Manti Te’o has been the most transcendent figure for Notre Dame Football since Rudy Ruetigger. Ok, maybe that’s a bit much to say right now but Te’o is the ignition to a new era that Irish fans have been looking for since Lou Holtz. Since he arrived on campus in 2009 Manti Te’o has done nothing but raise the bar every season and has solidified the most dominant Irish defense in recent history. In my twenty-plus years of living and dying with every Irish win or loss, there hasn’t been a player that affects the entire program like Te’o. His legendary performances against Michigan State and Michigan will be talked about for decades and without his inspired play, the Irish are not 4-0. Jack Swarbrick said, in the SI article profiling Te’o “Someday, when we are there holding up that crystal ball, I want Manti to be here with us because the role he has played in leading us from where we were to where we are going has been indispensable.”. There is no truer indictment of the impact Te’o is having on this program now and the legend he is creating going forward. Manti is everything Notre Dame Football used to be and wants to be known for again. He is larger than life, accepts nothing but excellence, expects to be the very best year in and year out and does this all with a polished image and the highest standards. Just as the #3 in blue and gold to some will always be Joe Montana, #5 will always be remembered as Manti Te’o. For the first time in decades, Notre Dame Football legitimately feels like it is “back” and in large part, thanks to Manti Te’o. The University of Florida has had to rebuild after Tim Tebow, Manti is leaving his program with a foundation to continue to build from.