Notre Dame would be fortunate to get one of their leading defensive playmakers back for 2012. Turns out, they may just get him after all.
At the Lott IMPACT Trophy banquet this evening — the award was eventually won by Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, who is just raking in the postseason hardware — Irish linebacker Manti Te’o (pictured, No. 5) said, in a surprising move, “I feel I’m not done at Notre Dame. I’ll be coming back to Notre Dame.”
Te’o’s father confirmed to the Chicago Tribune via text message that his son would indeed be returning to South Bend for another year. The school later confirmed the announcement Sunday night.
For context, ESPN’s Mel Kiper projects Te’o as a mid first-round selection.
Te’o led the Irish this season with 115 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Having him back for his senior year would be a huge boost for Notre Dame’s defense.
If Te’o changes his mind, he’ll have until Jan. 15, the deadline for underclassmen to make their declarations.