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Notre Dame Football: Manti Te’o Wins Scholar-Athlete Award


Another day, another Manti Te’o award.

This time, University of Notre Dame senior linebacker, Manti Te’o, has been selected a 2012 National Scholar-Athlete by the National Football Foundation.

As part of the award, Te’o receives a $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and is one of fifteen finalists for the Campbell Trophy, the award presented to the nation’s top scholar-athlete and often referred to as “The Academic Heisman.” Should Te’o win the Campbell Trophy, the scholarship would grow to $25,000.

Nominated by their schools, which are limited to one nominee each, candidates must be a senior or graduate student in their final year of eligibility, have a grade-point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first-team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship.

Set to graduate this December with a degree in graphic design, the Laie, Hawaii, native owns a 3.32 cumulative grade-point average and was named the 2011 Notre Dame Football Student-Athlete of the Year. He was also selected as a Second Team Academic All-American and First Team All-District honoree as a junior.

Te’o is the seventeenth Notre Dame football player to receive the scholarship and the third in the last six years (John Carlson, 2007; Chris Stewart, 2010). Only Nebraska (20) and Ohio State (19) have had more players selected since the program began in 1959.

Te’o has led Notre Dame back into the spotlight with its highest national ranking since 2006. The Irish enter this week’s contest at Oklahoma ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls as well as the BCS standings. Te’o is co-captain of a defense that ranks second in scoring defense and sixth in total defense in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision.

Te’o is a two-time Second Team All-America performer who has already been named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week three times this season. He received national acclaim earlier this year for his standout performances versus Michigan State and Michigan.

Te’o leads the fifth-ranked Irish with 69 tackles and two fumble recoveries and co-shares the top spot in interceptions (four) and pass breakups (three) this season. More importantly, Te’o is the team’s unquestioned inspirational leader, and this award sets yet another fine example for his teammates to emulate.

Way to go, Te’o!

P.S. By the way, none of the fifteen scholar athletes selected attends the University of Oklahoma.

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