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2012 Football Awards - Images by Matt Cashore
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Manti Te’o - in absentia - was named Notre Dame’s Most Valuable Player Friday night at the third annual Notre Dame Football Awards Show in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
It was one of 17 awards - newly-named Echoes - handed out to Irish players during the two-hour ceremony.
Irish head coach Brian Kelly “presented” Te’o with the award. Of course, Te’o was in New York live via satellite awaiting Saturday night’s Heisman Trophy presentation.
“I just wanted to tell you guys I love you so much,” Te’o said. “There’s one place I want to be and that’s with my brothers. I’m just trying to do my best to represent you. I’m so proud of you guys.
“We have a big game on Jan. 7 and we’re going to go through a lot of adversity. But there’s no amount of pain, there’s no amount of adversity that we can’t get through together.”
Said Kelly: “He’s always been about his teammates. I’ve gotten the opportunity to be with him this week. All he asks me every day is about his teammates. I think you know that our MVP and the Echo goes to Manti Te’o.”
Kelly also presented the Next Man In Award to Tommy Rees, the Offensive Player of the Year Award to Tyler Eifert and the Defensive Player of the Year Award to Zeke Motta.
Notre Dame Vice President/Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick used the “count on me” theme to run through the key figures that contributed to an undefeated regular season.
“If you want to know what the essence of this journey by this remarkable team is all about, it’s about the power of counting on each other,” Swarbrick said.
Notre Dame president Rev. John I Jenkins, C.S.C. opened the program.
“College football is so much more exciting when Notre Dame is in the mix for the national championship,” Jenkins said. “That’s true for no other team. Notre Dame is special.”
Safeties coach Bob Elliott presented the Rockne Student-Athlete of the Year to Danny Spond with a 3.3 grade-point average in Political Science.
Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand presented the Offensive Lineman of the Year Award to Zack Martin.
Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Bob Diaco presented the Moose Krause Lineman of the Year Award to Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt.
Receivers coach Mike Denbrock presented the Nick Pietrosante Award to Robby Toma and John Goodman.
Tight ends/special teams coordinator Scott Booker presented the Special Teams Player of the Year Award to Kyle Brindza.
Defensive line coach Mike Elston presented the A-Team Player of the Year Award to Kapron Lewis-Moore for epitomizing Accountability, Appreciation and Achievement.
Director of strength and conditioning Paul Longo presented the Fr. Bernard Lange Iron Cross Award to the top performer in the weight room -- Braxston Cave.
Running backs/slot receivers coach Tony Alford presented the Count On Me Award to Theo Riddick, who willingly moved to receiver upon the arrival of the Brian Kelly regime, and then back to running back prior to the 2012 season.
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Chuck Martin presented the Offensive Newcomer of the Year Award to Everett Golson. Finalists included DaVaris Daniels, Christian Lombard and Troy Niklas.
Co-defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks presented the Defensive Newcomer of the Year Award to KeiVarae Russell. Finalists included Sheldon Day, Matthias Farley and Danny Spond.
Ernest Jones, Director of Player Development and Engagement, presented an Echo to Mike Golic, Jr., for his charitable work as a part of Notre Dame’s Irish Around The Bend program.
Defensive graduate assistant Josh Reardon presented the Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year Award to Nick Fitzpatrick. Finalists included Bruce Heggie and Will Mahone.
Offensive graduate assistant Bill Brechin presented the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year Award to Tyler Stockton. Other finalists were Joe Romano and Joe Schmidt.
The stage included the six trophies won during the season against Michigan State (Megaphone Trophy), Boston College (Frank Leahy Memorial Bowl), USC (Shillelagh Trophy), Purdue (Shillelagh Trophy), Stanford (Legends Trophy) and Navy.
Notre Dame graduate and head of the Orange Bowl committee - Jack Seiler - said: “There’s room for one more trophy up here.”