Two Longhorns to compete in all-star football challenge
Jan. 29, 2013
Texas Longhorns senior defensive end Alex Okafor and senior safety Kenny Vaccaro will be two of 12 college football standouts competing in the 15th annual All-Star Football Challenge on Tuesday, Jan. 29. The two-hour live skills challenge will air on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. CT on ESPN2 and will have encore airings on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. CT on Feb. 3 and 11 a.m. CT on Feb. 17. ESPN will also air an encore at 3 p.m. CT on April 14.
In 2012, Okafor led the team in sacks (12.5), QB pressures (18), forced fumbles (4) and tackles for loss (18). He tallied 68 total tackles (42 solo) and also registered one blocked kick. His sack total ranks No. 7 on the UT all-time single-season list and is most in one year since Kiki DeAyala's school-record 22.5 in 1982.
The Pflugerville, Texas, native is a fourth-year player who appeared in 52 games on the defensive line, including 33 starts (tops on the defense). He had a 32-start streak end due to injury in the 2012 Kansas State game.
He was voted 2012 Team Captain (along with Vaccaro) at the end of the regular season by his teammates. He earned the Roy Williams-Joe Jamail Leadership Award, shared the team's Clyde Littlefield Most Spirited Defensive Player Award with Desmond Jackson and Vaccaro and also shared the team's Joseph W. Moore Tenacity Award for Defense with Vaccaro.
Okafor is a two-time first team All-Big 12 choice (2011-12), the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by CBSSports.com and was tabbed the 2012 CFPA Elite Defensive Lineman of the Year. He was named to the 2012 Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award and Lombardi Award watch lists. He was tabbed 2012 preseason first-team All-America by Athlon, Blue Ribbon and Phil Steele magazines and was a 2011 AFCA FBS Coaches' All-American. Okafor was also a unanimous 2011 first team All-Big 12 selection (Coaches) and was named first team All-Big 12 (AP, Kansas City Star, Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and second team (San Antonio Express-News) that same year.
Okafor is a two-time academic all-district selection and a three-time member of UT's Athletics Director's Honor Roll.
Vaccaro finished with a career and team-high 107 tackles (60 solo) in 2012. He also tallied four tackles for loss, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, four quarterback hurries, five pass break ups and seven passes defensed. He was voted 2012 Team Captain (along with DE Alex Okafor) at the end of the season by his teammates.
The senior from Brownwood, Texas, was named first-team All-America by Pro Football Weekly, and also earned honorable mention All-America honors from Sports Illustrated.com.
Vaccaro was selected first-team 2012 All-Big 12 by the league’s coaches for the second season in a row and was named second-team AP All-Big 12 by a panel of sportswriters who cover the league. Vaccaro was selected first-team AP All-Big 12 in 2011.
Vaccaro appeared in 51 career games with 32 starts where he posted 264 tackles (162 solo), 2 sacks, 16 TFL, five interceptions, 21 pass breakups, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 11 quarterback pressures. He had six career double-digit tackle games and was named to the 2012 Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award and Thorpe Award watch lists. He was tabbed 2012 preseason first-team All-Big 12 by Athlon, Phil Steele and Lindy's magazines, was chosen to the All-Big 12 first team (coaches), second team (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and honorable mention (AP) in 2011 and was honorable mention for Defensive Player of the Year (coaches) that same season.
The Longhorns have had the top performer in the football challenge for two consecutive years. Former Texas linebacker Keenan Robinson was the top performer in the 2012 All-Star Football Challenge, and former Longhorn DE Sam Acho was the top performer in 2011. In 2010, former Longhorn WR Jordan Shipley won one of three receiver contests and former K Hunter Lawrence finished second among kickers.