- FCC’s new ‘net neutrality’ proposal sparks outrage among consumer advocates
- Families of ferry’s lost confront South Korean officials
- 2-week truce for Sriracha hot sauce maker, California city
- NYC’s de Blasio seeks to ban wood-burning fireplaces
- Residents angry Obama mispronounced town’s name during mudslide visit
- Israel halts peace talks with Palestinians
- Netanyahu’s driver accused of raping girls under age 12
- Putin calls Internet ‘CIA project’ that must be controlled
- Muslims offended that 9/11 museum movie speaks of jihad
- Obama marks Armenian massacre, avoids using the word ‘genocide’
Nagurski Award: Manti Te’o takes home honor for top defensive player
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Manti Te’o got a call from Dick Butkus on Monday morning, letting him know he was voted the nation’s best linebacker. A few hours later, the Notre Dame star accepted the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player.
Oh yeah, he also picked up a trip to New York as one of the finalists for the Heisman Trophy.
Not a bad day at all.
The energetic senior from Hawaii helped put Notre Dame back in the spotlight this season, leading the top-ranked Fighting Irish to an unbeaten regular season and a date with Alabama in the BCS championship game Jan. 7.
Te’o says being mentioned along with former Nagurski winners such as Charles Woodson, Terrell Suggs, Warren Sapp and Champ Bailey is “something very special to me.”
Te’o led the nation’s top-ranked defense with 103 tackles and seven interceptions.
He beat out four other finalists: South Carolina end Jadeveon Clowney, Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones, Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and Florida State end Bjoern Werner.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly was on hand as the event’s keynote speaker at a downtown Charlotte hotel Monday night and said it’s impossible to describe what Te’o has meant to the program.
“It takes time to move from not being part of the national championship discussion for over 20 years to be right at the point of being able to be a national champion,” Kelly said. “You need somebody that can galvanize the team and somebody to get them to believe that they can do it. His actions, the way he played and the way he led did incredible things for our football program.”
Te’o said this will be a season he’ll never forget, but first he’d like to see the Fighting Irish get one more win.
“It’s something that you dream of when you’re a little kid,” Te’o said. “You never think it could happen, then it finally hits you in the face and it’s a dream come true.”
When asked what he’d rather win — a national championship or the Nagurski Award — Te’o smiled and laughed as if it’s the easiest question he’s ever answered.
“Hey, all these awards are great, but football is a team sport,” he said. “If you ask people who the Butkus Award or the Bednarik Award winners are, or even the Heisman Trophy winner some years, they probably don’t remember them. But they remember who won the national championship. They remember that. That’s the trophy everybody wants.”
Te’o said he’s anxious for the BCS title game, although it’s still a month away.
As for the 45-day layoff, he doesn’t believe it will be a factor once the game begins.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- In its hunt for Senate, Republican candidates campaign against Harry Reid
- Obamacare class-action suit opens a new legal front
- List Hillary Clinton's successes? State Dept. spokeswoman flubs answer
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- 'Conservatives' should feel exposed by Bundy's racist comments: Scarborough
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Sold out: Ukraine's leadership swapped best military weapons for cash
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014