Tradition Rich At Te'o House

In Samoan tradition, the host family doesn't eat until their guests do.

Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis suggested a tradition of his own while inside Manti Te'o's household, for his in-home recruiting visit on Monday.

"It was the first time, I was shocked because coach Weis overruled my Dad," Te'o, a five-star linebacker from Honolulu, Hawaii said. "My Dad said for coach Charlie Weis to make his plate, and coach Weis replied by saying every time I eat, I'm always the last one to eat because I feel whenever we run out of food and someone has to go without food, it would be him.

"It was the first time my dad was overruled, and my Dad said okay."

Notre Dame assistant coach Brian Polian was told to eat first, and then the family joined in.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Te'o has been seeing a lot of Weis and Notre Dame as of late. In October, Weis and Polian flew in for one of Punahou School's games. In November, Te'o made an official visit to South Bend as the Irish hosted Syracuse. On Monday, Weis and Polian spent a few hours inside the Te'o home.

"You don't really mind when it's Charlie Weis," Te'o said. "He's a cool guy. Very low key and a great family man."

Te'o is currently evaluating five schools, and isn't sure when he'll make a college decision. He has already taken official visits to UCLA and Notre Dame. Unplanned trips to USC, Stanford and BYU are on the horizon.

Monday was Weis and Polian's first time to make an impression on Te'o's family in person.

"It was really nice," Brian Te'o, Manti's father said. "I really enjoyed his visit.

"They were trying to get a lot of info in because we live an hour away from the airport. When we got finished with practice, it was already a quarter to seven, and they had an 11 o'clock flight to take, so we got home at about quarter to eight, and he stayed at the house until 9:30. I told coach Brian Polian, you have to book it, because you're going to miss your flight. (laughing)

"The highlight for me was how coach Weis presented Notre Dame. He is such a straightforward guy. Just the way he presented Notre Dame, and the way he represented the University was amazing, because he refuses to be unethical with the recruiting process, and refuses to do things not sanctioned by the NCAA. For example, he brought a copy of the presentation he wanted to show us, one was in color and one was in black and white, and the NCAA prohibits him from giving us the one in color to keep, and something as small as that is really impressive.

So was Weis' message to the parents on his way out the door.

"He pulled us aside and he said you know what, I just wanted to let you two know that your son will be safe with me, and I'll do everything in my power to take care of him," the elder Te'o explained. "That's something reassuring with parents, especially being so far away."

Both Te'o and his family wanted to be assured that Weis would indeed still be Notre Dame's head coach, after all the national rumors were circulating over the past week about him possibly losing his job.

"I wanted to clear that up with him, and I got it cleared up and everything is fine now," Te'o said.

Te'o has voiced to his family that he wants to be a part of a growing program, and after Weis' visit, the family feels the Irish are headed in the right direction. Weis also expressed how Te'o fits into his future plans.

"One of the things coach Weis said, he said Manti, you can get to the league at any of these five schools you have chosen," Brian Te'o explained. "You just have to decide if you want to be a great linebacker with all the other great linebackers at all these great schools, or you can be thee great linebacker at Notre Dame. I thought that was an interesting way of looking at it."

Though Te'o was excited to have Weis in his home, his little brother might have been the most fired up.

"My little boy, a two-year old, immediately runs into coach Weis' arms as if he's known coach Weis for years," Brian Te'o said. "My little one is not as sociable with people, but he sat in his lap, gave him high fives, I was like how did that happen? It was really positive."

Sounds like Weis' trip was positive too.

Last night, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall was inside the Te'o house. Today, the family is expecting Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh. On Sunday, Polian will be back in Hawaii.

"He flew all the way back there, and is going to fly all the way back here on Sunday," Te'o said.

Polian will go by the house, where he will definitely eat first. Top Stories