The Notre Dame Stadium crowd, soaking from the raindrops and exuberance, met the Notre Dame freshman linebacker in the Saturday twilight with shrieks of adoration as he approached the stadium tunnel.
As Te'o got closer, he breathed in the thickest football atmosphere he had ever experienced, tore off his football gloves and threw them into the admiring crowd.
And then the story of the storied recruit takes a bit of a left turn.
In the aftermath of Notre Dame's 37-30 overtime extinguishing of Washington, Te'o was not thinking about how his young career had just turned its first corner, was not fast-forwarding to the Oct. 17 matchup with USC, was not preoccupied about how much his body ached and his mind felt lighter
“For me it was just a big relief to get out of the cold,” said the 6-foot-2, 244-pound linebacker from Laie, Hawaii. “That's the main thing. That's all that was on my mind.”