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December 5, 2012
Hardware coming easy
The Guglielmino Athletics Complex will need to renovate as Notre Dame's romp through the awards circuit continued Wednesday with honors for Brian Kelly and Tyler Eifert.
Kelly won Home Depot Coach of the Year, becoming the award's first two-time winner. The Notre Dame head coach also won the honor days before he became Notre Dame's head coach following his undefeated season at Cincinnati. Posting a perfect record with the Irish earned Kelly the honor again, which will be handed out tomorrow night during The Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN.
The awards show will also feature tight end Tyler Eifert, who won the John Mackey Award as the nation's best at his position. He's the first Mackey Award winner from Notre Dame after beating out Zach Ertz of Stanford and Austin Seferian-Jenkins of Washington.
Eifert was a finalist for the award last year, which went to Clemson's Dwayne Allen. While Eifert's statistics have dropped this year, his 44 catches for 624 yards and four touchdowns were enough to pass three-time All-American Ken MacAfee for the Notre Dame career mark in catches and yardage.
Kelly and Eifert will head to Orlando for the Home Depot College Football Awards where they'll be joined by Manti Te'o. The All-American linebacker will be up for the Maxwell (top player) and Bednarik (top defensive player) after already winning the Butkus (top linebacker) and Nagurski (top defensive player) this week.
Te'o is also up for the Lombardi on Wednesday in Houston. Following the trip to Orlando, Te'o will fly to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. He was in New York on Tuesday for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, which went to Alabama center Barrett Jones.
Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco won the Frank Broyles Award (top assistant coach) on Tuesday. Diaco is the first Irish assistant to win the award, continuing to make him a hot head coaching candidate, although he did not land the Boston College job.
The glut of awards figures to create some new attractions outside the weight room in the Gug, where Notre Dame honors its awards winners. The Mackey, Nagurski and Butkus are all firsts for the Irish program. The Bednarik would also be a Notre Dame first.
If Te'o wins the Lombardi tonight, he'd be the first Notre Dame player since Aaron Taylor in 1993. Chris Zorich, Ross Browner and Walt Patulski also won the award from Notre Dame.
If Te'o wins the Maxwell, he'd be the first Notre Dame player since Brady Quinn in 2006 to take home the award and the first non-quarterback to win it in a decade. No defensive player has won the Maxwell since Hugh Green of Pittsburgh in 1980.
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