December 12, 2011 // Notre Dame Football

Manti Te’o Returning for Senior Season

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Manti Te'o has decided to come back for his senior season instead of leaving a year early for the 2012 NFL Draft (Photo - Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

Christmas Day is still two weeks away, but Notre Dame fans were treated to an early Christmas present on Sunday when junior linebacker Manti Te’o announced he would be returning to Notre Dame for his senior season instead of entering the 2012 NFL Draft.

Earlier this week it was reported that Te’o sought an evaluation from the NFL advisory committee and many NFL Draft experts had Te’o projected as a first round pick, but the Hawaiian native decided to by pass the NFL for now to come back to Notre Dame for another season.

Two years in a row now, Brian Kelly pulled off his biggest recruiting coup of the year months before signing day.  Last year Kelly convinced Michael Floyd to return for a senior season when it looked like he was headed to the NFL a year early.  This year’s sales job had to be a much tougher sell though.  Floyd had a lot of competition at the wide receiver position while many experts considered Te’o one of, if not the best, inside linebacker in the draft.

Te’o return will solidify a defense that will be replacing 75% of the starting secondary and will give Notre Dame one of the best front seven’s the Irish have had in some time.  Notre Dame will be set all along the defensive line and on the edges of the front seven, but inside linebacker would have been a big question mark for Notre Dame next season had Te’o decided to pursue his NFL career a year early.

Notre Dame’s line will feature a three year starter in Karpon Lewis Moore (assuming he returns for a 5th season) along with youngsters Louis Nix, Stephon Tuiit, and Aaron Lynch along with talented underclassmen like Chase Hounshell who saw plenty of playing time in 2011.  At outside linebacker, Prince Shembo will return as a starter with the likes of Danny Spond, Ishaq Williams, and Ben Councell competing for the other starting position.

Te’o’s return though is what could make next year’s front seven special.  Carlo Calabrese and Dan Fox will likely split time next to Te’o again in 2012 unless an underclassmen like Anthony Rabassa can earn a starting role.

Notre Dame is still waiting to hear if Tyler Eifert will be returning for his senior season.  Like Te’o, Eifert asked the NFL Advisory Committee for a draft evaluation last week as well.  Without a new commitment on the recruiting front for a while now though, Sunday’s news was some of the best news Notre Dame fans received in a while and will more than do until Efiert announces his intentions as well.

Comments to this Article

  • True Hawaii Irish commented on December 12th, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Kelly had no influence on Manti’s decision. Manti took it to a higher source and he acted upon it…just like he did before which landed him in South Bend in the first place.

    Many will not understand why he decided to stay, but we do. It’s embedded in who we are as a people. we finish what we start, we stick to our commitment even at our own peril. He is a great role model in a time where the all mighty dollar seems to reign supreme. Go Irish!!!

    We in Hawaii are proud of our 808 son!!!

    [Reply]

  • irishman commented on December 12th, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Manti needed the extra year, he was not dominant this year besides the Navy game. Great to have him back. Although, the secondary will be the key to next years defense.

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  • joe commented on December 12th, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I just don’t know how Calabrese will be able to hold off the likes of Jarrett Grace and Kendall Moore. Same goes for Fox. Moore is probably the hardest hitting linebacker we have, minus Manti.

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  • JC commented on December 12th, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Manti is a great asset for our team, we definately will have a better chance to win with him comming back; not to mention he is a great individual.

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  • joey d commented on December 12th, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    TE’OOOOOOOOOO YEAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!

    Can’t wait to go to Soldier Field and watch them kick the shit out of Miami!

    [Reply]

  • Ping7Fe commented on December 13th, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Make sure you read the article about Manti that Eric Hansen wrote at southbendtribune.com. Great Article. This is why I’m an ND fan. We have kids that make the right decisions for the right reasons. Too much lately has been about money, cars, tattoos, and rapists. I’m glad this kid is, and always will be, ND!

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  • Shazamrock commented on December 13th, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Does my heart good to see a kid, who was pegged as a late first round draft choice, decide to stay in school.

    Unswayed by the mega-bucks of the NFL like so many others, he understands the value of a ND education, the fun and excitement of college football, and of fullfilling his dreams and goals as a student athelete.
    Good for him!

