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Manti Te’o and Todd Lyght on College Hall of Fame Ballot

Manti Te'o

On Tuesday, Notre Dame announced that two Irish greats have earned a spot on the National Football Foundation’s 2025 College Football Hall of Fame ballot. Linebacker Manti Te’o and cornerback Todd Lyght both appear on the ballot. To be eligible, a player must have been recognized as a First Team All-American, on one of five certified lists. They also must have completed his college football career at least 10 full seasons ago. Te’o and Lyght join a group of 77 players and nine coaches from the FBA, and 101 players and 34 coaches from the divisional ranks.

Currently, 49 former Irish athletes and six former Notre Dame coaches are in the College Football Hall of Fame. The most recent inductee is Michael Stonebreaker in 2023. Notre Dame’s 55 Hall of Fame members are the most of any institution in the country.

Manti Te’o A Notre Dame Great

A First Team All-American in 2012, Te’o was the first player in history to sweep the Maxwell, Walter Camp, Bednarik, Butkus, Lombardi, and Nagurski awards in the same season. The first exclusively defensive player to finish in the top two of the Heisman voting since 1980, Te’o led Notre Dame to a national championship appearance in his senior season. Te’o concluded his collegiate career with 437 tackles. He ranks third all-time in school history behind Bob Crable (521, 1978-81) and Bob Golic (479, 1975-78).

Te’o is one of 11 NFF National Scholar-Athletes on the 2025 ballot. He earned the honor in 2012. Selected by the San Diego Chargers as the 38th overall pick in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Te’o played in the NFL until 2021. He finished his career with the Chicago Bears. Te’o enjoyed his best season with the Chargers in 2015. He recorded 83 tackles that year, including 63 solo tackles. All told he had 307 tackles in his NFL career, 213 of them solo tackles. He recorded 1.5 sacks and had two interceptions.

A Shining Lyght

Lyght was a two-time First Team All-American with unanimous honors in 1989 and a consensus nod in 1990. His play helped lead Notre Dame to the 1988 National Championship and an appearance in the 1991 national championship. A finalist for the Thorpe Award in 1989, Lyght’s eight interceptions that season still rank tied for third in Irish records.

The fifth overall pick by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1991 NFL Draft, Lyght enjoyed a long professional career. He played for 12 seasons, from 1991 to 2002. He finished with 37 interceptions and four touchdowns. His best season as a pro came in the 1999 season with the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams. He picked off six passes that year for 112 yards and scored a touchdown. He was named to the 1999 All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams. All told in the NFL, Lyght recorded 615 solo tackles (718 total), 37 interceptions, and he scored four touchdowns. He played for the Rams and Detroit Lions.

The announcement of the 2025 Class will be made in early 2025.

Manti Te'o
Photo courtesy: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

 

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