Manti Te'o meets Marcus Mariota in person for the first time
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Both were stars in Hawaii at perennial football powers. Manti Te'o starred at Punahou, Marcus Mariota at ILH rival St. Louis. Both were the BMOC (Big Man On Campus) when they attended their respective universities. Both have also -- at some point -- been considered a front runner for the Heisman in the last two seasons.
But Wednesday, was the first time that Te'o and Mariota met face to face.
Ever since a chance meeting when he was a sophomore at St. Louis, Mariota looked up to Te'o for helping land Hawaii on the map of national recruiters. Coming out of Punahou in 2008, Te'o was ranked as high as 2nd in the national prep rankings.
"To watch him go through the process and bring all the mainland schools to Hawaii," said Mariota. "Now i'm sitting next to him and it's truly an honor."
When Mariota opened eyes as a redshirt-freshman at Oregon, Manti reached out to his fellow Hawaii native and offered support.
Although Te'o served as an inspiration to Mariota, it was the former Notre Dame All-American who became a fan of the Ducks QB.
"Ever since Marcus got into college and started doing his thing, I became a big Marcus Mariota fan," said Te'o. "Back when I had twitter, I was always tweeting, Marcus for Heisman."
There isn't quite a passing of the torch as much as there is a mutual respect between the two Oahu boys. Evidenced by the exchange of admiration between the two.
"For me to be here and for me to meet the man behind the helmet that holds Hawaii on his shoulders when it comes to the collegiate level It's always a blessing," says Te'o.
To which Mariota replied, "Three years ago, if you would've told me I'd be sitting here I would have just laughed. It's all surreal."