ND For Te'o!

Te'o chose the Irish over USC.

At 5 a.m. on National Signing Day, Manti Te'o and his family finally came to a college decision.

A little over two hours later, Notre Dame found out they were the big winner!

"It's always been my plan to call the coaches who I know I haven't chosen, and it came so close I couldn't call one, and so I'd just like to thank my family and everything for all they've done," Te'o began on ESPNU at signing day event in Honolulu.

"But it's been a long process, and you know as far as 2009, I've thought hard about it and my family has, and we have all thought hard and long about it, and as far as 2009, I'll be joining coach Charlie Weis and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish."

The five-star Punahou School standout, and Scout.com's top-ranked strong-side linebacker, chose the Irish over USC and UCLA. Te'o took official visits to all three programs, as well as BYU and Stanford.

It was a tough and close decision that kept Te'o and his family up much of the night.

"I just felt it was the best fit for me," Te'o stated. He became the 17th player to sign with Weis and the Irish staff in the class-of-2009. "Coach Charlie Weis and his coaching staff are a good coaching staff. It came down to USC and Notre Dame, and I could see myself at both places. I felt Notre Dame was the place for me.

"I'm excited and happy."

Te'o will play one year of college football for Notre Dame, and then decide if he will take his Mormon mission.

"Coach Charlie Weis is a great man," Te'o said. "Very supportive of my faith. He made it clear that if I decide to serve a mission, it will be possible.

"He's supported everything that my family has ever wished."

And now Weis is going to get to lend his support as Te'o's coach.

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