Te'o Talks About Signing With Notre Dame

It was a surreal moment for five-star linebacker Manti Te'o.

On national television, knowing that millions of sets of eyes were on him, Manti Te'o reached for the Notre Dame hat to his right, and put it on his head.

"It was like slow motion," Te'o said.

The rest of the day has been a blur.

Earlier Wednesday morning, at a national signing day function in Honolulu, Te'o announced that he'd be attending the University of Notre Dame, choosing the Irish over USC and UCLA.

Only a couple hours earlier, had the 6-foot-2, 225-pound standout and his parents finally reached that decision.

"The coaches were very nice and very kind to me," the Punahou School prospect said of the Notre Dame staff. He took official visits to his three finalists, as well as BYU and Stanford. "They were very welcoming and they care and you can tell.

"The academics speak for itself at Notre Dame, and so does the tradition. It was a matter of if I can take that long trek up to South Bend, and if I had the strength to stay there for four years. I'm going to miss my home and family, but I decided it's a sacrifice worth taking, and I'm excited to go to Notre Dame."

Now that the process is over, Te'o's parents are excited to take a nap.

"My wife and I deserve at least three hours of extra sleep," Brian Te'o, Manti's father said. "It was a tough decision well worth making."

"We're just glad it's over."

About an hour after signing his letter-of-intent, Te'o got on the phone with Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis.

"He was just saying he was so happy, that if I was there right now, he'd hug me," Te'o said with a laugh. "Charlie Weis is a good man and it was a good talk.

"He was just saying that he had the No. 5 jersey waiting for me, and that he was very excited, and I'm very excited to go there. It's going to be a good experience, and I can't wait."

Te'o also can't wait to help return Notre Dame to the National Championship picture.

"I'm going to do me, and do what I can do, and I'm going to try my best, and do my best to get on the field and show Notre Dame what I'm all about," Scout.com's top-ranked strong-side linebacker explained. "I think our team is on track to do great things.

"You have to have heart in this game. You have to love this game, and it's that love that's going to motivate you to be the best."

Te'o became the 17th player to ink a letter-of-intent in Notre Dame's 2009 recruiting class.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories