. And they’re doing it in a pretty cool way.

  13. Pregame Six Pack: Battling Louisville in Senior sendoff

    Nov 21, 2014, 4:31 PM EST

    Notre Dame v Arizona State Getty Images

    And just like that, Notre Dame’s season is nearly over. While losing three of four games has dampened the spirits of fans and detoured the team’s postseason hopes, the Irish will play their final game at home on Saturday, a senior sendoff in Notre Dame Stadium for a large group with a still-to-be-determined future.

  14. After unexplainable loss, can Irish rally again?

    Nov 20, 2014, 2:21 PM EST

    BYU v Notre Dame Getty Images

    Few memories are shorter collectively than football fans. Every mistake is magnified in the prism of “now,” with the devastation of a difficult to understand loss like last weekend’s to Northwestern consistently taking dead aim at the foundation of a football program, regardless of its stability.

  15. Louisville Mailbag: Now Open

    Nov 19, 2014, 11:07 PM EST

    New Mailbox

    Send your questions in below. Or on Twitter @KeithArnold.

  16. And in that corner… The Louisville Cardinal

    Nov 19, 2014, 9:30 AM EST

    DeVante Parker, Tyler Hunter DeVante Parker, Tyler Hunter

    Another Saturday, another football game for Notre Dame. And because of last weekend’s loss to Northwestern, the Irish face what now feels like a must-win game on Senior Day.

    Mark Ennis gets us ready for the Louisville Cardinals.

  17. Kyle McCarthy announces he’s cancer free

    Nov 19, 2014, 12:02 AM EST

    Washington v Notre Dame Getty Images

    Notre Dame graduate assistant Kyle McCarthy took to Twitter to share the good news that he’s been given a cancer-free diagnosis. The former Irish captain had been battling an undisclosed type of cancer since earlier this year, staying with the team throughout surgery and multiple treatments.

  18. BK: “We’re going to fight through this rough spot”

    Nov 18, 2014, 4:40 PM EST

    Purdue v Notre Dame Getty Images

    Brian Kelly met with the media this afternoon, a few days into preparation for Louisville. While there were certainly questions about how the Irish were going to challenge a Cardinals team with some really exceptional personnel on both sides of the ball, the focus was mostly on the guys inside Notre Dame’s locker room.

  19. The good, the bad, the ugly: Notre Dame vs. Northwestern

    Nov 17, 2014, 1:22 PM EST

    Will Fuller, Nick VanHoose Will Fuller, Nick VanHoose

    A little less than 48 hours after Notre Dame’s loss to Northwestern, it doesn’t seem like too many people are over it. So let’s dispense with the introductions and pull the band-aid.

    Here’s the good, bad and ugly from Saturday’s disastrous 43-40 loss to the Wildcats.

  20. Former Irish back Jonas Gray has monster game for Patriots

    Nov 17, 2014, 10:46 AM EST

    Jonas Gray Navy

    Jonas Gray became the NFL’s overnight sensation. It only took three long years for him to get there. The former Irish back dominated in a breakthrough game for the Patriots.