Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o: #3 pick in NFL Draft?

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If you’re a fan of the Jacksonville Jaguars, K.C. Chiefs and Cleveland Browns, it’s time to start thinking NFL Draft.

Expectations are always high for both Manti Te’o and Notre Dame.

Te’o, an inside linebacker who graduated from the same high school as President Barack Obama, is one of those all-worldly college football recruits that earn the highest ratings possible from every recruiting service imaginable. Both ESPNU and the Sporting News rated him the top defensive player, and 2nd best player, in the nation. His recruiting process was highly publicized, and his final two choices were the ND and USC.

Te’o is not only the defense’s best player, but also their emotional leader, so there’s a lot of responsibility on him to bring the unit back so the team can respond.

When he was a freshman, the 6-2, 245lb LB posted the third-most tackles ever by an Irish rookie; and ranked fourth on ND with 63 stops in 2009. His 2010 season was even better as he had 133 total tackles (most for an Irish defender since 1983), 9.5 for a loss, a fumble recovery and three pass breakups.

His defensive coordinator Bob Diaco described him thusly:

“He’s definitely in the top cut of maturity. He’s just a mature person with a big heart. Always in service, in service to the student body, his teammates, his coaches, helping out his buddies. So when you factor that with his tangible skill set on the field, that’s really a special blend.”

You’ve heard a lot about Te’o this year. Here’s more:

Individual Info:

· Became 2nd Notre Dame player to ever record at least 100 tackles for 3 consecutive seasons

· On pace to become 3rd Notre Dame player to lead team in tackles for 3 straight seasons

· Tied for 2nd in the FBS with 7 interceptions

· No FBS linebacker has recorded more interceptions in a season since at least 2000

· Has played a role in 11 of Notre Dame’s 23 turnovers this year (7 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and 2 pass hurries that directly led to interceptions)

· Only 1 player in the FBS has forced more turnovers this year than Te’o

· Only defensive player to be a finalist for the Maxwell Award

· Owns 3.324 GPA and set to graduate from Notre Dame in 3.5 years this December

· Finalist for the Senior CLASS Award due to his commitment in the classroom and community service activities as well as exemplary play in competition

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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