Local Connection: Manti Te'o Drafted

By: Rick Blangiardi

Now the Manti Te'o story has a happy ending.

We have followed this young man's story for a long time. He was born in Laie, played superbly for Punahou, had a stellar career at Notre Dame and played in three bowl games, including the national championship game this year.

He won eight national collegiate awards, making him one of the most honored collegiate football players of all time. He was the runner-up to winning the prestigious Heisman trophy.

Even when victimized by a friend as part of an elaborate hoax that caused him national embarrassment, he held his head high and turned that burden into a test of his strong character, making him an even better person.

Being selected in the NFL draft last week caps the completion of a dream for Manti and everyone who supported him. Ever humble, he watched the draft from a park in Hau'ula with his family and friends.

There are more chapters to be written in the Manti Te'o story, hopefully that will include a long and successful pro career. However, whatever happens from here on. Manti Te'o has made Hawaii proud.

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