Notre Dame senior linebacker and recent recipient of the Lott Impact and Chuck Bednarik Player of the Week Awards, Manti Te’o, added another accolade to a growing list of honors for this season – his first Sports Illustrated cover.
Te’o is having a special season already. The kind of season that we all envisioned Te’o would have when he committed to Notre Dame 4 years ago in a move that surprised the recruiting world. Four years later, Te’o has developed into the most dominant Notre Dame linebacker in the last 20 years highlighted by back to back performances that will go down in Irish lore for years to come.
By now everyone knows the story of Te’o losing both his grandmother and girlfriend suddenly less than 24 hours apart just two weeks ago. Since then, Te’o has channeled his emotions into two of the best performances of his career while leading Notre Dame to its first 4-0 start to a season in a decade.
The only downside to Te’o gracing this week’s cover is the dreaded “Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx”. Hopefully Notre Dame resting on a bye this weekend will help mitigate any jinx that comes with being on the cover. Notre Dame fans remember all too well the “Return to Glory” cover featuring Maurice Stovall during the 2002 season – the last time Notre Dame started a season 4-0.
The last time something Notre Dame football related found itself on the cover of SI was 2006 when Brady Quinn, Tom Zbikowski, and Travis Thomas were one of the 2006 season preview covers.
For Notre Dame fans looking to purchase the cover, the Te’o cover is a regional one and might not be available in all areas.