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NFL Draft 2012: Manti Te'o Returns To Notre Dame, Removes Dynamic Playmaker From Mock Drafts

The upcoming 2012 NFL Draft has lost one of its best defensive possibilities with the announcement that Manti Te’o, the dynamic sideline-to-sideline linebacker for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, will return to school and forgo being a certain first-round choice for the chance to play out his senior season.

Dave Miller writes, "Manti Te’o, the team’s junior linebacker and a possible first-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, will return for his senior season, his father, Brian, confirmed to the Chicago Tribune via text message on Sunday night.

“The Laie, Hawaii, native came to the decision Sunday after meeting with his family in California on Saturday. Notre Dame’s defense has seen dramatic improvement since the arrival of Kelly and coordinator Bob Diaco, and Te’o has been central to the revival. He led the team in tackles, tackles-for-loss and sacks this fall as the Irish often leaned on their defense while the offense battled inconsistency.”

Thus far in 2011, Te’o has 111 tackles including 12 for a loss and 4.5 sacks.