UPDATE (Dec. 10, 2012): Added mention of all of Manti’s impressive awards.
Manti Te’o is a brave, confident leader with an impressive collection of awards on his shelf. He’s comfortable in a uniform. He’s a loyal teammate.
But enough about his time in Scouting — I hear he’s pretty good at football, too.
Long before Manti became an All-American linebacker for top-ranked Notre Dame, he became an Eagle Scout.
And now that he’s piled up tons of awards for his play (see a partial list below) and is projected as a Top 10 pick in next year’s NFL Draft, he’s become a household name.
To fully grasp the ways in which Scouting prepared Manti for life, check out this excellent South Bend Tribune article from April. In it, the author describes a time early in Manti’s life where his character was tested.
When he was about 10 years old, his family was shopping in Hawaii on a windy day.
Manti noticed an older lady walking across the street with many boxes in her cart. In an instant, a gust of wind came up and blew all the boxes to the ground, he recalled.
Te’o quickly crossed the street and picked them all up, putting them in her car.
When he came back to his parents, he was feeling pretty good about his deed.
“I had a big smile on my face expecting my dad to tell me how proud he was,” Manti told the crowd. “But instead, he just simply said, ‘That’s what being a Scout is all about.'”
Manti said he was stunned. But he added, “My dad was right. That’s what Scouting is all about. It’s about serving others.”
To me, that’s proof that Manti “got it” from an early age. His family, his religion, and his time in Scouting put him on a path toward a strong mind. As he grew into his 6-foot-2 frame, he added a powerful physical presence. Ninety-six tackles and six interceptions later, it’s easy to see why he’s in the national spotlight.
You really should take time to read the entire article, but here’s one of my favorite quotes from Manti: “The Eagle Scout is not about the 20-plus merit badges I have on my sash. It is not about the medal that I have pinned on my uniform. It is not about having the title of Eagle Scout on my résumé,” he says. “Being an Eagle Scout is simply about serving others.”
And now that he has a chance to add national champion to his résumé, you can bet we’ll be watching this impressive Eagle Scout every step, hit, and tackle along the way.
List of Awards for Manti Te’o
Other than the Eagle Scout Award, he has earned:
- Maxwell Award for player of the year, given by sportscasters, writers, and NCAA coaches
- Walter Camp Award for player of the year, given by coaches and sports information directors
- Vince Lombardi/Rotary Award for outstanding lineman
- Chuck Bednarik Award for defensive player of the year
- Bronko Nagurski Award for defensive player of the year
- Dick Butkus Award for outstanding linebacker
- Lott IMPACT Trophy for outstanding defensive player
He also finished an impressive second in voting for the prestigious Heisman Trophy.
Watch Manti Te’o
After finishing the season undefeated, Manti and his Irish teammates will play in the national championship game on Jan. 7, 2013, in Miami.
Te’o photo via Notre Dame Athletics Media Relations