Honolulu Punahou linebacker Manti Te'o, the most prized recruit of the 2009 class, signed his letter of intent with Notre Dame on Wednesday, choosing the Fighting Irish over offers from USC and UCLA.

He's a great kid from a great family, Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis said. We spent a lot of energy getting over to Hawaii to get this kid and are absolutely delighted he joined us.

The 6-foot-2, 225 pounds won the Butkus Award as the nation's top prep linebacker last season and is considered to be Notre Dame's highest-rated defensive prospect since the 1980s.

Coach Charlie Weis is a great man, Te'o told ESPNU. “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.