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Reports: Linebacker Manti Te’o Visits With Giants Ahead Of NFL Draft

Manti Te'o (credit: J. Meric/Getty Images)

Manti Te’o (credit: J. Meric/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o visited with the Giants on Thursday night and Friday morning, according to multiple reports.

Te’o, of course, was the victim of a “catfishing” hoax that took the sports world by storm in January. The Heisman Trophy runner-up had a brilliant senior campaign for Notre Dame en route to leading the Irish to the BCS National Championship game.

Reports also said that the 6-foot-1, 241-pounder met with the Dolphins, the Lions, the Bears, the Vikings and the Bengals.

Giants general manager Jerry Reese addressed the Te’o situation at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

“We’ll bring him in, and we’ll let him explain that situation for us,” Reese said at the time. “But again, I think there’s people with a lot more issues than this issue.”

The 22-year-old’s draft stock has reportedly been up and down over the past few months. Originally projected to be a surefire first-round pick in the upcoming draft, the  “catfishing” hoax led pundits to predict that the Hawaiian would fall all the way to the second round.

The 2012 Maxwell Award winner’s 40-yard dash time in late February didn’t help, as he was clocked at 4.82 seconds.

Wide receiver Victor Cruz — who may or may not be with the Giants next season – told WFAN hosts Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts that he’d “definitely” ask Te’o about the hoax saga if he joined Big Blue.

“I just got to feel him out first,” Cruz told Joe & Evan in January. “I got to kind of see, you know, get his personality a little bit. I want to get to know him on a more personal level. And then once I get comfortable with him, I’m definitely going to bring it up and ask him, ‘Hey man, what exactly went down?’ I want to know the whole story of how it unfolded.”

The Giants could use some help at the linebacker position after cutting Michael Boley and losing Chase Blackburn to free agency.

The G-Men have the 19th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, which will kick off on April 25.

Should the Giants draft Te’o with the 19th pick if he’s still on the board? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…