Punahou School senior linebacker Manti Te‘o became the first high school recipient of the 2008 Butkus Award today during a gathering at the Hemmeter Gym on the school's campus.The award is named for Pro Football Hall of Fame legend Dick Butkus and has traditionally been given to the nation’s top collegiate linebacker.
This year, the competition was expanded to include awards at both the high school and collegiate levels. The Butkus Award honors players who are both outstanding athletes and models of service to their community.
Dick Butkus and son Matt Butkus were present to announce that Te‘o would be the recipient of the award. Te'o will receive the award at the school's football banquet Sunday.
Te'o will help lead Punahou against Leilehua tonight in the state football championship at Aloha Stadium.
Te‘o, a multisport star from La'ie, has received a number of athletic honors in 2007, including Interscholastic League of Honolulu Defensive Player of the Year, Gatorade Hawai‘i Football Player of the Year, All-ILH first team defense selection, and All-State Defensive Player of the Year.
He also recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout and has been a dedicated volunteer at Hawai‘i Special Olympics and the Head Start Preschool Program.
Te'o is one of the most widely recruited athletes in the state's history. He said he narrowed his college choices to Brigham Young, Notre Dame, USC, UCLA and Stanford.