The fans did not see the All-American athlete who was awarded eight national awards in 2012. They saw the young man who was publicly humiliated by another’s deplorable actions of what has become known by the popular MTV show “Catfish”. These mean internet romances are happening daily to men and woman of all ages and economic backgrounds, so why that all anyone remembers of this FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Year for 2011 and 2012 is how someone tricked him over the internet?
A deeper look into this linebacker shows he is only the third high school player from Hawaii to be named to the USA Today All-American Team. In his senior year, he helped lead his football team to the first-ever state championship in 2008 season. At Notre Dame, he was a Heisman Trophy candidate and was First Team Academic All-American. He was one of the most decorated college football players of all time. He was born to play this game, and clearly he plays with heart.
It would do the fans of San Diego some good to learn to love the new linebacker and embrace him just as they did with San Diego’s own no. 55, Junior Seau. That was a linebacker like no other, but Manti is a fantastic player like Seau and might be able to achieve some of the latter’s amazing career feats. Seau was a 10-time All Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection and was on the NFL’s 1990’s All-Decade team. Manti has lots of work to get to this level, but who says he can’t?
If the city and fans can embrace the athlete this young man is and stand behind him as they have with former players, the sky is the limit for Manti. If not, his talent will be eventually noticed by another team, and all San Diego fans know what happens when the good ones leave. It would do the team and the city wonders to have a new hero at linebacker.