Manti Te’o is a pretty good football player and the linebacker at Notre Dame has been the focus of a lot of attention this season, gaining a strong foothold in the Heisman Trophy race after recording 11 tackles, one sack and one interception last week in a solid road victory at No. 8 Oklahoma.
He is having a tremendous season, has a great back story.
But he isn’t necessarily the most productive defensive player in the bowl subdivision – or even at his position. Te’o has been in on 80 tackles, tied for 19th in the nation. But there are a few players out there with pretty good numbers including, Fresno State points out, Bulldogs’ safety Phillip Thomas, who on Monday was selected as one of 15 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award.
How do Te’o and Thomas compare at this point in the season?
Tackles – Te’o 80, Thomas 55
Tackles for loss – Thomas 7.0 for minus-30 yards, Te’o 4.5 for minus-14
Sacks – Thomas 3.0 for minus-19 yards, Teo 1.0 for minus-9
QB hurries – Te’o 4, Thomas 1
Interceptions – Thomas 7, Te’o 5
Touchdowns – Thomas 3, Te’o 0
Pass Breakups – Thomas 4, Te’o 3
Fumble recoveries – Te’o 2, Thomas 1
Forced fumbles – Thomas 3, Te’o 0
Georgia has a pretty good linebacker in Jarvis Jones, too, and is well ahead of Te’o in several important statistical categories.
Jones already has 14 tackles for loss for a minus-84 yards, 8.5 sacks for a minus-69 yards, 15 quarterback hurries and five forced fumbles.