Two days after Deadspin reported that Lennay Kekua, the girlfriend of Notre Dame All-American Manti Te’o who supposedly passed away last September, was a hoax, Te’o broke his silence to ESPN in a two and a half hour off-camera interview.
As one would imagine, Te’o denied playing any sort of role in the hoax. Here are highlights of what ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap has reported so far:
- Te’o says he never had any part in the hoax and never made anything up to help his Heisman candidacy.
- Te’o did, however, say he lied to his father about having met Kekua. Te’o confessed that he “kind of catered [his] stories” about Kekua to suggest that they had met.
- Te’o claimed “Two guys and a girl are responsible for the whole thing.” When asked who they were, Te’o replied “I don’t know. According to Ronaiah, Ronaiah’s one.”
- Te’o says he was never asked for money, but Kekua once requested his checking account number to send him money. Te’o did not give her the number.
- Apparently confirming a CBSSports report released earlier Friday evening, Te’o said he tried to speak with Kekua via Skype and Facetime on several occasions, but that he only saw a “black box” on the other end.
- Te’o said that he began contact with Kekua on Facebook his freshman year. Things “got serious” on April 28, the day he was told she’d been in a car crash. The relationship is described by Te’o as being intermittent.
- When asked why he never visited Kekua in the hospital, Te’o replied “It never really crossed my mind. I don’t know. I was in school.”
- Te’o claims he and Kekua got in an argument when she called him after his grandmother passed away. “She was saying, ‘You know, I’m trying to be here for you.’ I didn’t want to be bothered. I wanted to be left alone. I just wanted to be by myself. Last thing she told me was ‘Just know I love you.’ “
- Te’o told ESPN that, until two days ago, he was not fully convinced Kekua didn’t exist. That’s when Te’o said he received an apology from Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man believed to be behind the hoax and Kekua’s cousin, according to Te’o. (A note: Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in Wednesday’s press conference that Te’o was the victim of a hoax and that the university handed the information over to a PI firm that returned a report on Jan. 4.)
- According to Te’o, a group of people related to Tuiasosopo showed up at Notre Dame’s team hotel for the BCS National championship game.
- The first time Te’o said he met Tuiasosopo was after Notre Dame beat USC on Nov. 24. Deadspin reported that Te’o and Tuiasosopo “definitely knew each other” but how was unclear.
There is also an interesting read from the USA Today which was published late Friday night. The paper reports that the cousin of Tuiasosopo faced many parallels in her life similar to Kekua, including a battle with leukemia.
Earlier today, “Outside the Lines” spoke with three people who believed Tuiasosopo was in fact orchestrating a hoax on Te’o, with one person claiming he confessed to the act to her in December. Later in the afternoon, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that Kekua (or, a voice speaking as Kekua) told Te’o via telephone on Dec. 6 during the college football awards show that she had faked her death to hide from drug dealers.
Teldrick Morgan had been a significant part of New Mexico State’s passing game the past two seasons. In 2016, he’ll try to play the same role at a Big Ten school.
Maryland announced in a press release that Morgan, a native of Hanover, Maryland, has transferred to the university and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Terps. As Morgan is coming to College Park as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.
The upcoming season will be the wide receiver’s final year of eligibility.
“Teldrick brings a great deal to our program and we’re excited that he’s a part of our family,” first-year Terps head coach DJ Durkin said in a statement. “It’s always great to bring a local kid back home, and on top of that he’s very skilled and brings a wealth of experience to our receivers unit.”
Each of the past two seasons, Morgan led the Aggies in receptions. He caught 75 passes in 2014, although that production dipped to 45 in 2015. A part of that drop was due to a groin injury that cost the 6-0, 195-pound receiver three games, as well as the continued emergence of Larry Rose III (1,651 yards rushing).
Morgan totaled 120 receptions for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns
Some kids/young adults will simply never learn, at least not the easy way. Case in point: Robbie Rhodes.
In June of 2014, reports surfaced that Rhodes had, ahem, “parted ways” with Baylor “for undisclosed reasons.” That move came a month after Rhodes was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and tampering with physical evidence, even as charges were never filed against him. Two months after “parting ways” with BU, Bowling Green announced that the wide receiver had transferred into its football program.
Nearly two years later? He gone. Again.
According to the Toledo Blade, Rhodes has been dismissed from the Falcons football team. The only stated reason was an unspecified violation of team rules.
Rhodes, a four-star 2013 recruit rated as the No. 8 receiver in the country that year, appeared in 11 games as a true freshman for the Bears, recording 10 receptions for 157 yards. After sitting out the 2014 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Rhodes played in seven games for the Falcons last season, recording three catches for 130 yards.
Rhodes’ departure leaves the Falcons with just two receivers who have caught passes at the collegiate level — Ronnie Moore (third on the team in 2015 with 72 receptions for 954 yards and six touchdowns) and Scott Miller (7-29 last season).
Even as Lyndell Wilson has yet to play a down of college football, the highly-touted 2016 signee simply can’t buy an injury break.
In late March, Wilson announced via Twitter that he would be undergoing surgery in short order to repair a torn labrum in one of his shoulders. Three months later, the linebacker announced via the same social media site that he has to undergo a medical procedure to repair a torn meniscus in one of his knees.
Per Wilson’s tweet, that has since been deleted for whatever reason, the surgery will be performed Tuesday. There’s no prognosis on how much time Wilson will miss, including whether he will be available for the start of summer camp in early August.
While the tweet announcing the surgery no longer appears on his Twitter feed, a retweet and another of his own tweets suggests he has yet another injury hurdle to overcome.
For what it’s worth, the school has yet to address any potential health issues with which Wilson may be dealing.
Wilson was one of five Rivals.com five-star recruits signed by the Tide this recruiting cycle. The Montgomery, Ala., native was rated as the No. 4 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Alabama; and the No. 26 player overall by that recruiting service. 247Sports.com had the 6-1, 235-pound high schooler as the No. 15 overall prospect in the Class of 2016.
Art Briles may be out as Baylor’s head football coach, but he still has some influence over at least one member of his last recruiting class.
Over the weekend, Kam Martin announced via Twitter that he had committed to play his college football for Gus Malzahn at Auburn. The running back chose Auburn over another contender in TCU.
Malzahn and Briles are good friends who, prior to Briles’ dismissal in the wake of the sexual assault scandal in the football program, brainstormed together this offseason. When Martin received a release from his BU National Letter of Intent, he turned to Briles for advice, with his former coach advising him that Auburn would be “a great fit.”
“He helped me — I still have a great relationship with him,” Martin told 247Sports.com. “He just told me Auburn is a great fit for me with Coach Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff. He said if I was going to Baylor and he was there, it would be the same type of vibe (as at Auburn). He told me Coach Gus would take care of me. He said with him, it’s about the player, about the university.
“And shoot, he’s an offensive guru.”
A four-star 2016 prospect, Martin will be eligible to play for said guru’s squad this coming season.