Notre Dame Nation can breather a sigh of relief this evening. Late Sunday night, Irish junior linebacker Manti Te’o, decided against entering the 2012 NFL Draft and return to South Bend for his senior season.
Te’o surprisingly made the announcement at the Lott IMPACT Trophy awards banquet in Newport Beach, CA. He was a finalist for the award which is given out to the player who makes the biggest impact both on and off the field. The award went to Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, who continues to pile up trophies.
“I feel I’m not done at Notre Dame. I’ll be coming back to Notre Dame,” Te’o said during the ceremony.
Despite playing with a high ankle sprain pretty much all season long, Te’o still managed to have a brilliant junior year. He had a total of 111 tackles, which included 12 tackles for a loss. The linebacker also set a career high with 4.5 sacks on the season.
I knew many Irish fans were worried about Te’o leaving for the NFL a year early, but I never saw him going to the pro level a year early. Ever since he stepped foot on campus in South Bend, he always seemed like a young man who had his mind set on getting his college degree from one of the better universities in the entire country. I am glad that I was right.
With Te’o back in 2012, the Irish should have one of the better front seven’s in the entire country heading into next season.