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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Manti Te'o USA Today Defensive Player of the Year

MANTI TE'O, LB, 6-2, 225

Punahou, Honolulu

Why him: He had 98 tackles, helping lead his team to its first football state title. He also won the Butkus Award as the nation's top high school linebacker. The state title capped a great year for his school. One alumnus, Barack Obama, did rather well, and an alumna, Michelle Wie, earned her LPGA tour card.

Where next? Considering Southern California, Notre Dame, UCLA, Stanford and Brigham Young. "I plan to announce on signing day (Feb. 4)."

Did you get to meet President-elect Obama? "No, he came on a day when hardly anyone was at school, because it was a weekend. I was playing basketball that day. We didn't find out that he had been to the school until we came back for classes on Monday, and we were all bummed."

Highlight of the year: "Winning the state championship. We had a lot of talent and a lot of returning starters and we were very close-knit. We knew that we were close to winning state last year, and we knew we could do it this year."

Best attribute as a player: "I'm not the fastest guy and I don't hit the hardest, but I have the intensity to make a play."

Favorite book: "The Book That Changed My Life."

Favorite teacher: "I've had a lot, but this year, it's my English teacher, Mr. (Timothy) Dyke. He's the one that got me to read that book."

If you're not in the NFL in 10 years, then what? "I would like to have something to do with engineering or in sports medicine."

Most overplayed on your mp3 player: "Vacation by Young Jeezy."

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