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Manti Te’o is a household name in Hawaii and he certainly made headlines across the country this season both on and off the football field for Notre Dame.
On Thursday, eyes will be drawn to him again as he awaits the NFL draft.
“We have high hopes for him and support him 100 percent. It will be nerve racking, because we are nervous and so we can only imagine how nervous he must be,” says Manti Te’o fan Tamara Suamataia.
The Laie native has had quite the ride. Te’o is one of the most decorated high school athletes in state history.
“A lot of kids that is younger than him that go to Kahuku High School, they all look up to him, he’s a good kid,” says Kahuku resident Kahea Freitas.
At Notre Dame he won eight post-season awards, making him one of the most decorated collegiate football players of all time. Then, came the highly-publicized girlfriend hoax. But, all that is in the past and the focus now is on what lies ahead for his future.
“It‘s a dream of a lifetime, after all these years playing Pop Warner, high school, college and you finally get a chance to get drafted and one of the most talked about athlete in the nation,” says Junior Ah You, Hawaii Sports Hall of Famer.
“Any team will be good, just to get into NFL is a privilege,” says Kahuku resident Alapati Manutai.
KHON2 Sports Director Rob Demello will be with Te’o in Laie as he awaits that call from the team that picks him.
But the excitement won’t end there.
Junior Ah You’s Tita’s Grill is preparing to cook up literally tons of food for a grand celebration and feast to honor Te’o and his Notre Dame teammate Robby Toma this weekend.
“Its gonna be crazy, people will go wild it’s a very unique town, people are all family oriented, it will be lots of fun, lots of excitement there will be lots of spirit here,” says Ah You.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced a parade to honor these two hometown heroes on Saturday. Beginning at 4 p.m. beside Hauula Beach Park, and ending at 5:00pm at Laie Park, where a community celebration will be held.
Parade Route: The parade will begin on Kamehameha Highway, across from Hauula Beach Park, and proceed as follows: turn left on Hauula Homestead Road and loop through Hauula to Kamehameha Highway; turn left on Kamehameha Highway and proceed to Laie; turn left on Naniloa Street and loop back to Kamehameha Highway, then continue to Kahuku; turn left on Pualalea Street, right on Kekauoha Street, left on Huehu Street, left on Leleuli Street, left on Pualalea Street, right on Kamehameha Highway and back to Laie; then right on Naniloa Loop to Poohaili Street, and to Laie Park.