    I wonder if the ND coaching staff knows where their recruits are.
    Have they hugged their recruits today?

    Good questions now that Urban Meyer is on the loose agian. He already pillaged one from Michigan and now another from Penn State.

    He likes to make his team stronger while making his opponents weaker.
    I still remember some of the fine defensive recruits that he stole away from ND while he was at Florida.

    What frosts my cookies is the amount of time and money spent on recruiting only to have some pretty-boy come along at the last minute and pillage your recruiting class like wild bands of Huns and Visigoths.

    Any high school senior football player should be able to sign with any college which has offered him, as of the day of his successfull graduation from high school.(Especially if that studend has turned the legal age of 18.)

    I hate this having to wait until Febuary for “lets make some more money off these kids by having a national signing day”

    Who the hell are they to tell a legal adult when they can or can’t sign?

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    fxm replied on December 13th, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    He swiped Omar Hunter and Justin Trattou from us and our D never got over it.

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  • rockne25 commented on December 13th, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    thank you manti! we should have a great front 7 next year.GO IRISH!

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  • new irish commented on December 13th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    Manti will show the nation what a dominating force at linebacker can do for a team, next year. He has the opportunity to bring ND to places it has not seen in a long time. Next years front 7 couid be very good, and Manti is the key. Looking for him to be a force next year, staying healthy,making plays, and most important getting his degree. Go Irish

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  • Chi-town Copper commented on December 14th, 2011 at 7:33 am

    who finishes with the better record in 2012: meyer at osu, kelly at ND, or Weis at Kansas? Rank em

    [Reply]

    JC replied on December 15th, 2011 at 3:14 am

    1st Meyer hands down. 2nd CW with Dayne. Need I go further?

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    B-dub replied on December 15th, 2011 at 5:39 am

    I am not really sure about all the man love going on here for Urban. Great coach don’t get me wrong, but without Tebow there is no championships. He won on the back of Tim Tebow, and great recruiting classes. Kelly went undefeated at UC with recruiting classes that never went below 60. Give Kelly Tebow and he may win four championships. And then JC Weis, are you serious, I hope the best for Dayne, but Weis will never be even close to the likes of Kelly. If you don’t see an improvement in the team since Weis left than I believe that football is not the sport for you. Go Kelly! Go Teo! Go Irish!

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    Irish replied on December 15th, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Agree with some of your points. However, the first title at UF was with Leak as the starter. Tebow was a big part of it but he gets a lot more credit than he really deserves. Their defense was unbelievable that year and the second title had a lot to do with Percy Harvin who was the real MVP of that second team. Meyer also went undefeated at Utah lets not forget.

    I think Kansas will be better, but they were 2-10 and will have less talent than just about every team they play. Don’t get me wrong I hope Dayne plays well and gets a chance but he isn’t the second coming.

    JC replied on December 15th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    B-dub,

    CW left more talent at ND than Kelly ever recruited at Cincy. Kelly will not have a great year next year since he chose to accept two turnovers a game and counting.

    You can rest assurded Meyer can recruit as good anyone and compete with anyone. There are plenty more Tim Tebow’s out there to recruit.
    Further, so whose back was he suppose to win on? Santa Claus? Your not living in the real world if you think Urban can’t win early at OSU.

    Unfortunately for us, Rees will continue to start so the results will be about the same or worse with next years schedule.

    All back-up QB’s have no real game experience. Yeah, we have real improvement on the bench. I suppose the lineman are going to score all the TD’s next year? Hahahahahahahahaha.

    Now that Kelly has boxed himself in with Rees, 8-5 or less will not be that difficult for Meyer or Weis to match next year. Our projected 2nd QB derby will be nothing less than total chaos with Rees surfacing again.

    Sorry football is a RahRah sport for you. Fencing might be better for you to consider.

    jack replied on December 15th, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    JC,
    You want Urban as a head coach, you can have him. He quit at Florida after Tebow left. Now he comes into Ohio State as the savior, you can have him. I would rather Pete Carrol coach at ND than Urban. Why don’t you become an OSU fan, b/c of your love affair with Urban.

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    JC replied on December 15th, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Jack,

    Your just a bottomless treasure chest of information? Really, Urban quit? Duh, Gee what a news flash? And Tebow left too?? Amazing!

