Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o had all of the makings of a top twenty pick heading into the BCS National Championship against the Alabama Crimson Tide, but then everything came crashing down. Now, there are those who question whether Te’o should even be a first-round pick. Alabama’s dominant line was able to render Te’o useless and exposed the major flaws in his game.
Almost immediately after the game, a Deadspin report surfaced that showed the story of his girlfriend’s death was a total fraud, and people began to question Te’o even more.
Te’o understands that people will look at the Alabama take because it is the top team he faced during his college career, but he doesn’t want to be defined by that one game.It was the worst game he has ever had and, but Te’o wants talent evaluators to use all of his game film instead of focusing on those sixty minutes.
“It’s a little frustrating that people look at one game and say that was the closest thing to an NFL team that I had faced, not giving credit to all the other teams that I played,” Te’o told the Detroit Lions official website. “So you’re saying Stanford isn’t an NFL team; Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue and USC. [Alabama] is definitely a game I didn’t do as well as I could have, but it’s not something I felt could define my career at Notre Dame.”
When you consider everything that Te’o had on his mind heading in to the game with the story of his girlfriend about to be reported, you can understand why he may have looked unfocused and unprepared, but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse.
Te’o needs to do better than that and he needs to keep his emotions in check.
While he was dominated in the Alabama game, he was also the only player on that Notre Dame defense that Alabama was game-planning for. Their focus was to shut down Te’o and force the others to make plays, and that is exactly what they did with no one else stepping up.
Te’o can be better.
He has shown all draft season that he is dedicated to improving himself on and off the field, so an NFL general manager should feel comfortable making Te’o their first-round selection.