The All-American Linebacker is profiled in his leading Notre Dame back to national prominence.
Manti Te’o’s life has been marked by one outsanding football achievement after another. The Two-time recipient of Hawaii Gatorade Player-of-the-Year award, 2008 Sporting News High School athlete of the year, Lott and Butkus award finalist, and Two time All-American can now add a Sports Illustrated Cover to his mantelpiece. (Perhaps next to a 2012 Heisman trophy)
This month’s issue of Sports Illustrated features the Linebacker in the article “The Full Manti: Star Linebacker, Star Student, Future Pro Manti Te’o Has Restored the Shine to the Golden Dome.” written by New York Times Sports columnist Pete Thamel
The piece gives readers an insight into Te’o’s powerful presence felt beyond the gridiron among his teammates in the locker room.
“Te’o has more than done his part in the locker room, embodying the Hawaiian traits of humility and family. He is delighted that his teammates now refer to each other as uce—Samoan slang for bro—and relish the meaning of the word. Te’o and Toma, his roommate and fellow Punahou alum, invite teammates over for dinners of Spam and eggs— “that is my weakness, Spam and Pam,” Te’o says with a laugh— and host games of spades nearly every night. “There’s just more of a closeness with this team,” says Toma, one of the Irish’s most reliable wide receivers. “We’re actually having fun again.”
Thamel also illustrates the importance of family in the Fighting Irish linebacker’s life.
“Manti’s reasons for returning will inevitably be used as an Irish recruiting pitch for years to come. He told students at a pep rally at Dillon Hall, “You’re the reason I’m coming back.” Te’o also wanted something else: to experience Senior Day with his parents. At the end of his junior season, he watched as Steve Filer, a five-star linebacker who never panned out and tore his ACL as a senior, took the field for the last time. “I saw Steve crutch out there and the joy that his parents had in their eyes,” he says. “That’s when I realized, ‘Mom and Dad, it doesn’t matter. I want to share that with you.’”
He has the distinction of being the first Notre Dame Fighting Irish player to grace on the cover of Sports Illustrated since the 2006 college football preview issue that features Notre Dame players Brady Quinn, Tommy Zbikowski, and Travis Thomas.