It seemed all but assured Manti Te'o would leave Notre Dame a year early and head to the NFL, at least until Sunday night. Instead, Te'o will reportedly return to Notre Dame for his senior season, providing an immediate boost to the middle of the Fighting Irish's defense next next. Te'o made the announcement at the Lott IMPACT Trophy Awards on Sunday.
Fox Sports' Lisa Horne tweeted the news from the ceremony.
Teo: I feel I'm not done at Notre Dame. I'll be coming back to Notre Dame
It was later confirmed by Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Notre Dame later confirmed that Te'o would return for his senior year but a spokesman said there would be no official statement issued Sunday night. At the Irish's annual awards show Friday night on campus, Te'o received the student-athlete award but left the event without comment.
The move comes as a complete surprise as many figured Te'o would end up being taken in the first round, should he declare for the 2012 NFL Draft. Instead, though, Notre Dame should reap the benefits, securing another year of Te'o's services at middle linebacker.