Acho named 2010 NFF National Scholar-Athlete
Oct. 28, 2010
Austin -- Texas senior DE Sam Acho has been selected as a National Football Foundation 2010 National Scholar-Athlete, the foundation has announced.
As a National Scholar-Athlete, Acho will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and becomes a finalist for the 21st William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, which recognizes an individual as the absolute best scholar-athlete in the nation.
Acho is the 11th Longhorn overall and the third in the last four years to be selected as a National Scholar-Athlete, including QB Colt McCoy in 2009 and C Dallas Griffin in 2007. Griffin went on to become UT's first winner of the Campbell Trophy, which at that time was named the Draddy Trophy.
This season, Acho has already been named to the 2010 AllState AFCA Good Works Team and is a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award and ARA Sportsmanship Award. He has also been named a quarterfinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, honoring the nation's top defensive IMPACT player.
An honors business major in the prestigious McCombs School of Business, Acho maintains a 3.55 GPA and was a 2009 ESPN The Magazine First-Team Academic All-American. He was recently named one of Sporting News' 20 Smartest Athletes, one of only three collegiate athletes to earn the honor.
In April, 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 pace to graduate in December, 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. Last year, he completed an internship at Target where he had a marketing idea advance to the level of the CEO.
Acho is 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 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.
On the field, Acho has earned a spot on the prestigious 2010 Preseason Playboy All-America team, was tabbed preseason first-team All-Big 12 and is on the watch lists for the Lombardi Award, Nagurski Trophy, Outland Trophy and Hendricks Award.
A 2009 Lott Trophy semifinalist, Acho has played in 45 career games, including 21 starts. He has posted 123 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 29 TFL, 32 pressures, eight PBD, five fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles. After seven games this season, Acho has recorded 34 tackles (22 solo), five sacks, nine TFL, one PBU, six pressures and two forced fumbles.
Last season, Acho started all 14 games en route to a 2009 Big 12 Championship and appearance in the BCS National Championship Game. He tallied 63 tackles (44 solo), 14 TFL, 10 sacks, 15 pressures, three PBD, four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles, leading the team in sacks and fumble recoveries. The 10 sacks were tied for 20th on the NCAA list and the four fumble recoveries tied for the most nationally (t-No. 3 UT single-season).
Acho has also made a great impact in the community. He and his family have made several medical mission trips to his parents' native country of Nigeria. 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 in giving 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 other 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).
The 2010 National Scholar-Athlete Class will be honored at the 2010 NFF Annual Awards Dinner December 7 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The event will also include the induction of the 2010 College Football Hall of Fame Class and the presentation of several major awards, including the organization's highest honor, the Gold Medal, to American icon Bill Cosby and the Distinguished American Award to renowned journalist and author Tom Brokaw.
The Campbell Trophy, renamed last fall in honor of Bill Campbell, the chairman of Intuit, former player and head coach at Columbia University and the 2004 recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal, will also be presented and comes with a 25-pound bronze trophy and a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship. A total distribution of $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded that evening.
The NFF's National Scholar-Athlete program, launched in 1959, is the first initiative in history to award scholar-athletes postgraduate scholarships for their combined athletic, academic and leadership abilities.