Teo chooses Notre Dame over USC, UCLA - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Teo chooses Notre Dame over USC, UCLA

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Manti Teo Manti Teo
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By Jason Tang - bio | email

It's the hat that shocked the college football world. But Manti Teo's choice of Notre Dame over both UCLA and USC came down to one, very simple reason.

"For me I felt like I wanted to make a difference, similar to the difference I made at Punahou," said Teo after revealing Notre Dame as the next stop in his career.

Last season Notre Dame finished 7-6 and barely made it to the Hawaii Bowl. The Fighting Irish won that game 49-21 to save their season, but Manti wants to help build a dynasty instead of join one.

"My dream was to join a program that's building instead of joining one that's already built, and I knew if I could build a program into greatness that's when legends are created and that's when people are remembered forever and that's what I want to do," said Teo.

Perhaps what surprised most people is that Manti, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to go to a Catholic school, but he says there's more similarities than differences.

"Notre Dame is a Catholic school, a faith based school, but they have some LDS ties, and there's a chapel right in south bend and I met with the Bishop, and it was a lot more comfortable for me to know the church is strong," said Teo.

While some might criticize Manti for turning down the mighty Trojans or their cross town rivals UCLA, he says he's confident he's made the best decision for himself and his family.

"I've always been one to blaze my own trail, and if I need to do it by myself, I'll do it by myself, but I know i have my family behind me and that's all I need and if there behind me I can do anything," said Teo.