There is no doubt in my mind that Manti Te’o, the current leading candidate for this year’s Heisman Trophy, will be the most wanted player in the 2013 NFL draft. From the standpoint as to what a player needs to be, I believe this man has it all; leadership, intensity, humility, god-given athletic gift, and willingness to do what it takes for his team no matter the situation. What happened this Saturday was something special in my eyes, there are very few people that would be able to function after losing a loved one, let alone play an entire game. This past week Manti Te’o suffered two very devastating loses; on Tuesday he lost his grandmother and if that wasn’t enough, the next day he lost his girlfriend Lennay Kekua to Leukemia. One can only assume Manti’s state on mind this past week, and I’m certain that if Manti chose not to play against one of their biggest rivals the Michigan Wolverines, they would have been very understanding as that option was given to him by his coaches. Instead as a tribute to grandmother and girlfriend, he not only took the field this past Saturday against Michigan, he was arguably the most visible player on the field; his contribution came in the way of 12 tackles (8 solo ) and 2 sacks which led Notre Dame to a 13 – 6 victory against Michigan.
What this did in my opinion was solidify Manti Te’o as arguably the best college player in the NCAA today, and one that will be on every NFL team’s radar this upcoming draft. More importantly this game revealed the type of character Manti Te’o is, willing to play and lead his team to victory through his grief. This type of leadership quality which I believe is missing in many athletes of this generation, is what makes someone like Mante Te’o a unique person, and one that would make any NFL team very lucky when the time comes. For now, Manti Te’o is going back home to Honolulu during Notre Dame’s bye week to be with his family. I believe the lesson here is that there aspects in life more important in sports; during and after an athletic career is over, what remains are the people that have supportive through every phase, that being family. Manti Te’o not only realizes this idea, but in my eyes he embraces it; hence why he has the heart of a champion.