Sept. 2, 2010

Getting To Know … Inside Linebacker Manti Te’o No. 5 * 6-2 * 245 * So. – Laie, Hawaii/Punahou

Sophomore inside linebacker Manti Te’o made an impact for the Notre Dame football team the minute he stepped on campus as a freshman last season. The Laie, Hawaii native wrapped up his first year as the fourth-leading tackler on the team with 63 takedowns. Te’o earned full-time starter status for the Washington game and didn’t look back, registering 57 tackles over the season’s final nine contests. Now entering his second year in the lineup, Te’o will look to become a leader within the Irish defensive ranks. GameDay’s Aaron Horvath gives Irish fans a chance to get to know Manti Te’o.

Horvath: What is your favorite place on campus?
Te’o: My dorm room.

Horvath: What is your favorite Coach Kelly saying?
Te’o: “You owe Notre Dame, but Notre Dame doesn’t owe you.”

Horvath: What is the most important thing you have learned while here at Notre Dame?
Te’o: There a lot of people watching you; you have to always be aware of what you are doing.

Horvath: If the Irish linebacker’s had a theme song, what would it be?
Te’o: It would be “On My Way” by DJ Khaled.

Horvath: Do you have any memories of Notre Dame growing up? If so, what is your favorite moment?
Te’o: It would have to be when they almost beat USC (in 2005).

Horvath: If Coach Kelly wasn’t coaching, what would he be doing for a living?
Te’o: He’d be a referee. I can see him being a ref.

Horvath: If you were a candy, what would you be and why?
Te’o: I would be a Whatchamacallit because it’s my favorite candy.

Horvath: If you were to put together a foursome to play golf, dead or alive, who would round it out?
Te’o: Rob(by) Toma, who took me for the first time and my good friends from back home, Dalton Hilliard and Aulola Tonga.

Horvath: If you could have any superpower, what would you want to have?
Te’o: To fly, so I could go home whenever I wanted.

Horvath: What song on your iPod would surprise people?
Te’o: Carrie Underwood’s, “Jesus Take the Wheel.”

Horvath: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play you in the lead role?
Te’o: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Horvath: What TV show do you never miss?
Te’o: I enjoy watching Iron Chef, especially when my favorite chef, Morimoto, is on.

Horvath: What is the best nickname on the team?
Te’o: My favorite nickname on the team is Jonas Gray’s. His nickname is “Meatball.”

Horvath: If you had your own energy drink, what would it be called?
Te’o: I would call it “Hawai’i Five-O.”

Horvath: Where would you go in history if you had a time machine?
Te’o: I’d want to go back to when my grandfather was alive so I could meet him. I never got the chance to meet him.

Horvath: What was your best Halloween costume growing up?
Te’o: I was Sub-Zero. It was legit too.

Horvath: Who is your favorite professor on campus and what class do they teach?
Te’o: My Nazi History teacher, Professor (Martina) Cucchiara.

Horvath: Who has been most influential on your life and why?
Te’o: My parents

Horvath: What is the best prank you’ve seen played?
Te’o: During the summer we played a prank on my roommate, Hafis Williams and wrapped all of his things in saran wrap. We wrapped his bed, his hats, his refrigerator, pretty much everything – even his trash can with trash still in it was wrapped.