Notre Dame linebacker Te’von Coney has been nominated for Lott IMPACT Player of the Week five times this season. After a 10-tackle day that included two TFLs for sacks plus a pass break up, the honor was finally his in Week 10.
With 80 tackles this season, Coney has played a key role in protecting the Fighting Irish’s undefeated record, most recently extended to 9-0 by a 31-21 win over Northwestern.
He’s also become the latest player to carry on a legacy at the linebacker position at Notre Dame. First there was 2012 Lott IMPACT Award Winner Manti Te’o. Then there was Jaylon Smith, a Butkus Award winner who affectionately congratulated his ‘Lil Bro’ on Twitter when the Player of the Week announcement was made.
Lil bro cold ❄️ 1st team all American on me https://t.co/B2NCmeUpDJ— Jaylon Smith (@thejaylonsmith) November 7, 2018
Ever since Smith entered the NFL in 2016, it’s been Coney’s time. His 116 tackles as a junior were the most by a Notre Dame player since Te’o’s 128 in 2011. That season, Coney led the team in total, solo and assisted tackles and tackles for loss.
In a phone call that has become a weekly tradition between Ronnie Lott and the Player of the Week winners, Coney explained that he models his game after Smith, recognizing his ability to play the run, play every down, and rush the passer. He also named former LSU and current Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones as an example of the kind of player he aspires to be.
The heart in Coney’s game comes from his relentless pursuit of excellence. He told Lott of his rejection of complacency and his commitment to strive for greatness.
While there’s no shortage of motivation for the Fighting Irish after climbing to No. 3 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings with a very winnable three games ahead of them, Coney emphasized the need to find motivation from within. He also echoed his recent postgame remarks, harping on the importance of continuing to find ways to improve his game.
The Palm Beach Gardens, FL native will face off against familiar faces on Senior Day as Florida State travels north to South Bend for their Week 11 match up.