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January 17, 2013
As news develops about Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te'o and the hoax surrounding his dead girlfriend, the initial report by Deadspin.com alleges a former high school quarterback from the Antelope Valley might be involved in the scheme.
Friends and relatives of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, 22, told Deadspin he is the person who created Lennay Kekua, a fictitious persona with whom Te'o was allegedly duped into having an online relationship. The hoax went so far as to reportedly having Te'o believe that Kekua -- supposedly a 22-year-old Stanford student -- had died of leukemia Sept. 12.
The story of Te'o's emotional journey while playing in Kekua's memory riveted the college football world, especially as Te'o's star rose. He was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy and the unbeaten Fighting Irish played for the BCS Championship before losing to Alabama, 42-14, on Jan. 7.
At the center of the controversy is Tuiasosopo, supposedly an acquaintance of Te'o. Tuiasosopo was the starting quarterback for Antelope Valley High School in Lancaster as a sophomore in 2005. After moving to Stockton for a year, Tuiasosopo returned for his senior season at Paraclete High in Lancaster.
Deadspin reported that Tuiasosopo, who has videos on YouTube in which he sings secular and religious music, leads the band at the Oasis Christian Church of the Antelope Valley, where his father Titus is the pastor.