Manti Te'o was the victim of another hoax.
Well, he wasn't the only one. Anyone who bleeds blue and gold for Notre Dame, and the large contingent of the media, was fooled yet again by the hype of a player coming out of South Bend, Indiana. Frankly, anyone who has been enchanted by the notion that miracles bloom practically every season under the watch of Touchdown Jesus was also hoodwinked.
You know the Kool-Aid drinkers who were convinced that his Heisman case was swiped in some sort of highway robbery on the way to Manhattan? It wasn't.
Late Friday, the reality came into focus. Te'o was taken in the second round by the San Diego Chargers, the story of the year in college football didn't exist anymore, and his status as a big-time NFL player, well, that didn't exist, either.
Just like his numbers didn't match up in the Heisman quest, his credentials to be a top selection in the NFL Draft fell short. Is Manti Te'o a great player? No. Well, at least not yet. Is he a bad player? Absolutely not.
In the NFL, a first round pick can be more impacting then a presidential election. (Don't believe me? Ask the San Diego Chargers about Ryan Leaf.)
Just as an NFL-like Alabama team squashed the Fightin' Irish before it could wipe the National Champion stars out of their eyes, NFL scouts saw the prospect that Te'o really was: not quite someone who was "can't miss" or even someone worth the risk.
Scouting departments have more intelligence on players than the CIA. Nothing gets by them. Thanks to guys like Gil Brandt, the draft has become an (almost) exact science built on a matrix of what the prototype NFL guy looks like.
We all saw the great stops Te'o made against the Crimson Tide. Oh wait, no we didn't. And that's why his stock fell on Draft Day, not because Te'o fell for a fantasy.
It's really all about the idea that we all love the Disney-like storyline that Notre Dame often can produce. It's not the fault of Manti Te'o. It's just the system. Just like you have grown to think that the Dallas Cowboys are thugs (they're not, really).
The bottom line is this: Notre Dame has an uncanny ability of making good players great, well, until they are exposed in the NFL (Jimmy Clausen, Brady Quinn). Enjoy the Irish, enjoy the tradition. Just don't be so quick to believe the hype for a player when he comes out of college because he put up stellar numbers at Notre Dame, or was part of some heartwarming triumph. Haven't we, as writers and analysts, learned our lesson yet?
By: Dean Jackson