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Awards piling up for Notre Dame’s Te’o

Published: Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 10:11 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Manti Te’o’s award week itinerary includes stops in Charlotte, New York, Houston, Orlando and, perhaps, New York again.

Notre Dame’s decorated senior linebacker claimed Thursday he hasn’t thought yet of what would spur that return Big Apple trip: The Heisman Trophy ceremony invite.

“I’ll be gone all next week, so today was my last day of school,” Te’o said at a news conference to announce him as the winner of the ARA Sportsmanship Award.

He is to graduate in December with a degree in graphic design.

“It was hard for me to know it has come to an end. A beautiful end,” he said. “I haven’t been really thinking about going to New York.”

He likely will as of Monday, when Heisman finalists are announced. Te’o should garner enough votes to earn an invite, even if Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel appears to be a prohibitive favorite.

“Without my team, I wouldn’t be a Heisman candidate,” Te’o said. “If we weren’t 12-0, I wouldn’t be a Heisman candidate.

“If I were to win and represent my school and my team and my family, and defensive players in general, it would definitely be a great step for us. If it doesn’t happen, then whoever does win it is truly deserving of the award.”

The Irish linebacker has seen Manziel — aka “Johnny Football” — and he has been impressed.

“Dynamic player,” Te’o said. “He always tends to make something out of nothing. That’s definitely somebody who’s of Heisman material. I’m a real big fan.”

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