Manti Te’o Wins The Triple Crown

On December 7, 2012, in Sporting News, by Buddy TB

Manti Te'oOn Monday morning, Notre Dame Linebacker Manti Te’o received a phone call from Dick Butkus himself informing him that he had been voted the nation’s best linebacker and would be the 2012 recipient of the Dick Butkus Award.

Later that same day Te’o accepted the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player.  Then, on Wednesday it was announced that Te’o had also won the Lombardi Award for the best lineman in College Football for 2012.  Wow!

Manti Te’o has won what amounts to NCAA College Footballs Triple Crown for the 2012 season.   To win any one of these awards is a tremendous accomplishment.  For one man to win all three in the same week is historic.

He also helped to change the attitude and culture in a college football program that has been traditionally reluctant to change its attitude and game plan.

Under his influence, Notre Dame has become a little more likeable this year…not so elitist….and not so much the team that everyone loves to hate.

The Irish are on their way to the National Championship game against SEC Champ Alabama on January 7th in Miami.

Vince Lombardi, Bruno Nagurski and Dick Butkus are three of the greatest names in the history of the NFL.  All three are members of the NFL Hall of Fame and all three are known for their off the field integrity as well as their on- field tenacity.

The eligibility criterion for the Lombardi Award remains the same after 43 years of the awards history. The selected player should be a down lineman on either offense or defense or a linebacker who lines up no farther than five yards deep from the ball. The nominee must show leadership, courage, desire, respect for authority and discipline.

Bronko Nagurski played fullback for the Chicago Bears a long time ago but his legend as being a back capable of moving a pile of 10 defenders the last five yards into the end zone still lives on.  The Bronko Nagurski Trophy has been awarded annually since 1993 to the collegiate American football player judged by the Football Writers Association of America to the best defensively in the NCAA.

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.”   Congratulations to a truly extraordinary athlete

 

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