No. 4 biggest Notre Dame football NFL Draft bust of all time: Manti Te’o
2013 NFL Draft: Round 2, Pick 38
San Diego Chargers, 2013-2016
New Orleans Saints, 2017–2019
Chicago Bears, 2020
Manti Te’o was a Heisman finalist in his senior year in South Bend in 2012 whose career at Notre Dame was brilliant. It likely would’ve led to a first-round draft selection, but controversy surrounded Te’o — potentially scaring off NFL general managers who questioned his mental.
Why? Not because Te’o himself did anything morally reprehensible, but he was found to have been catfished by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who was posing as a Stanford University student named Lennay Kekua. Te’o had told reporters both his grandmother and girlfriend died, but the latter was a false report that tainted the linebacker’s NFL prospects.
Te’o still had a decent NFL career, but injuries bogged down the 2012 Unanimous All-American to the point where he didn’t match Pro Bowl expectations coming into pro football as a winner of the Maxwell Award, Lott Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Walter Camp Award, Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award, and Lombardi Award.