Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o Wins 2012 Walter Camp Award

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 6, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Linebacker Manti Te'o #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates his teams 22-13 victory over the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o has won the 2012 Walter Camp Award, according to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports.

Feldman tweeted on Thursday:

Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o selected 2012 Walter Camp Football Player of the Year. Only 3rd defensive player to win it.

— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) December 6, 2012

The Walter Camp Award, which recognizes college football's best player, was between Te'o, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Kansas State's Collin Klein, Oregon's Kenjon Barner and USC's Marqise Lee.

Te'o led Notre Dame to a perfect 12-0 record in the regular season, including wins over ranked opponents Michigan State, Michigan, Stanford and Oklahoma. He was the star and emotional leader of a defense that allowed 10.3 points per game, the best mark in the nation.

The senior registered a team-high 103 tackles (including 5.5 tackles for loss), seven interceptions (tied for second in the nation, first among linebackers) and 1.5 sacks.

That included stepping up big-time in Notre Dame's shocking 30-13 upset of Oklahoma on Oct. 27, in which Te'o racked up 11 tackles (two tackles for loss), one sack and one interception.

Given Manziel and Klein are the other finalists for the Heisman Trophy this season, this is certainly an interesting development. It doesn't mean Te'o will win the Heisman, but it gives hope to the defensive-minded, especially considering the inside linebacker became only the third defensive player in history to win the Walter Camp Award.

Kudos to Te'o for remaining at Notre Dame after his junior campaign, given he could have been a first-round pick in the NFL draft. Of course, it doesn't appear to have hurt his draft stock.

In fact, it may have helped it.


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