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Honors keep piling up for Notre Dame's Te'o

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For more on college football, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at Tom101010.

All-American named in running for Butkus, Lott awards

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 1:46 am

SOUTH BEND - The honors keep coming - just as the turnovers do - for Notre Dame line backer Manti Te'o.

The senior All-American was named a Butkus Award semifinalist and Lott Trophy quarterfinalist on Tuesday. He is one of four players in the nation to be recognized on each list.

"The guy is all over the field," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said following Saturday's 17-14 win against BYU. "I mean all over the field; pass coverage, breaking on the ball, (and) setting our defense up. It's not going to change."

Te'o leads Notre Dame in total tackles (69), solo stops (33), passes defended (seven), interceptions (four), pass breakups (three) and fumble recoveries (two). He is the only player in the Football Bowl Subdivision that has averaged over nine tackles/game and collected at least three interceptions. His latest pick came against the Cougars.

"(BYU) ran a double screen with a tight end delay right down the middle," Te'o explained, "and I reacted on the ball."

Only one player in the FBS has generated more turnovers than Te'o, who ranks sixth in the nation in interceptions overall and tied for the most by a linebacker.

Not only is Te'o receiving mention for the various defensive honors, but the ultimate college football prize, the Heisman Trophy, as well.

"It is something that is always in the back of my head," Te'o said. "For me to even be considered is humbling. I never would have thought in a million years I would be a part of that."

He is the only FBS player to rank in the top 10 in both interceptions and fumble recoveries. Te'o has actually played a role in eight of the 17 turnovers forced by Notre Dame's defense. In addition to four interceptions and two fumbles recoveries, Te'o hurried passers on two occasions that resulted directly in interceptions.

"For me, my main focus is winning," Te'o said. "And if on that way of winning, I happen to be invited to New York, you know that's great. But for me, my whole thing is to win."

Te'o has recorded 10 or more tackles in five of Notre Dame's seven games this season and led the Irish in stops six times. He has registered 10 or more tackles 23 times and led Notre Dame in stops on 25 occasions over his career.

"It's only going to continue to be the same kind of performance week-in and week-out because he is so well prepared," Kelly said of Te'o's exploits. "I'm just glad that he's on our team."

In 2012, Te'o has three times been named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week, four times been named the FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Week, once been named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, once been named the Bednarik Player Of The Week and once been named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week.

Te'o has collected 100 or more stops in each of the last two seasons and is on pace to do the same in 2012. Te'o became the 10th player in Irish history to record 300 tackles for a career and currently ranks fourth in school history with 393 stops. With seven more tackles, Te'o will be the third Notre Dame player to reach 400 career tackles. He likely will become the first player to lead the Irish in stops over three consecutive seasons since Bob Crable accomplished the feat in 1979, '80 and '81.

Finalists for the Butkus Award will be announced November 20 and winners will be announced by December 4.

Semifinalists for the LOTT Trophy will be announced Nov. 13 and four finalists Nov. 28. The four finalists will be invited to the Ninth Annual Lott IMPACT Trophy Awards Ceremony in Newport Beach Dec. 9.