Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is having a remarkable season, garnering Heisman Trophy talk and leading the Fighting Irish to national-title contention. While Te'o's natural talents play a big role in his success, his maturity is just as important.
Te'o is hoping the Irish will have an opportunity to win a national championship at the end of the season, but he knows it won't come easy. For Te'o, this season is taken step by step:
"It would be the perfect ending to this great chapter in my life," Te'o says. "But national champions understand that it's one game at a time, one day at a time, getting better everyday. To think of that, and think of being known as a national champion at the end of the season, yeah it's a dream come true."
Te'o has been successful at Notre Dame, and to hear that his biggest fear is failure is not a surprise. But it isn't exactly personal failure that scares Te'o. He is afraid of letting others down:
"I fear failure. That's my biggest fear is failure," he admits. "It's not being able to provide for my family. It's not bringing honor to my family. I don't fear anything else. I don't fear any individual. I just fear letting people down, and people that depend on me the most."
In nine games this season, Te'o has compiled 87 tackles and hauled in five interceptions. He has 5.5 tackles for loss, four pass breakups and 1.5 sacks.
No. 3 Notre Dame travels to face Boston College Saturday at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on ABC.