Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Notre Dame's Te'o a Heisman finalist, Butkus Award winner

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If the first day of Manti Te'o's awards tour was any indication, the Notre Dame linebacker will have to check an extra bag or two on the way home to South Bend.

Te'o -- in Charlotte, N.C., for the Nagurski Trophy (for the nation's best defensive player) presentation tonight -- got a surprise phone call from Dick Butkus on Monday morning, informing him that he'd been named the 2012 recipient of the Butkus Award, given to the nation's best linebacker.

Later in the day, as expected, Te'o was named one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy, to be awarded on Saturday in New York. He'll be joined on stage by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.

Te'o finished with 83 points in the Butkus Award voting system, ahead of Georgia's Jarvis Jones (54 points) and Alabama's C.J. Mosley (21). LSU's Kevin Minter and Oregon's Dion Jordan were tied for fourth.

After the Nagurski ceremony tonight, Te'o heads to New York for the Campbell Trophy (top scholar-athlete) on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he'll be in Houston for the Lombardi Award presentation (best lineman, though Te'o and Jones are both among the four finalists). On Thursday, Te'o heads to Orlando for the nationally televised Home Depot College Football Awards Show, where he'll be up for the Maxwell and Bednarik awards. Then on Friday, he'll likely be headed to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist (the finalists will be announced at 5 p.m. central time today). On Sunday, he'll head to Newport Beach, Calif., for the presentation of the Lott IMPACT Award.

"He's burned out," said Irish coach Brian Kelly -- who's making the rounds alongside Te'o -- on Sunday night. "There's no question. He's on fumes right now. He also respects where he is in this process, to be mentioned for the kinds of awards he is. ... He's finding the energy to be engaged in all these things."

Notre Dame recruit Jaylon Smith, of Fort Wayne Bishop Luers High School, also got a call from Butkus this morning, informing him he was the high school winner of the Butkus Award. Te'o was the first high school winner of the award.

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Such a humble guy with great character. Manti's performance on the field speaks volumns. Incrediable performance from an defensive player.

At the link, you will find a wonderful and fitting video tribute to a player for the ages: The University of Notre Dame's Manti Teo.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Lazerus published on December 3, 2012 1:22 PM.

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