    You must have played with toy bull-dozers your whole life as a kid. Is there anyone on this board you agree with?

    Chi-town asked who finishes with a better record? Simple question and simple answer. So “Get over it!”

    Why don’t you become a USC fan with your love of Petey?
    Oh, I forgot no is entitled to their opinion with you around; is this Russia by the way?

    JDH replied on December 16th, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Next Jack is going to tell us that, in The Sixth Sense, Bruce Willis’s character was actually dead the whole time!

  • new irish commented on December 14th, 2011 at 10:57 am

    kelly, meyer, weis

    [Reply]

  • Shazamrock commented on December 14th, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    They have been playing the Champs sports bowl since 1990. I didn’t know that.

    Before that it was the Blocbuster bowl.

    Since that first game (FSU vs Penn St.) there has never been a sellout at the Champs Sports Bowl.

    Until this year.

    I’m sure Florida State has a little something to do with that.

    Notre Dame and Her faithfull following has to do with the rest.

    Maybe next year, or the year after,or at some point, a 10-2 ND team is going to get invited to a major bowl game over some one loss team.

    Those folks who got passed over are going to yell and scream and cry foul.

    When that happends, remind them of the one and only sellout, in its 20 plus year history, of the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl.

    [Reply]

  • KyleValpoU’15 commented on December 14th, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Just finished watching the Dan Patrick Show from yesterday. He had Charlie Weis on and asked him what his biggest regret was at Notre Dame. Charlie answered with, “I would have spent more time on chemistry,” He pointed to the Patriots as an example of how chemistry wins in football. He said he never created an environment with great chemistry in Notre Dame. What are your guys’ thoughts on this?

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    storespook replied on December 14th, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    No surprise there regarding Charlie. He thought with 3 rings he would be ring mastering a finely tuned circus (so to speak)which would be a national power. His recruits, some with high stature coming out of highschool, didn’t pan out. He could never cement good chemistry with them. Glad Manti is returning. I think it will make him better as a person and a better Sunday player.

    Meyer will win a NC with the Bucks by his 3rd year.

    Go Irish

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    KyleValpoU'15 replied on December 15th, 2011 at 1:26 am

    I agree with you there. Like you said he had high recurits that just didn’t pan out. He could obviously recurit offense well, but I feel that some of his players did not come to Notre Dame for the right reasons (a la Jimmy Clausen, I do believe, however JC was good at times, no denying that), but he did not come to ND for the education. He came to play in the NFL. Charlie’s team was way to much like a NFL team (all business) and did not understand how to run a college. I do wish for the best for him at KU, and for Dayne Crist, wherever he may go because once a Domer always a Domer in my eyes.

    I agree with Meyer winning a NC, as long as he has B. Miller, I believe they will be a tough team.

    On a side note, I know I will have to get over this, but I still believe Dayne should have been the starter. I mean looking back on the ’10 season he was defiantly mobile enough to run the spread option (I think he was leading ND in rushing TDs for awhile) and he has a stronger arm then Rees (obviously). Look at his throw to Rudolph vs Michigan, that ball was incredible. Most people say he was scared, but you would be too, after 2 major knee surgeries. I believe if Dayne could have stayed in longer vs USF and got a chance vs Mich he would have shaken the jitters off and would have preformed well. Sorry for the rant, but I needed to say it. I may take some crap for this, but it is my opinion. However, Rees (who kind of reminds me of Pat Dillingham from ’02 turning the ball over, I still have nightmares seeing that BC LB taking that horrible pass for the game leading TD) is our starting QB and that is just a bunch of what ifs and do not matter. Hopefully Hendrix will get his shot (which he probably/defiantly will). GO IRISH beat FSU!!!

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    KyleValpoU'15 replied on December 15th, 2011 at 1:32 am

    I take back the comment on his recurits not coming here for the right reasons, that was more or less just JC. Other than that most of his recurits stayed all four years, except there were qutie a few transfers from Charlie’s day.

    JC replied on December 15th, 2011 at 2:44 am

    Kudos KyleValpoU’15,

    I love your rant on Dayne. Kelly was way to eager to pull Dayne and leave it that way. It was sadly obvious, Kelly was really never committed to Dayne as advertised.

    If you remember, the last series Dayne played, he walked the team down field without a hitch and field goal was kicked. In that drive Dayne demonstrated excellent mobility. Mobility TR will never have.

