Posted by Frazier
Ok, so we don't talk a lot of recruiting here at the 323. Mostly because our high school football knowledge is pretty limited to Easter Massachusetts, which ain't exactly a hotbed. Additionally, we don't feel comfortable evaluating players we haven't actually had a chance to watch. The whole recruiting game is incredibly hype driven.
That said, I wanted to address Manti Te'o's signing with Notre Dame. I just thought this was a fascinating story. It's certainly that young man's life, and I am sure there's a lot I don't know, but I just found it startling for the following reasons:
1: USC. In terms of playing football, especially the linebacker position, that's a hard one to turn down. The Trojans are churning out another pair of first-round linebackers. They have had a fantastic recent run at the position, and Te'o had a slot waiting for him. It's basically Linebacker U West out there these days. Must have been hard to turn down. I can't remember the last legit Notre Dame defensive player (Zibs doesn't count, he sucked). It's been a long time since ND made such headlines with a defensive recruit. Especially seeing as USC just had one of the best defenses in recent memory, while the Domers defense has been abysmal for years.
2: Weather. The kids from Hawaii, I assure you that the weather in LA will be more agreeable than the weather in South Bend. I'm a total convert. It's basically perfect out here.
3: Community. There is a very large Hawaiian and Pacific Islander population in LA. Te'o has stated that his is close with his community, and wants to be a role model for other Hawaiian athletes. It seems that LA would be perfect for this.
4: Faith. Te'o said that his faith is huge in his life. In fact, he claims that he plans on doing his mission work after his first season. (That will be an interesting situation in itself.) I know that Notre Dame is certainly a place of faith, but it's a Catholic school. Te'o is a Mormon. There is a HUGE Mormon population in LA. It actually has one of the largest Mormon Temples of anywhere (I ride past it on the bus). Also, apologies. I know it's the LDS church, but it's commonly referred to as "Mormon" and I'm trying to not confuse anyone. Anyways, I don't know the Mormon population in Indiana, but I'm willing to bet it's not as big or active as it is here.
5: Education. I know that Te'o said he's excited to get a great education at ND. Which he certainly will. But USC isn't exactly a slouch when it comes to academics. Not sure that there's a clear winner there. (Not that the Trojans can hold a candle to UCLA, but that's some bias coming out).
Anyways, I thought it was an interesting choice. Maybe ND was more flexible with the mission work. Maybe Te'o wanted a challenge of breaking a barrier at ND and actually being a good LB there. Maybe he didn't want to be overshadowed by all the other great USC defensive talent. I have no way of knowing. But seriously, who the hell wants to be a Domer? Those guys suck.