Manti Te’o is a middle linebacker for the San Diego Chargers. He was a four-year starter at the University of Notre Dame and won the 2012 Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation’s top defensive player.
Te’o was born on January 21, 1991 in Laie, HI and played running back and linebacker at Punahou School in Honolulu, HI. He received all-state honors and was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Hawaii after totaling 90 tackles and five sacks for Punahou. He put together another impressive season as a senior in 2008, leading his school to its first-ever state title and winning his second straight Gatorade Player of the Year Award. His 129 tackle, 11.0 sack campaign placed him among the top recruits in his class, and he received over 30 scholarship offers. On National Signing Day, he committed to the University of Notre Dame.
University of Notre Dame
As a true freshman, Te’o started nine games at outside linebacker and recorded 63 tackles, the third-highest total for a freshman in school history. He transitioned to middle linebacker prior to the start of the 2010 season and led the team with 133 tackles, eventually earning Second-Team All-American honors. He again led the Fighting Irish with 128 tackles as a junior and was named a finalist for the Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker.
Instead of leaving early for the NFL Draft, he stayed for his senior season, leading the Irish to a 12-0 regular season record and a spot in the BCS National Championship game. He led the team with 103 tackles and hauled in seven interceptions, most by a linebacker during the 2012 season. Following the season, he won the Chuck Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, and Walter Camp Award. He also finished second to Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M in Heisman balloting.
San Diego Chargers
After leaving Notre Dame as one of the most decorated college players of all-time, Te’o faced off-field scrutiny after it was discovered the death of his girlfriend was a hoax. Once considered a first-round lock, he fell to the San Diego Chargers with the 38th pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. A foot injury caused him to miss most of the preseason and the season opener for the Chargers, but he ended up starting 13 games and made 61 tackles as a rookie.
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