NOTRE DAME - Regardless of how many tackles he makes. Regardless of how many sacks and interceptions, Manti Te'o will walk off the field at Notre Dame Stadium Saturday night, having already accomplished a lofty goal.
"Just one of the best, to not only play but to attend this great university," Te'o says of how he wishes to be rememebered at Notre Dame.
The statistics, magnificent as they are, don't tell the story of Manti Te'o, and the impact he's had at Notre Dame.
"He's a unique player", Brian Kelly explains.
"I would say that the one thing that stands out to me is with all the things that have gone on off the field and all of the hype and all of the all-American and Heisman talk, he gets better each week. It's amazing to me. I was up here, I don't know, when do we do media with the players? Wednesday? It was, I don't know, 7:00 he's up here doing another interview. He just goes to class, handles all this, and then plays really well on Saturdays. That's what makes him so unique to any player that I've coached."
Despite closing a career that will certainly place Te'o as one of the great defensive players in school history, a guy who's already seemingly done it all, is still after more.
"I think when my name is being tossed around as a national champion, that's what I'm looking for", Te'o says.
"You ask any Heisman winner who wasn't a national champion what would they rather be, I think they'd say the latter...I'd rather be holding a crystal ball than a bronze statue.just me."