- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Turns out Manti Te'o has to play by the same rules as everyone else for defensive awards, too.
The Notre Dame senior and arguably the best defensive player in college football was named one of 12 semifinalists Monday for the collegiate Butkus Award, given to the nation's top linebacker. The Irish have quite the crowd on the list, as three of their 2013 commits take up one-fourth of the high school semifinalist list.
Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing), Michael Deeb (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) and Jaylon Smith (Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Luers) are all Butkus semifinalists. For good measure, so is one prospect out of Te'o's high school, Stanford commit Isaac Savaiinaea (Honolulu/Punahou).
Te'o was also named the FBS Independent defensive player of the week for the fourth time this season and seventh time overall after notching a game-high 10 tackles, a half-tackle for loss and his fourth pick of the season, tied for the most among linebackers.
Theo Riddick took home the offensive FBS player of the week honor after a career-best 143-yard rushing performance.