Te’o to Couric: ‘What would you do?’

47 Comments

While the entire interview has yet to air, portions of Manti Te’o‘s “highly anticipated” sit-down with Katie Couric were broadcast on Good Morning America Wednesday.

In his first on-camera interview since the faux dead girlfriend hoax was revealed a week ago today, the former Notre Dame linebacker reiterated that he played no part in the elaborate scheme — a supposed online girlfriend named Lennay Kekua and her “death” in mid-September — although he once again allowed that he had briefly lied after initially discovering not only was Kekua not dead after a battle with leukemia, but that she didn’t even exist.

In the brief segment that was aired this morning, Te’o claimed he simply didn’t know which way to turn or which direction to go after finding out in early December that what he had known to be true was, in fact, not.

“Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12,” Te’o told Couric in the interview that will be broadcast on her syndicated talk show.

“Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she’s alive and then I’m going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?”

The Heisman Trophy ceremony was Dec. 8.  Te’o was the runner-up in the voting to Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel.

As the Associated Press notes, there are at least two instances of Te’o addressing the “death” of his “girlfriend” after he learned of the hoax — “in a Web interview on Dec. 8 and again in a newspaper interview published Dec. 10.”  Te’o also sidestepped a question involving the supposed girlfriend in the days leading up to the BCS championship game against Alabama Jan. 7.

During a press conference the night Deadspin.com broke the story, ND athletic director Jack Swarbrick acknowledged that Te’o informed the university of the hoax Dec. 26, nearly three weeks after the player had learned that his relationship with Kekua had been a lie.

In an interview with NBC’s Today show Tuesday, Diane O’Meara, the public face of Te’o’s girlfriend, stated that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo admitted to her that he was the perpetrator of the hoax and apologized to his former high school classmate.  O’Meara also defiantly claimed that she in no way, shape or form knows Te’o, and had no knowledge of Tuiasosopo’s alleged scheme.

Western Kentucky’s Joel Iyiegbuniwe declares early for draft

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s a new leader in the clubhouse for “Early Entrant With the Most Vowels in his Surname.”

On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, Joel Iyiegbuniwe announced that he is leaving Western Kentucky early and making himself available for the April NFL draft. The linebacker, a native of Bowling Green, Kent., stated that he came to his decision “[a]fter much thought, prayer and discussion with my family, coaches and advisors.”

This past season, Iyiegbuniwe led the Hilltoppers in tackles with 117, tackles for loss with 11.5 and forced fumbles with three. He was named first-team All-Conference USA following the regular season.

Including last season, Iyiegbuniwe had started 27 straight games at outside linebacker for the Hilltoppers.

Today is the deadline for draft-eligible players to inform the NFL of their intentions.

Kent State announces signing of ex-Auburn QB Woody Barrett

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One day after Woody Barrett announced that he has found a new college football home, the school has confirmed as much.

Kent State sent out a press release Monday evening acknowledging that Barrett has signed with the football program. After spending the 2017 season at a Mississippi junior college, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.

Counting this coming season, Barrett will have three years of eligibility remaining.

“We’re excited about Woody’s potential, his ability and his raw tools both throwing and running the football,” new Golden Flashes head coach Sean Lewis said in a statement. “And we’re excited to have him on campus to be training with our team as we get ready for spring ball.”

A four-star member of Auburn’s 2016 recruiting class, Barrett was rated as the No. 6 dual-threat quarterback in the country that cycle. He took a redshirt as a true freshman, then opted to transfer from the Tigers in May of last year, ultimately ending up at the JUCO level.

At Copiah-Lincoln Community College this past season, Barrett passed for 1,294 yards and eight touchdowns in nine games, adding another 485 and six on the ground.

Michigan confirms hiring of Sherrone Moore as TEs coach

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One hole on Jim Harbaugh‘s coaching staff has been filled.

The football program confirmed Monday that Sherrone Moore has been hired and will serve as Harbaugh’s tight ends coach. Moore will replace Greg Frey, who moved on to a job on Willie Taggart‘s staff at Florida State.

The 31-year-old Moore — he’ll turn 32 in early February — spent the past four seasons coaching tight ends at Central Michigan. This past season, he added the title of assistant head coach as well as taking over as the MAC program’s recruiting coordinator.

Moore began his coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant at Louisville from 2009-12. He was promoted to tight ends coach in 2012, spending that season as well as 2013 in that role.

NC State QB Jalan McClendon puts his name on graduate transfer market

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ryan Finley announced earlier this month he will return to NC State for his senior season, which means his backup is leaving. Jalan McClendon revealed Monday he will pursue his options elsewhere for his final season of college football as a graduate transfer.

“I’ve enjoyed every bit of this university,” McClendon said in a statement. “My teammates and coaches, the fans, the atmosphere, even the food! I appreciate everything that NC State has done for me and I wouldn’t take it back for anything.”

McClendon appeared in 20 games as a member of the Wolfpack, completing 26-of-47 passes for 262 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions while adding 46 carries for 223 yards.

“Jalan has been phenomenal throughout his career,” head coach Dave Doeren said in a statement.  “He’s been a great leader and a great teammate and has done everything we could’ve asked a young man to do. We wish him the best and will always consider him an important part of the Wolfpack family.”

McClendon was a 3-star recruit out of West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte.