Notre Dame senior and former Punahou football star Manti Te'o won the 2012 Butkus Award for the best linebacker in collegiate football Monday.
The Butkus Award is one of the elite individual honors in college football, according to its website.
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 Dec. 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 Jan. 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 has 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.