    I certainly believe Dayne will be successful somewhere else regardless of what people think here. Dayne is a true ND guy. Not many would have mounted a comeback like Dayne.

    JC replied on December 16th, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    ALL RIGHT Storespook,

    How is it YOU get a FREE pass to talk about MEYER?? Do you have a stealth jacket on? These tender hearts are shedding tears left and right? Do you have an umbrella I can borrow?

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

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    storespook replied on December 16th, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    My contract stipulates I wear that damn stealth jacket, JC, hahahahahahahahaha. I see Tom Clements of Green Bay interviewing for the Penn St job, oh boy. Wouldn’t want that job right now.

    Shazamrock replied on December 15th, 2011 at 10:26 am

    CW never created much good chemistry between himself and his players, the students, the administration, the alums, the fans, or the media.

    Did I leave anyone out?

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    storespook replied on December 17th, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Nope, I don’t think so

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  • Shazamrock commented on December 15th, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Congrats to Manti Te’o and Tyler Eifert for making second team All American.

    I’m sure if Micheal Floyd had been able to stay clear of off field trouble he would have made at least second team this year
    For someone who holds virtuly every ND receiving record, its an honor he should have had.

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    storespook replied on December 16th, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Eifert should have been 1st team AA.

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  • JTRAIN commented on December 16th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    @JC do you really think weis is going to have a better year @kansas than kelly @nd?!…you are out of your damn mind. You were obviously watching a different weis coached team than most of us were. Chemistry had nothing to do with his teams underperforming. Defense did or lack of anyway. Defense wins ball games always has always will.

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  • JC commented on December 16th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    @JTRAIN,

    FACTS: To satisfy your cryptic agenda, (you must be related to Jack) lets compare apples to apples. Let’s see CW was 9-3 his first year and 10-3 his 2nd year. Two BCS Bowls poorly lost but guess what we were indeed in BCS Bowls. Not to mention Brady Quinn broke 35 school records during that period. Corwin Brown was improving the defense until CW made him assistant coach.

    So tell me old wise one, what is so THUNDEROUSLY MAGNIFICENT about BK?? 8-5 his first year and 8-4 right now!! And don’t tell me about when he went undefeated in the BIG EAST WENEE LEAGUE……yippy-kiyay Sports Fans! I’m sure the SEC is still trembling! Just remember, we are still spotting everyone two turnovers per game. A High Quality “Coachable” issue as advocated by the one and only BK!

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    JTRAIN replied on December 16th, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Ok buddy if you want to live in the dream world of thinking we were improving thats up to you. I on the other hand will stay here in reality.

    3-9
    7-6
    6-6

    I think you and I both know we are not going 3-9 next season.

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    JC replied on December 16th, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    WOW! now that’s a high risk prediction!

    Nor are we going to a BCS Bowl NEXT YEAR, so you obviously like wishful thinking rather than real facts?

    Especially with the cream-puffs we play next year….suuuuuuuuuuure BUDDY.

    [Reply]

    JTRAIN replied on December 16th, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Ok so we should hire and fire coaches every two years..good strategy.

    ndforever replied on December 16th, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    put brady quin on this years team and how many games do we win? probably all of them. so CW going 9-3 and 10-3 doesnt look as good. what happened when ND didnt have a qb the next year and had to start a true frosh. a 3-9 season. how many games does CW win with Reese ? BK went 8-4 with poor qb play. when and hopefully if we find a qb then we are bcs bound just like almost all other good programs.we will have a good winning percentage and when u get the right qb then its off to the big bowls and NC. thats the landscape of college football unless u have LSU’s d or Alabama’s..so to me 8-4 is not great just mediocre but there is some hope. i see big progress in how BK recruits the trenches, our o-line was the best it has been in awhile and our d line is going to be good, all areas we were terrible at with CW

  • JC commented on December 16th, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    ndforever,

    Good assessment, my chief complaint with BK is he decided to go exclusively with Rees. And you bet the results were mediocre and to make matters worse now we have only ONE QB with experience?? So how far did that unique concept set us back? Yeah, CW had the same problem. This was the year to go to a BCS Bowl, coupled with opportunities for back-up QB’s getting valuable playing time period.

