Manti Te’o to the San Diego Chargers. Is this a good fit for Te’o?

Manti Te'o

Freshly drafted rookie Manti Te’o has had a rough past couple of months. Although at the time it seemed none of it would have been this way. He started off from a red hot fire and since then its burned down to just a coal. However, there is still some heat to that coal. Te’o is looking to transfer that coal, and all the bad luck with it, back into a fire. 

Manti Te’o went to college at a well known school at Notre Dame. Know for its successful football program and wealthy students. Te’o was a finalist for this years Heisman Trophy voting. He lost behind Texas A&M’s Freshman Johnny Manziel, A.K.A: Johnny Football. Te’o also led his team to a BCS National Championship game.

The Notre Dame defense was ranked second in the nation in points allowed per game. They only allowed twelve points per game and only allowed a total of 305 yards per game. Manti Te’o leading the team in mainly all categories. Recording fifty five solo tackles, fifty-eight assist tackles, seven interceptions, eleven passes defended, and one fumble recovery. He led his defense in all those categories. Earning him a spot as captain of the team, and of the defense. The only downfall to his stats was his total number of sacks. He only recorded  one and a half sacks

So when Te’o led his team to a 12-0 season, they finished #1 in the nation. Earning them a trip to the BCS National Championship against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Everyone knew that Notre Dame had never seen a team like Alabama before. They are quick, strong, and very tough team to beat. As are most all the teams in the SEC. However, Alabama is the best team in the SEC which had everyone choosing Notre Dame as the underdog.

Oh boy did they prove they were the underdogs. In a BCS Championship that was much anticipated and bound to be exciting, Alabama trampled all over them. No contest.

Alabama rushed for a total of 265 rushing yards, and quarterback AJ McCarron had 264 passing yards. A total of 529 total yards for the game. By Halftime the score was 28-0. The Crimson Tide had absolutely tore Notre Dame apart and began playing catch with the pieces left. The final score was 42-14. The worst part about it.. Manti Te’ o was nowhere to be found. He had three solo tackles and seven assisted tackles. Not what he, or his team, was hoping for. He was no match for the size and strength of the Alabama O-line.

That was just the beginning of it all.

To make things worse for him he brings out his fake girlfriend hoax. Which he had no idea about until last December.

It started during 2009, that winter to be specific, when Te’o responded to a message from Facebook calling herself Lennay Kekua. By April of the next year Te’o  had starting talking to Kekua on the phone. In June 2012, Kekua told him that she had leukemia, and later on in September received a phone call from Kekua’s so called “brother” saying that she had died.

On December 6, Te’o told ESPN that he received a phone call from Kekua saying she was not dead. On January 16, he received a phone call from Ronaiah Tuiasosopo (the man behind the prank) apologizing for what he did.

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Diane O’Meara had some photos stolen from her, starting the whole hoax.

Diane O’Meara (left) was the supposed the Lennay Kekua. Tuiasosopo had been stealing O’Meara’s pictures and created a fake facebook account from them. “The past five years, (Tuiasosopo) has literally been stalking my Facebook and stealing my photos,’’ O’Meara said about Tuiasosopo. O’Meara had went to high school with Tuiasosopo but had only talked to him two or three times. He told her that him and his cousin had got in a car wreck and after seeing a picture of O’Meara, his cousin said that he thought she was pretty. So Tuiasosopo bugged O’Meara for more pictures so he could create a slideshow for his cousin. He then contacted her in January asking her for a video that said “Good luck on the 7th” or a photo saying “good luck No. 5”. He said that his cousin was having brain surgery on the 7th and his football number was five. Te’o was number five at the University of Notre Dame and played the National Championship on January 7th.

Te’o has shut down his Twitter account and isn’t sure if he’ll use social media again.

Te’o did not think it would affect his draft stock or NFL Combine, but it sures seems like it did. Te’o ran his 40 yard dash and finished it with a 4.81 time. Which is a slow time for a linebacker. Teams need fast linebackers who can chase down fast running backs and cover the occasional tight end. However, on Pro Day just his willingness to run another forty to get a better time shows just how much of a competitor he is.

But even with all three of the put backs I mentioned earlier, Manti Te’o was drafted by the San Diego Chargers with their second round pick, which the Chargers traded up to get. He was drafted with the thirty-eighth overall pick, and sixth pick in the second round.

As Te’o continues to workout and to play with veterans and experienced players during OTA’s he has earned the respect of many of them. One of the biggest things on everyones mind is how Te’o would be treated in an NFL locker room after his hoax, and by the looks of it so far many are taking in the young player and putting him under their wing. The players and coaches are impressed with his dedication. Defensive Coordinator John Pagano had bright things to say about Manti. Pagano said, “He is so smart and so involved in the defense. He wants to know what everyone is doing.” Many say that Te’o will never become a star, but he has the leadership and capabilities of being a long-term solution for San Diego’s defense. I agree with them, Te’o may not be in the Pro Bowl anytime soon, but he will certainly help the defense out. A comparison for Te’o is former Charger Junior Seau.

The San Diego local newspaper welcomes Te'o to the Chargers.

The San Diego local newspaper welcomes Te’o to the Chargers.

Although Charger players may not being having their fun with Te’o, the city of San Diego is having their fun with its new ILB. The San Diego newspaper even posted a picture of Te’o and his imaginary girlfriend on San Diego beach (shown right). Many other various cartoon pictures have been made of Te’o, and memes are spreading all across social media websites.

Te’o was a great pick in this years draft and will be a long-term solution with his leadership abilities. Fullback Le’Ron McClain said, “The sky’s the limit for him, I’m looking forward to seeing him on Sundays.” He’s out to prove that with the past that he’s had to endure, it hasn’t made him falter and has made him a better player and person.

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