The other side of Manti Teo - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

The other side of Manti Teo

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Ottilia Teo Ottilia Teo
Manti Teo Manti Teo
Brian Teo Brian Teo

By Jason Tang - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - At 6'2", 230 pounds, Manti Teo is a force to reckon with on the football field. Yet, in his home, he's just a brother and a son.

"It's hard for me to believe that he was once our little boy and now he's this 6'2" football player who is going to be leaving home soon, I just hope that the things that we taught him at home he'll take with him and just try to be a good young man," said his mother Ottilia Teo.

Manti is arguably the most highly touted football recruit ever to come out of the Islands. With offers from more than 20 programs, Teo's whittled his choice down to five.

BYU, USC, UCLA, Stanford and Notre Dame.

"I think with these five schools that I have, they all have great programs, great academics, and great facilities, and of course they all allow me if i wish to go on my mission," said Teo.

Serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a two year commitment, and the Teo family believes taking that time out from the game is anything but a sacrifice.

"I think it could be detrimental to his career if he doesn't go. We strongly believe that the gifts are from the man upstairs, and the least he could do is to dedicated that time to his Heavenly Father," said Manti's father Brian Teo.

"Some people say you can serve a mission through football, and whether it be through football or on the field, I'm serving a mission all the time," said Manti Teo.

He's only 17, yet it doesn't take long to see, Manti has a level head on his broad shoulders. Yet he admits, it's not always easy staying humble with the hype that surrounds him.

"My family has definitely kept me grounded, at times I do get caught up in the moment. You know coming home to Laie is a special thing to me, and seeing my friends here and it's always a reminder of who I am. It's one of those things that help me to stay grounded, is to remember who I am, where I've come from and who I represent," said Teo.

Later this year Manti will leave his family and home, as he prepares to begin a new chapter in his life.

And he hopes he'll be remembered for all the right reasons.

"I don't really want to be remembered by the hype, I don't really want to be remembered by the awards I won, if anything, I want people to remember me for how hard I worked for the state of Hawaii, and that's my big thing, and that's what I hope I'm remembered for," said Teo.