Acho named Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year
June 14, 2011
Former Texas DE Sam Acho has been named a 2010-11 Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year, along with Baylor women's basketball guard Melissa Jones, the conference office announced Tuesday.
The Big 12 annually recognizes its top male and female sportsperson. The Sportspersons of the Year Award was started prior to the 2000-01 academic year to recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service from within the conference.
Acho becomes the second Longhorns football player to earn the award following current Tennessee Titans fullback Ahmard Hall in 2004-05. As a winner, Acho now qualifies to be nominated for the NCAA Sportsmanship Award.
In 2010-11, Acho has been named the winner of the Campbell Trophy as college football's top student-athlete, the Wuerffel Award winner as an all-around student-athlete, the ARA Sportsmanship Award recipient, winner of the College Football Performance Awards Defensive Lineman Trophy, an Allstate AFCA Good Works Team member, an ESPN Academic All-America First Team member, and a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. An All-Big 12 First-Team selection, he was also a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and Lombardi Award.
His significant humanitarian and community contributions have included several medical mission trips to his parents' native country of Nigeria. He also helped organize fundraisers in Dallas prior to the 2009 and 2010 trips. Then he, his brother Emmanuel and several teammates traveled to assist his father and approximately 40 doctors by providing medical treatment to Nigerians who may only have access to a doctor once a year. The family hopes to build a permanent clinic in the area soon.
Locally, he has mentored 3rd and 4th graders at O'Henry Middle School, spoken at Austin area high schools, taken the lead in organizing team donations to UT's Orange Santa program which provides Christmas gifts for the needy, participated in the Texas Round-Up teaching children the benefits of physical activity and health, volunteered at The Children's Courtyard where he interacted with children and encouraged them to stay in school, and he spent time at the Jubilee Community Center helping teach adults English as a second language. Last July, he helped build a home in Dallas through Habitat for Humanity and the Big 12 Conference.
He was also highly involved in the team's community service program and is a regular visitor to the Dell Children's Medical Center, and has participated in visits by Wonders and Worries (children with life-threatening illnesses), the Rise School and the Arc of the Capital Area (children in early education with disabilities).
A graduate of the honors business program in the prestigious McCombs School of Business, Acho is UT's seventh two-time academic all-American and maintained a 3.55 GPA. He was a two-year member of UT's Student-Athlete Advisory Council and was the choice as UT's representative at the 2009 NCAA Leadership Conference in which one student-athlete from each NCAA school attends. He has been the student-athlete representative of the Big 12 on the NCAA Football Issues Committee, and has been one of UT's representatives at the Big 12's Conference on Black Student Government. In addition, he has attended the Minority Mentorship Symposium in Austin, which features high-profile leaders, executives and stars from the business, entertainment and music industries speaking on topics that focus on success.
Named one of The Sporting News' "20 Smartest Athletes," Acho earned CoSIDA Academic All-District 6 honors in each of the last three years and was a four-time first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection and seven-time UT Athletics Director's Honor Roll member. The past three years, he has been honored with the Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholarship Award, which is a national award that recognizes minority student-athletes who are committed to both education and athletics. He also completed an internship at Target where he had a marketing idea advance to the level of the CEO.
In April 2010, Acho was inducted into UT's Friar Society, which is the oldest and most prestigious honor society at The University of Texas and recognizes students who have made significant contributions to The University.
On the field Acho saw action in 50 career games (26 starts) and tallied 148 tackles, 23.5 sacks (No. 10 on UT's career list), 37 TFL, 44 pressures, eight PBD, eight forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries (t-No. 2 on UT's career list). He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.
In 2010, he recorded 59 tackles, 17 TFL, nine sacks, 18 pressures, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. His five fumble recoveries led the nation and tied the UT single-season record, while his five forced fumbles tied for second nationally and seventh on the UT single-season list.
A 2009 semifinalist for the Lott Trophy, Acho notched 63 tackles, 10 sacks, 14 TFL, 15 pressures, three PBD, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries that season. The four fumble recoveries were tied for the most nationally and tied for third on UT's single-season list.