Name: Sam Onyedikachi Acho
Position: Outside Linebacker
Sam Acho was born in Dallas, Texas to Nigerian parents on the 6th of September 1988 and spent his childhood in the same city. He attended High School at St Marks a prepatory academy in, where he excelled both in the classroom and in his sporting endeavours. Acho was a three sport letterman at St Marks, he excelled on the Gridiron, but he was also a member of the schools Track and Field team, captaining them for two years and was a three year letter winner on the Basketball team. He averaged 12 PPG and 15 RPG on the court as a senior and is the school record holder in both discus and the shot put.
Acho was a three-star recruit coming out of high school, but he had plenty of suitors including USC and Oklahoma, but it was clear Acho was only ever going to commit to the Longhorns; he never even took a visit to any other campuses. Acho played mainly on special teams his first two seasons at Texas, with the odd rotational spot on the DL as he backed up Brian Orakpo, Henry Melton and Lamarr Houston, three players now in the NFL. He started 26 games at defensive end over the course of his Junior and Senior seasons at Texas. Over the course of his final two seasons Acho managed to rack up 19 sacks, 33 QB Pressures and 31 tackles for a loss on a Texas team that went to the national championship game in 2009 in which Acho recorded a sack.
Acho was celebrated throughout his collegiate career not only for his on-field abilities, but his off field achievements and works in the classroom. He was a two time academic All-American, while making the All-American 2nd or 3rd team according to different publications. Acho was a finalist for the IMPACT trophy which rewards quality on field performance combined with quality off field performance. He swept the major awards at the Texas Football prizegiving, winning nine of the 14 available awards including the George ‘Hook' McCullough MVP as chosen by his fellow teammates, the Lan Hewlett Academic Award, the Coca-Cola Community Service Award and the Strength and Conditioning award. Acho capped it all off by claiming the William V. Campbell award presented to college football's best Student Athlete.
The Arizona Cardinals added Sam Acho to their team in the 4th round of the 2011 draft, he will be making the transition from a collegiate defensive end into an outside linebacker in the Cardinals 3-4 scheme. The transition is traditionally a tough one to make for even the best players, and it is a process that is going to take time regardless of a player's intelligence and on field ability. The 2011 season is going to one big learning experience for the man from Texas, learning the technique of dropping into coverage both in man and zone coverage situations, learning the defensive calls and committing them to memory. It is more than likely that Acho will spend most if not all of his rookie season as a backup OLB who contributes in a rotational defensive role and on special teams, however there is room for him to impress and take a leap into the starting lineup given the fluidity of the OLB position in Arizona in 2011.
Expect Acho to start as a backup on the depth chart, but he will play snaps, expect a sack or three, but nothing off the charts, he will play, but he is a rookie, a fourth-round rookie at that. In the long-term, Acho could be a starting OLB for Arizona, but right now, the kid is still a rookie.
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