WHAT: No. 17 senior safety
WHERE: Vero Beach, High School, Vero Beach, Fla.
2012 STATS: Played in all 12 games (starting every one) and registered a career-best 61 tackles, including two for a loss. He also had a pair of pass deflections and recovered a fumble.
THE SKINNY: Epitomizes what a college player should do throughout his career, play every single day (he's played in all 50 games in his career) and get better every single day. When the 2012 season started, Motta wasn't regarded as a strong NFL prospect and the Irish secondary wasn't thought highly of either. By Thanksgiving, both evaluations had changed dramatically.
NOTRE DAME LINEBACKER MANTI TE'O SAYS: You're talking about a guy who does not quit, a guy whose work ethic you cannot measure, because that guy will outwork anybody, every day, every single rep. (Zeke Motta) and Prince Shembo are the two guys who really inspire me. Coach (Diaco) talked about how I practiced the hardest I've practiced all year. One, that's because I realized that my time here is running out; and two, because I have guys around me that are that example for me, even for myself, that I can always give more, and Zeke Motta is someone who always gives me, not only for himself but because that's how much he cares about this team, and that's how important this game is to him.