Texas star earns Academic All-District honors
AUSTIN, Texas -- University of Texas sophomore defensive end Kalen Thornton (Dallas, Texas) earned a spot on the Verizon Academic All-District VI first-team, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) announced Thursday. District VI includes colleges in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Thornton's Academic All-District honor earns him a spot on the national Academic All-America ballot, which will be voted on by members of CoSIDA in the next few weeks.
A second-year starter for the 9-1 (6-1, Big 12) and fifth-ranked Longhorns, Thornton was a first-team Freshman All-American as a true freshman last season. He maintains a 3.2 grade point average (out of 4.0) in business and has twice earned a spot on UT's Athletics Director's Honor Roll and the Big 12 Commissioner's list.
Thornton leads the Longhorns in QB pressures (18), ranks second in tackles for loss (nine) and is fifth in sacks (three) this season. He also has 38 tackles (24 solo), two passes batted down, one fumble caused and has blocked a field goal for a Texas defense that leads the Big 12 and ranks second nationally in total defense (233.5 ypg). UT also leads the conference and ranks sixth nationally in rushing defense (80.3 ypg) and stands fourth nationally in scoring defense (11.8 ppg). The Horns are one of only two NCAA schools that rank among the nation's top 10 in all five major defensive statistical categories.
"We place a great deal of emphasis on working hard in the classroom as well as on the playing field and our academic staff does a terrific job assisting our student-athletes," UT head coach Mack Brown said. "We are very proud of the effort Kalen has put into his studies and as a key contributor on a defense that is one of the best in the country. He is a bright, young player who certainly is deserving of earning Academic All-District honors."
"We're really excited about Kalen being recognized for this award," Texas Assistant AD for Academic Services Brian Davis said. "He is a hard-working, diligent student, who has extremely high academic goals. In my opinion, he blends that and his equally lofty athletic goals together well. He is very deserving of this honor."
In 20 career games (17 starts), Thornton has posted 70 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 17 TFLs, 38 QB pressures, four passes batted down and three caused fumbles.