Te'o Gets Comfortable With Cold and ND

The Guglielmino Athletics Complex on Notre Dame's campus brought instant relief to five-star linebacker Manti Te'o.

In South Bend for his official visit, Manti Te'o had never experienced winter for a long period of time.

"I obviously liked The Gug," the Honolulu, Hawaii product laughed. "It's the place that Byron (Moore) and I would always run to get warm."

Moore, a four-star safety from California, and Tyler Gaffney, a fullback from the Golden State, were also on Notre Dame's campus this weekend.

While Te'o was inside the Gug warming up, he took notice of the Irish's football facilities.

"That's a nice building," the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Te'o said. "I like the fact it's just reserved for football. I visited the weight room, it's a nice weight room. And they have a turf field for speed training and conditioning, and they have all these machines to help for speed."

The trip to Notre Dame was Te'o's second official visit. The Punahou School standout already tripped to UCLA. This coming weekend, he could visit USC for the Irish game, but he has to talk it over with his parents, coaches and teammates, as his team is making a run in the state playoffs right now. Te'o will also take trips to Stanford and BYU before deciding, but as of right now, he isn't sure when those officials will happen.

Te'o arrived in South Bend on Friday and caught up with the Irish coaching staff. He was able to meet with academic advisors and tour some of the campus. He went to dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse with the staff, and was hosted by freshman defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore.

"I really liked it. I really enjoyed my trip there. It was a great experience to be in South Bend and witness life at Notre Dame," Te'o said.

"I think my favorite part of the trip would have to be when I visited the chapel. It's one of the first chapels I've seen covered in snow. It was a new experience for me.

"I think Notre Dame, it was my first time I ever went to the Midwest. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about their university, athletically and as a student academically. I guess the more you learn, the closer you get to the university. I'd say it was a great experience all around."

On Saturday, Te'o soaked in Notre Dame's game-day activities.

"I thought it was pretty crazy," Te'o stated. "The stadium was packed with people and a lot of people were throwing snowballs. It was pretty funny. The cheers they have, shows the tradition, the culture there. It was a great experience to witness a new kind of lifestyle."

A lot of Irish students were wearing leis to make Te'o feel wanted.

"It was pretty neat. I took it as an honor for me to go there and people bought the leis, with me coming from an island where people where leis, just to make me feel more at home. I really think the students were doing that."

Te'o was only able to stick out the first half in freezing temperatures, before going inside to watch the second half. The 24-23 loss to Syracuse didn't ruin the visit.

"It didn't really dampen the trip at all," Te'o said. "I was happy to be there and happy that coach Charlie Weis and his coaching staff allowed me to take a trip to Notre Dame. The game was just another part of the trip, and them losing didn't have much effect on me. I was just excited to be in the stadium and witness the atmosphere."

Te'o got some one-on-one time with linebackers coach Jon Tenuta. The Irish staff sees Te'o coming in and playing Maurice Crum's JACK position.

"He's a great man and a great coach, and he really cares about his players along with coach Charlie Weis," Te'o said of Tenuta.

Te'o got a chance to spend a lot of time with the Irish players.

"They were great people. They made it easy for me to transition from Hawaii to Notre Dame. It made it a lot better.

"I talked to of course Kapron a lot, and I talked to Dayne Crist and Jamoris Slaughter. They're all great, they're all freshmen. Other players I talked to, they're all cool guys."

Before leaving early on Sunday morning, Te'o sat down and talked with head coach Charlie Weis.

"It was just like a regular one-on-one talk that you have with anybody," Te'o began. "Coach Charlie Weis is an easy guy to talk to. He makes the whole meeting seem like a regular chit chat. It was easy to talk to him about everything.

"We talked about just how was my experience at Notre Dame,. What coach Charlie Weis said is, he doesn't really stick around and pressure the recruits, and personally I feel a lot more comfortable when I'm not approached by coaches, and I just get to view the college. Coach Charlie Weis allows you to do that.

"This morning was my first time actually talking to him. I talked to him before, but it was my first time sitting down and talking with him about recruiting and I gave him an overview of the trip."

Te'o also enjoyed seeing regular Notre Dame students.

"When I visited the dorms, I visited the students and saw what student life is and how things worked in the dorms. I liked how everybody was close and hung out together. You would see people walking from dorm to dorm, and hanging out and having a great time. It was nice to see unity in the student body. It makes things a lot more comfortable."

By the end of the trip, Te'o was more comfortable with the winter weather.

"I didn't really mind the cold after awhile. This morning it didn't really make a difference to me. It's a different experience from being in Hawaii, to see snow and it's 22 degrees outside.

"I personally like it. It was a change."


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