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When word got out that Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco would interview for the vacant Boston College football coaching position, Irish fans were predictably all like ...
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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 in Charlotte, N.C., as the nation's top defensive player.
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Te'o Takes Two Trophies
It has already been a great week for Manti Te’o and it’s only Monday. The Notre Dame linebacker received two major awards on Monday, while also learning that he will be one of three Heisman Trophy finalists later this week in New York.
Joining Te’o in New York for Saturday’s Heisman ceremony will be Texas A&M quarterback and Kansas State University quarterback Collin Klein. Former Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer made the announcement on ESPN.
Te’o was in Charlotte, NC on Monday for the Bronko Nagurski Award ceremony. His day started when he received a surprise call from Dick Butkus to give Te’o the news that he is the 2012 Butkus Award winner. The honor, instituted in 1985, goes annually to the nation’s top linebacker.
Te’o also won the Nagurski award later in the day. That honor goes to the top defensive player in the country. He was asked in Charlotte if he would rather win the national championship or the Nagurski Award.
“All these awards are great, but football is a team sports,” Te’o answered. “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 led unbeaten Irish with 103 tackles this season. His seven interceptions are the most for any linebacker and are the second most for any player in 2012.
Notre Dame Brian Kelly was on hand with Te’o in Charlotte and was the keynote speaker at the event’s ceremony.
“You need somebody that can galvanize the team and somebody to get them to believe that they can do it,” Kelly said of Te’o’s leadership. “His actions, the way he played and the way he led did incredible things for our football program.”
The Butkus and Nagurski awards make the second and third postseason honors Te’o has won since last Thursday. He received the ARA Sportsmanship Award that day before going to the Notre Dame – Kentucky basketball game. Te’o is also up for the Campbell Trophy, Lombardi Award, Maxwell Award, Bednarik Award, Lott IMPACT Trophy, and the Heisman Trophy this week.
He will make two stops in New York and trips to Houston, Orlando and Newport Beach, CA for those award ceremonies.
Hunter Happy To Host Cooks
Torii Hunter Jr. has visited Notre Dame three times over the last several months, but on Thursday night the Irish wide receiver pledge played host as Notre Dame assistant Kerry Cooks made an in-home visit.
“It was pretty fun,” the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder from Prosper, Texas said.
“We sat around and talked; just me, my mom, my dad and Coach Cooks. My brother came in at the end. It was really casual. It wasn’t too uptight. We talked about football for a little bit and then after that, it was my dad talking.”
Hunter’s father, who recently signed a free agent deal with the Detroit Tigers, is known for his gift of gab, but Cooks had plenty to say as well.
“They kind of know the same people, so they just reminisced about old times,” Hunter Jr. said. “It was pretty funny to hear them tell stories and we just all kind of joked around and stuff.”
The overall feeling of the visit only reinforced the decision Hunter made to choose Notre Dame over other schools like Nebraska, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Arizona among others.
“I really feel like I picked the right place,” he said. “I don’t have to feel awkward around my coach. I can be comfortable around him and just be myself.
“It really does show that they care about me and they really think highly of me; that’s the vibe I got out of it.”
Hunter will be seeing members of the Irish staff multiple times after the new year.
“I think they’re coming down the second or third week of January,” he said. “They’re coming down to watch the All-American game and then I think they’ll be back some time that week of Jan. 14th (with head coach Brian Kelly).”
Hunter is excited to be a part of January’s Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
“That should be pretty fun,” he said. “I’ll get to go up against the top talent in the nation just like The Opening.”
Hunter earned MVP honors at The Opening in Oregon this summer, but isn’t feeling any pressure to back up that performance this winter.
“Not really,” he said. “I just I’ll go out there and play my game.”
He’s been impressed with how much Notre Dame has accomplished so soon on the field this season, reaching the BCS National Championship Game.
“That’s big,” he said. “For them to be as young as they are and be as successful as they are this year, it just shows that everybody on that team has their mind right and that everybody is on the same page. I’m glad I have that and that’s what I was looking for.”
Hunter took his official visit to Notre Dame for the Michigan game and it’s unlikely he’ll be able to join many of his fellow commits at the team banquet this weekend.
“I can’t miss school because I’m taking college classes.”
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Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o wins Nagurski Award, but ...
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was happy and honored to win the Bronko Nagurski Award on Monday night at Charlotte’s Westin Hotel.
He’s the nation’s top defensive college football player, at least in the eyes of the Football Writers Association of America, which voted on the award presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
But Te’o is looking at something larger – a victory for his top-ranked Irish when they play Alabama in the BCS national championship game Jan. 7 in Miami.
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