Dec. 7, 2010
Senior DE Sam Acho has been named the winner of the 2010 Wuerffel Trophy, honoring the college football player who best combines exemplary community service with outstanding academic and athletic achievement, the All Sports Association has announced.
"I'm so honored to win an award that is named for someone who was such a great player and does so many unbelievable things off the field,” Acho said. "I had a chance to talk to Danny when they told me they had selected me, and we had a great conversation. He talked about what they look for in the Wuerffel Trophy recipient and how the fraternity of winners is like a family. I'm really looking forward to being a part of that."
This season, Acho has already been named the winner of the ARA Sportsmanship Award, an Allstate AFCA Good Works Team member, a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, an ESPN Academic All-America First Team member and a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, Campbell Trophy and Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. He was also a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and Lombardi Award. An All-Big 12 First-Team selection, Acho also earned a spot on the prestigious 2010 Preseason Playboy All-America team and was on the watch lists for the Nagurski Trophy, Hendricks Award and Outland Trophy.
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).
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).
In 2010, he recorded 59 tackles, 17 TFL, nine sacks, 18 pressures, five forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. His five fumble recoveries lead the nation this season and are tied the UT single-season record. His five forced fumbles are tied for second nationally and tied for 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.
An honors business major in the prestigious McCombs School of Business, Acho is UT’s seventh two-time academic all-American and maintains a 3.55 GPA. He 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 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 three-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. Last year, he 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 becomes the first Longhorn to win the award in its six-year history. It is named after former Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel, who led the Florida Gators to the 1996 national championship, played six years in the National Football League and has received national recognition for his humanitarian and community service efforts with Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans and around the country.
A committee that includes the Wuerffel Trophy national directors, selection committee members and past winners, chooses the winner of the trophy, which will be presented to Acho at the All Sports Association’s 42nd Annual Awards Banquet on Fri., February 18, 2011, in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.