LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Manti Te’o was “at a loss for words” after capturing the Maxwell Award as the nation’s most outstanding player, one of three honors Notre Dame’s senior linebacker received at the 22nd Home Depot College Football Awards show at Disney World.
“The last time I ever dreamt of winning that award was on a video game,” he said. “So to win it is a mind-blowing experience.”
Te’o now has won six major awards since the end of the regular season, also taking home the Bednarik Award for top defensive player and Walter Camp Foundation player of the year award on Thursday. He became the first defensive player to win the Maxwell Award since 1980, ending a string of nine straight quarterbacks.
Next up is the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Saturday night, with Te’o and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel considered the favorites.
Manziel won the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award and the Aggies’ junior offensive lineman Luke Joeckel took home the Outland Trophy for the nation’s best interior lineman.
Other players honored Thursday were Southern California’s Marqise Lee (Biletnikoff Award for top receiver), Tulane’s Cairo Santos (Lou Groza Award for top kicker), Louisiana Tech’s Ryan Allen (Ray Guy Award for top punter), Mississippi State’s Johnthan Banks (Jim Thorpe Award for top defensive back), and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (Doak Walker Award for top running back).