For those keeping track, it’s been a big week for Irish All-American linebacker Manti Te’o. If a 12-0 season and a date in the national championship game weren’t enough reasons to validate coming back for his senior season, Te’o just became the fourth Notre Dame player to be named the Walter Camp Player of the Year, joining Ken MacAfee, Tim Brown, and Raghib Ismail.
“Manti Te’o’s performance on and off the football field has made him an outstanding recipient of the Walter Camp Player of the Year award,” Walter Camp Football Marks said in a statement. “His consistency, leadership, and perseverance have been trademarks of the Fighting Irish’s outstanding 2012 season.”
To recap a week filled with kudos for Te’o:
Butkus Award, Best linebacker.
Nagurski Award, Best defensive player.
Lombardi Award, Best lineman or linebacker.
Walter Camp Award, National player of the year.
Interestingly, The Walter Camp is voted on by 124 football head coaches and sports information directors, quite a different allotment than the Heisman Trophy. Te’o beat out finalists Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M quarterback, Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, USC wide receiver Marqise Lee, and Oregon running back Kenjon Barner.
Te’o is just the third defensive player to ever earn the honor, joining former Pitt defensive end Hugh Green (1980) and Michigan defensive back Charles Woodson, who won in 1997.
With rain falling and the forecast expecting much more, Notre Dame and Clemson are kicking off in primetime anyway.
College GameDay was on campus this morning, showcasing the soggy conditions and the mud-covered campus. And while some wondered whether or not the kickoff would move up to earlier in the day to take advantage of a slight lull in the conditions, kickoff is remaining at 8:22 p.m.
“We’ve been in constant communication with state and local law enforcement and have monitored weather throughout the week and today,” director of athletics Dan Radakovich said in a statement Friday night. “I’ve spoken with campus leaders, State Highway Patrol, and Governor Nikki Haley, and feel confident we can play the game as scheduled. We ask our fans to be conscientious arriving and departing from our campus as we will have some limitations due to this ongoing weather event.”
Ball security will be key this evening, and during an interview with Tom Rinaldi this morning Kelly mentioned the punting and kick game as concerns in these conditions. The Irish came to Clemson prepared for miserable conditions and if the forecast holds, they’ll get just that.
Notre Dame’s tight end recruiting keeps rolling. The Irish received a commitment from Illinois tight end Cole Kmet, who adds a third piece to Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting class.
Kmet is a 6-foot-4, 230-pounder, joining fellow blue-chipper 2017 tight end Brock Wright in next year’s recruiting class (they won’t sign until February 2017). He had early offers from plenty of the top programs around the country, but picked Notre Dame over finalist Ohio State, a nice recruiting victory for Scott Booker and Brian Kelly.
Kmet talked about the decision with Irish 247 who broke the news:
“I think it was just a gut feeling knowing it was Notre Dame,” Kmet to Irish 247. “I didn’t want to pass on playing for that program and attending that university. It’s always been the school I wanted an offer from and Ohio State made it really close, but I just couldn’t pass on Notre Dame.”