Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o is set to win a lot of awards this season, but he says the attention and the accolades won't distract him from his mission to succeed on the field and in the classroom.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish senior linebacker Manti Te'o is on the list for a lot of awards, which means he will embark on a lengthy tour filled with handshakes and flashy hardware before No. 1 Notre Dame plays in the BCS National Championship Game. The star defender says his hectic schedule will not phase him.
How many awards could Te'o win? Here's a rundown, based on the awards and honors listed on his player page at the Notre Dame Athletics website: Heisman Trophy Candidate, Maxwell Award Finalist, Walter Camp Award Finalist, Bednarik Award Finalist, Bronko Nagurski Trophy Finalist, Lombardi Award Finalist, Butkus Award Finalist, Lott IMPACT Trophy Finalist, Senior CLASS Award Finalist, AFCA First-Team All-American, National Scholar-Athlete, Campbell Trophy Finalist, Academic All-District V Team and Academic All-America Candidate.
The Heisman Trophy is the ultimate individual prize in college football, but the sheer volume of other honors that could be claimed by Te'o is impressive. When asked about how he will deal with hitting the awards circuit, Te'o told CSN-Chicago that he has everything under control:
"I asked coach Kelly to make sure that there's a gym in whatever place we stay so when I come back I'm not D-lineman. That's definitely something that I'll do myself to make sure I stay in shape.
"My attention has just been on taking advantage of every day. I think all I've been thinking about is the time I have left here at school with my peers with my classmates. I'll be gone all next week so today was my last day of school. It was just hard to me to know that it's come to an end, a beautiful end."
The winner of the 2012 Heisman Trophy will be announced on Saturday, Dec. 8 live from the Best Buy Theater in Times Square.