- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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Manti Te'o was on Notre Dame's campus Thursday to accept a sportsmanship award from the Awards and Recognition Association.
Don't get used to the comfort.
Te'o will be in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday for the Bronko Nagurski Awards banquet, with coach Brian Kelly serving as the keynote speaker. He will be in New York on Tuesday for the National Football Foundation awards dinner, where this year's class of scholar-athletes will be honored.
Wednesday brings Houston for the Rotary Lombardi Award presentation, followed by a trip to Orlando, Fla., the next day for the College Football Awards Show, which includes presentations for the Maxwell Award and Bednarik Trophy.
The senior captain's only request of Kelly? Make sure the hotels have gyms.
"So I don't come back as a D-lineman," the 6-foot-2, 255-pound linebacker cracked Thursday.
Te'o learned Thursday that a return trip to Newport Beach, Calif., will follow next Sunday for the Lott IMPACT Trophy presentation. And he may just be flying cross-country for that one.
The Heisman Trophy is not on the mind of the leader of the nation's No. 1 team, not with a national title game approaching in less than six weeks. But another trip to New York, for next Saturday's presentation of the sport's most prestigious award, would be a milestone for an inside linebacker, as a defense-only player has never won the award.
A 12-0 record has elevated Te'o's spotlight, and he credits that for even being in the discussion, as he deflected praise to his teammates.
"If I were to win and represent my school and my team and my family and defensive players in general, it would definitely be a great step for us," he said. "If it doesn't happen, then whoever does win it is truly deserving of the award. Whatever happens is going to be good."
The front-runner is Texas A&M redshirt freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose final on-field say came Saturday in a 439-yard, five touchdown performance. Manziel spoke publicly for the first time in the days after, meaning his potential accepting of the trophy will not mark his first time in the public spotlight.
Finalists are announced Monday, which could mean one more flight for Te'o, and one more honor, regardless of outcome.
"He always tends to make something out of nothing," Te'o said of 'Johnny Football.' "That's definitely somebody that's of Heisman material. I'm a real big fan."