Te'o in line for Butkus Award
Punahou senior Manti Te'o appears to be a leading candidate to win the inaugural Butkus Award presented to the nation's top high school linebacker.
Te'o is listed as one of 12 finalists from across the nation, and Buffanblu athletic director Tom Holden said NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkus — whom the award is named after — visited the campus yesterday.
An official announcement is expected today, Holden said.
The Butkus Award has been given to the nation's top college linebacker for the past 23 years, but this will be the first time a high school player also will be chosen by a 51-person selection committee, including professional, college and high school scouts and sports journalists.
Te'o, regarded by some recruiting services and Web sites as the nation's No. 1-ranked linebacker, averages 10.1 tackles per game and has registered eight sacks and three interceptions. He also plays running back and receiver on offense.
Yesterday, Te'o was named 2008 Gatorade Hawaii Football Player of the Year, the company and ESPN/RISE Magazine announced. He is eligible for the National Gatorade Football Player of the Year award that will be announced later this month.
Besides preparing for tonight's Division I football state championship game against Leilehua, Te'o and his family have hosted Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, BYU's Bronco Mendenhall and Stanford's Jim Harbaugh on home visits this week.