Virgen's View: Te'o caps special week in Newport Beach

December 12, 2012|By Steve Virgen
  • From left, Ronnie Lott, Condoleeza Rice and Manti Te'o smile with the Lott Trophy at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach.
From left, Ronnie Lott, Condoleeza Rice and Manti Te'o… (Allen Bradley Photography )

Manti Te'o's crazy, whirlwind of a week ended just the way he wanted: with the Ronnie Lott IMPACT Trophy at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach.

It was only a year ago when Te'o announced he was returning to play at Notre Dame during the ceremony at the Pacific Club. The Lott Trophy was special to him, because he looks up to Ronnie Lott and because he felt it would cap a special week.

It was a memorable week that ended Sunday in Newport Beach. He made six stops for award ceremonies in eight days. The Notre Dame star linebacker began in Charlotte, N.C., where he won the Nagurski Award, as the nation's top defensive player.

Earlier in the day, he received a phone call from Dick Butkus who told Te'o he won the Butkus Award for being the nation's top linebacker.

The next day, Dec. 4, he was in New York to accept an award as a national scholar-athlete from the National Football Foundation. He met NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell because the scholarship he won was endowed by the NFL.


He was in Houston for the Rotary Lombardi Award ceremony, where he won as college football's best lineman or linebacker.

Then it was off to Orlando, Fla. for the ESPN Awards show, at which he took the Walter Camp (player of the year), Bednarik (top defensive player) and Maxwell Award (the nation's most outstanding player) .

He went back to New York on Friday for the Heisman ceremony that took place on Saturday. He came in second behind Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. But he received the most votes ever by a defensive player.

Te'o didn't really sleep that night. He left early in the morning on a private flight to attend the Lott Trophy ceremony in Newport Beach. The award is unique. It is as much for personal character as it is for athletic performance as a defensive player.

After logging 8,500 miles of travel, Te'o didn't appear to be weathered at the Pacific Club. He smiled and laughed with the candidates, Arthur Brown (Kansas State) and Chase Thomas (Stanford). Jarvis Jones (Georgia) was also a candidate, but did not attend.

"This is a dream come true," Te'o said after winning the Lott Trophy.

Te'o won his seventh national award, making him the most decorated defensive player in college football history. He's the leader of the Notre Dame defense and helped the Fighting Irish to a No. 1 ranking and a spot in the national championship game.

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