Manti Te'o, Notre Dame linebacker, photo courtesy US Presswire
STOCKTON, CA - The college football star who thought he had a girlfriend but really didn't has become the big story of the week.
It has been reported the young man who fabricated the non-existent girlfriend attended Stockton's Franklin high school in 2006.
It was Wednesday when Deadspin.com reported Manti Te'o of Notre Dame had been duped into believing he was in love with a young woman named Lennay Kekua. The story gained national attention during the football season when Te'o talked about his girlfriend dying at roughly the same time he lost his grandmother as well.
The story also contained information that a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo created the online girlfriend, using a picture he'd taken from a former classmate. Tuiasosopo played football at and attended Franklin High School in Stockton for one year.
"Oh my gosh, that's not him. Is it?" said Franklin employee Linda Reed when seeing Tuiasosopo pictures online at the school Thursday.
Reed and Principal Reyes Gauna both said the young man they knew was nice, polite and religious. They said he left the Stockton school after just one year when he became homesick. In Stockton, he lived with his uncles, but his parents lived in Southern California, they said.
Te'o has said in written statements he's embarrassed and humiliated by the discovery the woman he thought he knew, didn't actually exist.
He and Notre Dame were told a week before the national championship game the hoax had taken place, but the school and Te'o decided not to disclose what they'd learned before that game that Notre Dame lost to Alabama.