Acho garners national awards distinctions
Oct. 20, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas senior DE Sam Acho has been named a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, as well as a quarterfinalist for the annual Lott IMPACT Trophy.
Acho was one of 10 football student-athletes chosen by a media committee as a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in the Football Bowl Subdivision. He joins Colt McCoy (2009) as Longhorns finalists for the award in its three-year history.
A Lott Trophy semifinalist in 2009, Acho has been selected as a quarterfinalist this season, the Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation announced. He will look to become the first Longhorn to win the award in its seven-year history. Former DE Brian Orakpo was Texas' most recent finalist in 2008, while former LB Derrick Johnson was a finalist in the award's first year in 2004.
Acho has consistently been involved with the Longhorn community since his arrival in Austin and was recently named to the 2010 AllState AFCA Good Works Team, composed of 11 FBS student-athletes.
Acho and his family have made several medical mission trips to his parents' native country of Nigeria, including this past summer. He helped organize a fundraiser 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.
Among his individual community efforts, 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 spent time at the Jubilee Community Center helping teach adults English as a second language. In July, he helped build a home in Dallas through Habitat for Humanity.
He is 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 2009 ESPN The Magazine First-Team Academic All-American, Acho is a two-year member of UT's Student-Athlete Advisory Council. He was the choice as UT's representative at the 2009 NCAA Leadership Conference in May in which one student-athlete from each NCAA school attends. He is the student-athlete representative of the Big 12 on the NCAA Football Issues Committee, and is 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.
Acho earned CoSIDA Academic All-District 6 and first-team Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2008 and 2009, and is a six-time UT Athletics Director's Honor Roll member. The past two 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. An honors business major in the prestigious McCombs School of Business, Acho maintains a 3.55 GPA and last year 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.
Acho has played in 44 career games, including 20 starts. He has posted 115 tackles (74 solo), 18.5 sacks, 28 TFL, 32 pressures, eight PBD, five fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles.
After six games this season, Acho has recorded 26 tackles (15 solo), four sacks, eight TFL, six pressures, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one PBU. He ranks 55th in the nation in TFL while helping the Texas defense rank third in passing defense (138.0 ypg), fourth in total defense (245.5 ypg) and 20th in rushing defense (107.5 ypg). He was selected to the Playboy Preseason All-America team prior to this season, and is a member of the Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy, Outland Trophy and Hendricks Award watch lists.
Last season, Acho started all 14 games en route to a 2009 Big 12 Championship and an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. He tallied 63 tackles (44 solo), 10 sacks 14 TFL,15 pressures, three PBD, four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles, leading the team in sacks and fumble recoveries. His 10 sacks were tied for 20th in the NCAA, and the four fumble recoveries tied for the most nationally (t-No. 3 UT single-season).
In order to meet the criteria set forth by Lowe's, each player must be classified as a NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website through December 6. Fan votes will be combined with media and coaches votes to determine the winner. Lowe's will announce the winner January 10, 2011, on ESPN prior to the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game.
Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. The award is given to the player who exhibits the same characteristics Lott embodied during his distinguished career: Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity. It is the first and only college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.
Voters for the award include selected members of the national media, previous finalists, the Board of Directors of the IMPACT Foundation, the IMPACT Foundation Board of Advisors, retired NFL players and the Legends Coaches, a distinguished group of former college head coaches. The semifinalists will be announced November 3 and the four finalists November 24. Those four finalists will be flown to Newport Beach, Calif., for the annual black-tie banquet that will be televised by FOX.