The wait is over—one of the most scrutinized players in the 2013 NFL draft, Notre Dame's Manti Te'o, has been selected by the San Diego Chargers with the 38th overall pick (via a trade up with the Arizona Cardinals).
AZ Central's Kent Somers provides details of the trade:
Chargers take Te'o. Cardinals pick up a 4th rounder. Down 7 spots for a pick. good trade? Depends on who they get at 45— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) April 26, 2013
Te'o was brilliant for Notre Dame in 2012, finishing the season with 111 tackles, seven interceptions, two fumble recoveries, 1.5 sacks and four passes defensed. He helped lead Notre Dame to a 12-1 record and a trip to the national championship game as one of the team's captains and its emotional leader.
He was a unanimous All-American and won the Lott Trophy, Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy.
However, Te'o's draft stock took a hit after he was dominated by the Alabama offensive line in the Crimson Tide's 42-14 victory in the BCS National Championship Game, and questions about his athleticism would plague him after a poor showing at the NFL Scouting Combine.
How good will Manti Te'o be?
In addition, the revelation that his deceased "girlfriend," Lennay Kekua, was never even a real person, but rather an Internet fabrication at the center of a cruel hoax perpetrated against Te'o, put the linebacker in the news for all the wrong reasons after the season.
Te'o publicly addressed his victimization in the hoax and lived up to expectations at Notre Dame's pro day, running a 4.71 40-yard dash. By the time the draft rolled around, most people felt he would be selected in the second half of the first round.
The pre-draft scrutiny will follow Te'o into his professional career, as he will need to prove his game will translate to the NFL after a successful stint at Notre Dame. For now, however, Te'o is surely just enjoying the fact that his name was called and he is now on an NFL team.