Acho named Bednarik Award semifinalist, Wuerffel Trophy finalist
Nov. 8, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas senior DE Sam Acho has been named a semifinalist for the 2010 Chuck Bednarik Award, honoring the nation's top defensive player, as well as a finalist for the 2010 Wuerffel Trophy, honoring community, athletic and academic achievement.
The Maxwell Football Club Advisory Committee selected Acho as a semifinalist for the 16th Bednarik Award. He will be looking to become UT's second finalist in the last six years, following LB Derrick Johnson in 2004, and its first winner.
In addition, the All Sports Association, Inc., announced Acho as a finalist for the 2010 Wuerffel Trophy, presented to the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement. He would be UT's first winner of that award in its six-year history.
Already a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy and Lombardi Award this season, Acho has also been named a member of the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, a National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete and Campbell Trophy finalist, and a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and ARA Sportsmanship Award, along with being on the watch lists for the Nagurski Trophy, Outland Trophy and Hendricks Award. He was selected to the Playboy Preseason All-America team prior to this season, and was a 2009 Lott Trophy semifinalist.
Acho has played in 47 career games, including 23 starts, and has posted 137 tackles (90 solo), 20.5 sacks, 32 TFL, 34 pressures, eight PBD, seven forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries (t-8th on the UT career list). After nine games this season, he has recorded 48 tackles (31 solo), six sacks, 12 TFL, eight pressures, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one PBU. He leads the team in TFL, sacks and forced fumbles.
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).
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 has earned CoSIDA Academic All-District 6 honors in each of the last three years and is a two-time first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection and 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.
The winner of the 16th Chuck Bednarik Award will be announced on December 9, 2010, as part of the ESPN Home Depot College Football Awards show. The three finalists for the award will be announced on November 22, 2010.
The winner of the Wuerffel Trophy will be announced on December 7, 2010, and will be selected by a committee that includes Wuerffel Trophy national directors, selection committee members and past winners. The 2010 Wuerffel Trophy will be presented to the winner at the All Sports Association's 42nd Annual Awards Banquet on February 18, 2011.