The Butkus Award, instituted in 1985 has become one of college football's top individual honors.
The award has previously honored some of college football's all-time greats at the position. Last season's winner, Rolando McClain (Alabama) joined former winners such as Brian Bosworth, Andy Katzenmoyer, and LaVar Arrington among others on its list of honorees.
Te'o would be the first player from Notre Dame to win the award. He faces tough competition from the likes of Greg Jones (Michigan State), Sean Spence (Miami), Travis Lewis (Oklahoma), and Don't'a Hightower (Alabama), to name a few.
Te'o, who won the high school version of the Butkus in 2008, would become the first player to win both the prep and college versions of the award. Former Mississippi linebacker Patrick Willis is the only two-time winner of the award, earning the college version in 2006 and the pro version last season.
Finalists will be announced on November 23, with winners being notified by December 8, 2010.