    Next year is critical, if we are 8-5, 9-4 and 10-3 then year 4 better look like a title run. Possible but highly unlikely, I believe Rees will start again or if an inexperience QB starts we will be set back another year?

    Unfortunately at that point, year 4 may never happen for BK depending on the outcome of year 3. It is perversely ironic BK now owns a simular QB dilemma as CW was faced with. Wild prognostications are just that, we can only evaluate the results at the end of the day like everyone else.

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  • B-dub commented on December 17th, 2011 at 12:35 am

    The QB situation that CW had and BK have are completely differn’t. CW got one of the most prolific passers in ND history when he took over. He then gets a true freshman Clausen who had a o-line that couldn’t block, with vertually no running game. Then to top it off, when he gets fired he talks Clausen into leaving to the NFL when he wasn’t ready to go (out of spite, because he thought he was helping I am not sure).
    In comes Kelly, he gets a QB that fits the bill for a pro style offense,they run a spread offense, Dayne goes down with two bad season ending injuries. He then, let me make this clear, as a senior just barely beats out Reese who is a sophmore. Not sure if the injuries had an affect on Dayne or what the deal was; but if Dayne was so good he should have had the starting job hands down, he was a senior. Hendrix the other sophmore who has a better skillset for a spread doesn’t know the playbook. Then to top it off BK handled his QB’s they way he should have with Golson, he knows that he has a QB that fits the skillset perfectly, is probably the most physically gifted out of the bunch. But allows the future of ND to sit out a year like a freshman QB should to get a perspective on the differnce of the game at a new level and to get a grasp on the playbook. And one more thing when Golson starts next year the line will be able to block, the running game will be able to pick up yards, the defense will be able to stop an offense.
    So I would say that it is very differn’t from the CW years, and I will go as far to say that I can just see it that all the nay sayers that can’t stand BK, where probably calling for CW’s head, and now they love CW for some reason, will probably calling out praises about how much they love Kelly in a few years.
    It’s just crazy. Stick to your guns, it is apparent that CW wasn’t at all a good coach here, he was a great offensive coordinator here (lets face it, that is all he was at ND), but a horrible head coach. And the team that BK has, although sometime there is questionable calls in the game, is far better than they have been in a long time and they are young. BK will turn around ND, it may not be as fast as we would like, but it is happening right before us. This is a mentally and physically stronger team than in the years past.

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  • JTRAIN commented on December 17th, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Believe me, i wanted cw to be the guy. I really want dc to be the guy. I was so pumped when he given the starting nod. After watching what was happening on the field in both instances it was crystal clear that they were not going to get it done. I don’t feel that way with kelly. I mean wow look at the athletes he has recruited. Lynch, Tuit, Atkinson, Niklas, etc. When was the last time we saw guys like this at nd? We don’t beat msu this year without Lynch and Atkinson and they are FRESHMAN!!

    Hell yes I’m disappointed with 8-4 this year but I saw progress. Substantial progress. This is going to be a process its not going to happen tomorrow. So sit back, grab some popcorn and enjoy irish fans. We will be back.

    Go Irish

    [Reply]

  • JC commented on December 17th, 2011 at 4:26 am

    B-Dub and JTRAIN,

    I’ve heard this same argument for 23 years 23 different ways. Granted, your entitled to your opinion and so are we. Yes, there is improvement, I never suggested there was not. However, some improvement does not guarantee Championships. So the bottom line is tangible evidence we are “Competing for Championships!” Like a shining new Trophy! So to compete, you have to be in a Championship game playing for a Championship! No excuses, lip service does not win Championships. So all the RahRah commentary in the world is not going to save BK “IF” he CONTINUES to be MEDIOCRE; a mere fact of life when millions are involved. Results talk and the rest walk! No mystery here.

    [Reply]

  • JTRAIN commented on December 17th, 2011 at 8:30 am

    jc

    Hate to break it to you but nd was a lot worse off than you and most people want to believe. Bk did not walk into a team full of bcs caliber talent. Wood and floyd are the only guys I could honestly say would start for most other teams when he got here. Teo is solid but lsu has a whole defense made up of teos. Yes if year 5 comes and goes and we are on our 5th straight 8 win season then we will talk about another coach. Until then any talk of that is just ridiculous and irrational.

    [Reply]

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