Manti mania spreads during NFL draft

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You don’t have to be a football fan to get caught up in today’s NFL draft.

Island residents were hopeful that this would be the day to find out where Manti Te’o will play in the NFL.

With the draft just about to start, there was plenty of speculation and hope that Te’o would have his name called in the first round.

“It’s exciting you don’t get a lot of first rounders from Hawaii. It’s exciting but we’ll see what happens. He should be alright,” Kakaako resident Michael Cox said.

“There’s a lot of teams that could use a middle linebacker like right now the Chicago Bears haven’t signed Brian Urlacher, so he can fit in there. Ravens just lost Ray Lewis so he could fit in there,” Ala Moana resident Kevin Kim said.

Along with speculation and excitement, add a touch of island pride. Folks here say Teo’s next step as a player in the NFL is reason to celebrate for anyone from Hawaii.

“For any time that we get a kid that gets that opportunity it’s a great thing, ” Ewa Beach resident Ski Loeschke said.

“Anybody that’s here and does anything big like the NFL anybody would be proud of that, so I think that Hawaii is very supportive probably overall just cause he’s from here,” Waipio resident Dana Tortuga said.

And it’s pride not just in Te’o as a football player but also as a person. Scrutinized by the media after finding out his girlfriend was a fake and that he was a victim of a hoax, Te’o handled the pressure.

“When it happened I saw a young person, but in that interview when he went to the combine I saw a young man. That was young man giving that interview and it was really heartwarming for me,” Loeschke said.

The NFL draft is Te’os chance to move on from all of that and Hawaii residents have high expectations.

“It all depends on where he lands and he’s gonna be a good player regardless,” Kim said.

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