Dec 4, 2012, 5:00 PM EDT
With Notre Dame headed to the national championship in a little over a month, it should come as no surprise that several Fighting Irish players and coaches are up for major post-season awards. In fact, there have been so many, that it’s starting to get difficult to keep track of them all.
There will be many announced over the next few days, including at the team’s own awards show on Friday evening (watch it live on UND.com at 8 pm ET). For now, here’s a look at the awards so far.
Manti Te’o: Te’o is like a rock star on a national tour this week. He’s traveling all over the country as a finalist for multiple awards, including the Nagurski Trophy, the Lombardi Award and announced yesterday, the Heisman Trophy (among others).
On Monday morning, he became the first Notre Dame player to win the Butkus Award since its inception in 1985. Later that day, Te’o was named the Nagurski Award winner, also the first time a Fighting Irish player has ever received the honor.
Last week, the Laie, Hawaii native was announced as the recipient of the 2012 Awards and Recognition Association Sportsmanship Award. Te’o has been named to the 2012 All-American first team by the American Football Coaches Association, and was a first team selection on CBSSports.com’s All-America list.
Stephon Tuitt: The sophomore defensive end finished the regular season with 42 tackles, including 12.0 sacks for 89 yards. In the first game of the season against Navy, Tuitt recovered a fumble and returned it 77 yards for a touchdown.
He joins Te’o on the first team All-America list selected by CBSSports.com. Along with South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney, Tuitt is one of two sophomore defensive players on the first team.
Tyler Eifert: Though he did not match the offensive production that he achieved last year, you can’t say enough about the impact that the senior tight end had on Notre Dame’s perfect regular season. In 12 games, Eifert hauled in 44 catches for 624 yards and four touchdowns. Of those 44 catches, 33 have resulted in a touchdown or first down.
Eifert ranks first in school history for career receptions (134) and career receiving yards (1,779) by a tight end. He was a CBSSports.com second team All-America selection, and is a finalist for the Mackey Award, which will be presented at The Home Depot College Football Awards Red Carpet Show on Thursday (6:30 pm ET on ESPNU).
Braxston Cave: The stalwart center on the Irish offensive line, Cave was also a second team All-American, as selected by CBSSports.com. The Granger, Ind. native has been a big part of helping Notre Dame average 202.5 rushing yards per game, and the Irish have allowed just 16 sacks this season.
Louis Nix: Junior nose guard Louis Nix tallied 45 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and two sacks on Notre Dame’s dominant defensive line. The Fighting Irish have allowed just 10.3 points per game, and rank first in the nation in scoring defense.
Nix has been named to the CBSSports.com third team All-America list.
Bob Diaco: Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Bob Diaco picked up a pair of honors Tuesday. First, he was chosen as the FootballScoop Defensive Coordinator of the Year, before being named the 2012 Broyles Award recipient, as college football’s most outstanding assistant coach.
— Broyles Award (@BroylesAward) December 4, 2012
Under Diaco’s leadership, the Fighting Irish are ranked fourth in rushing defense (92.4 yards per game), sixth in total defense (286.8 yards per game), and as stated previously, first in scoring defense at 10.3 points per game.
Brian Kelly: Last but not least, head coach Brian Kelly is one of nine finalists for the 2012 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award.
Kelly became the second coach in Notre Dame history to lead the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 regular season and has the Irish preparing to play for their first national championship since 1988. He was also a finalist for the award in 2009 at Cincinnati.
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