Notre Dame LB Te'o to bypass 2012 NFL Draft

Fighting Irish star to return for his senior season. Dave Miller

Print This December 12, 2011, 12:00 AM EST

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Brian Kelly's third season as head coach of Notre Dame just became much brighter, and his second year in South Bend hasn't even concluded.

Manti Te'o, the team's junior linebacker and a possible first-round pick in April's NFL Draft, will return for his senior season, his father, Brian, confirmed to the Chicago Tribune via text message on Sunday night.

The Laie, Hawaii, native came to the decision Sunday after meeting with his family in California on Saturday.

Notre Dame's defense has seen dramatic improvement since the arrival of Kelly and coordinator Bob Diaco, and Te'o has been central to the revival. He led the team in tackles, tackles-for-loss and sacks this fall as the Irish often leaned on their defense while the offense battled inconsistency.

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