The Butkus Award, given to the best linebacker in namesake of NFL Hall-of-Fame player Dick Butkus, is annually given to the top collegiate standout, but this year was the first year it was ever given to a prep and professional player.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Te'o helped lead Punahou High to its first-ever state title this past fall, and he received the honor from Butkus himself back in December, and attended the reception this past Tuesday.
While in the Midwest, Te'o's parents also took advantage of the opportunity to visit Notre Dame's campus for the first time. Being a recruiting dead period, Te'o didn't go, but his parents got a great look at one of the five schools their son is still considering.
"Well, we didn't get to talk to any of the coaches due to the dead period, but we loved the campus, it actually exceeded our expectations," Brian Te'o, Manti's father said. "The athletic facilities were amazing.
"The snow was beautiful and so were the tours throughout the buildings. The Basilica was amazing. I was able to do my own snow angel in the end zone of the stadium.
"The train ride in and out was fun. Athletes that attend Notre Dame are fortunate to have such facilities and services at their disposal.
"My wife and I enjoyed our visit. We want to thank everyone for letting us come."
Te'o himself, took an official visit to Notre Dame back in November for the Syracuse game. He keeps in regular contact with the Irish coaching staff, and head coach Charlie Weis has already had his in-home visit. Te'o has also taken official trips to UCLA and BYU. He still has visits set up with Stanford and USC, with a decision expected to come on signing day.