If you haven’t seen it by now, you should really read Deadspin’s report regarding Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o.
Te’o drew national headlines for the story regarding his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, who reportedly passed away last September. According to the report, Kekua is actually an elaborate hoax put on by Te’o’s friend Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.
Notre Dame has released a statement in which they claim that Te’o was a victim in the situation.
Te’o has also released a statement of his own explaining the situation, via ESPN.
Tony Pauline of SI.com reports that he’s already spoken with multiple GM’s that have informed him that if this story is true, it could have a “major impact on his draft grade.”
Gil Brandt mentions that he’s “not sure what impact this will have on Manti’s draft status,” but adds that NFL teams will “need answers before drafting him.”
Te’o is coming off of a very poor performance in the national title game and his Heisman campaign may have already inflated his draft stock in the first place. Many still believe he’s a guaranteed first-round talent, but that could really change depending on how he handles the next few months and this situation in particular.
He declined an invitation to the Senior Bowl, which means that NFL teams will not be able to meet with him until the NFL Combine. You can bet there will be plenty of questions for him to anwer relating to this story.
We have Te’o going to the Pittsburgh Steelers in our recently updated 2013 NFL Mock Draft.