Not Like The Others

Manti Te'o already has 17 scholarship offers. Some of the top college coaches in the country have flown from the mainland to Honolulu, Hawaii to see the five-star linebacker. Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis' trip a couple weeks ago, didn't have the same feel to Te'o as the others.

Te'o said Weis' visit was an honor.

"It was definitely different because people told me coach Charlie Weis doesn't really visit athletes," Manti Te'o said. While he was there, Weis verbally offered Te'o's Punahou teammate Dalton Hilliard a scholarship as well. "He lets his assistants visit. Seeing him was an honor and a blessing. He carried himself with class professionally. He told Dalton and I he can't really talk to us, that he is just hear to say hi and check up on things and tell us he's interested."

Everyone is interested.

Of his offers, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Te'o said that USC, Notre Dame, UCLA, Colorado, Stanford and BYU are showing the most interest.

At this point, Te'o is interested in every program, with one school not ahead of the others. He hopes to see some campuses unofficially this summer, and plans to take all five of his official visits before deciding. Notre Dame is in the mix.

"Notre Dame is definitely one of my favorite schools because of the tradition," Te'o said. "I've heard a lot about the tradition there. I've heard a lot about what coach Weis has done for the program. I've watched them the last two years, and I've heard about the academics. And there is a lot of alumni and fans of Notre Dame on our faculty here at Punahou that know a lot about Notre Dame.

"I'm going to definitely try and take a visit out there to see how things run and operate, and how the coaches are and take a look at the campus. I don't know how soon. My family is planning on going to the All-Poly football camp in Utah. We always go to that football camp. We'll be over there, and we're not sure if we are going to take some unofficial visits to some schools. It just depends on finances."

This past season, Te'o had 92 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also averaged 11.1 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns when Hilliard needed to be spelled at his running back position.

"They just say I play the sport the way it's meant to be play," Te'o said of what college coaches tell him. "They like the tenacity and the speed, and I guess they like the hits too."

Though Te'o didn't get to spend much time with Weis and assistant coach Brian Polian, who also made the trip, Punahou head coach Kale Ane visited with the two for about 90 minutes.

"He was very generous with his time because I knew he was flying back that evening," Ane said.

"I think he liked the fact (Manti) was an excellent student (3.5 GPA) and a very physical player, and very heady. He can drop back into space and he can pursue players on the backside, and take on guys right in front of him. He enjoys physical contact and enjoys competing against quality players and programs."

One of the things all the schools recruiting Te'o will have to consider, is that he could very well go on a two-year Morman Missionary trip while he is a college student. That is something he will have to decide with his family, but it's a very likely scenario.

The idea is, you play your freshman year and then go.

"(Weis) was agreeable to that, if that is something Manti wanted to do," Ane said.

"I'm looking for definitely a school that can get me to the NFL, if they have the coaching staff that can get me to the next level," Te'o explained. His uncle Itula Mili played tight end for BYU and then the Seattle Seahawks. "I'm looking for a school that can support my wishes of a mission. I want to go into the field of architectural engineering, so any team that has a strong architectural engineering program."

Te'o can bench press 315 pounds, and runs a 4.7 second 40-yard dash. This summer he hopes to begin narrowing down schools to visit, and take the recruiting process from there. Top Stories