Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o beat out Alabama center Barrett Jones for the Lombardi Award, but said he respects him ahead of their matchup in the BCS title game.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te'o won the Lombardi Award for the nation's top lineman or linebacker, beating out Alabama center Barrett Jones in the process. However, instead of talking trash about their upcoming matchup in the BCS Championship Game, Te'o said there was nothing but respect between the two:
"There's no trash-talking, I think the fans do more of that," Te'o told CSN Houston of his time with Jones. "But meeting Barrett, he's a great guy, has great parents. He's very quiet and he's very intelligent and hard-working."
Jones, who switched to center after playing left tackle last season, is universally lauded as one of the best offensive linemen in the country. He's considered the favorite for the Rimington Award, which goes to the country's best center. Notre Dame's Braxton Cave is also a finalist for the Rimington.
Te'o is, of course, a finalist for the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. If he were to win, he'd be only the second defensive player to ever win the award. Michigan's Charles Woodson won the Heisman in 1997. Te'o has already won the Butkus and Nagurski awards, which go to the nation's best linebacker and defensive player, respectively.