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Manti Te'o of Notre Dame Wins 28th Collegiate Butkus Award(R)

Manti Te'o of Notre Dame is the 2012 collegiate Butkus Award winner as college football's best linebacker. He won the high school Butkus Award in 2008. Click here for high-resolution version

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Dec 3, 2012) - Notre Dame senior linebacker Manti Te'o was honored with the 28th annual collegiate Butkus Award® this morning. The announcement came in a surprise telephone call by legendary linebacker and award namesake Dick Butkus and his son Matt. A presentation is planned for December 17 on the Notre Dame campus as part of an "I Play Clean" workshop series.

Te'o was selected by a panel of 51 coaches, recruiters, scouts and journalists coordinated by Pro Football Weekly. In addition to making 103 tackles, seven interceptions and a fumble recovery, Te'o led a stout Notre Dame defense that surrendered just 10.3 points a game during the regular season. Notre Dame will play Alabama January 7, 2013, for the BCS National Championship.

"Manti Te'o embodies the toughness, intensity, competitiveness and on-field demeanor of a throwback performer like Dick Butkus himself," said Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly. "Te'o was the first ever High School Butkus winner (2008), and he has lived up to all the expectations and positioned his team for a chance at the national championship. He has been an inspiration to his team and community, and serves as a model citizen."

Te'o finished with 83 points in the Butkus Award voting system. Finishing second was Jarvis Jones of Georgia (54 points) and third was C.J. Mosley of Alabama (21 points). Kevin Minter of LSU and Dion Jordan of Oregon were tied for fourth. 

Jaylon Smith Wins High School Butkus Award

Jaylon Smith of Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., was honored with the high school Butkus Award. Smith also was surprised by a call from Dick Butkus. A public convocation is planned for December 15 in Fort Wayne.

"Jaylon Smith distinguished himself on the field and in the classroom. Already committed to Notre Dame, Smith has been a part of four state championship teams. He was a dominant two-way performer with the talent to follow in Te'o's footsteps," said Arkush.

The professional Butkus Award will be presented in January 2013. All three honorees will be featured in a television special produced by Pro Football Weekly and aired in late January 2013.

The Butkus Award inscription reads: "When a player receives the Butkus Award he will know two things. First, he is recognized as the best of the best linebackers in America. Second, and in the long run most important, he will understand that this recognition brings a responsibility to serve others by giving back. - Dick Butkus."

The Butkus Award® draws attention to the I Play Clean™ campaign, which encourages athletes to rely solely upon training hard, eating well and playing with attitude, instead of using performance-enhancing substances. Dick Butkus encourages athletes, coaches and fans to pledge their support at www.iplayclean.org or www.facebook.com/i.play.clean

Considered one of the greatest football players in history, Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, following an illustrious career with the Chicago Bears, University of Illinois and Chicago Vocational School. Meanwhile, his son Matt was a defensive lineman for the University of Southern California, and joins his father in philanthropic efforts. More information is at www.thebutkusaward.com and www.facebook.com/51.butkus.

The Butkus Award is part of the National College Football Awards Association, a coalition of the major collegiate awards. More information is available at www.ncfaa.org.