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SOUTH BEND Manti Te’o is aware how little time he has left at Notre Dame.
And the senior linebacker is going to make sure he soaks up every last minute as the No. 1 Irish (12-0) wait to play in the Jan. 7 BCS championship game in Miami.
“My attention has just been on taking advantage of every day,” said Te’o, who received the Awards and Recognition Association sportsmanship award Thursday. “All I’ve been thinking about is the time I have left here at school with my peers and my classmates. I will be gone all next week, so (Thursday) was my last day of school. It was just hard for me to know that it has come to an end, a beautiful end.”
Te’o has a packed travel schedule for the week after Notre Dame finds out who it will play in Miami. The Irish will likely face the winner of Saturday’s Southeastern Conference championship game between No. 2 Alabama (11-1) and No. 3 Georgia (11-1).
Te’o will begin the week by traveling to Charlotte, N.C., where he is a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to college football’s best defensive player.
He will head to New York on Tuesday when the National Football Foundation will announce the winner of the Campbell Trophy, presented to the nation’s top scholar-athlete. Te’o was already named a NFF scholar-athlete and awarded an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship, and the scholarship would grow to $25,000 if he wins the Campbell Trophy.
On Wednesday, Te’o will go to Houston where he will be in the running to win the Lombardi Award, given to the top lineman.
Te’o will go to Orlando on Thursday for ESPN’s “Home Depot College Football Awards” show. Te’o could win the Chuck Bednarik Award, as defensive player of the year, and the Maxwell Award, as player of the year.
Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, a Bishop Dwenger graduate, will also be in the running for the Mackey Award, as the top tight end.
Then next Friday, Te’o will likely be going back to New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
Te’o will complete his tour with a trip to Newport Beach, Calif., for the Lott IMPACT Award ceremony.
Not that the linebacker with 103 tackles and seven interceptions is worried about the busy week.
“My mind is not on those awards,” Te’o said. “My mind is just about strengthening the relationships I have with my friends and coaches with my family, and just making sure that when I leave here, I have a lot of memories to look back on.”
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