Jan. 10, 2013
Senior Texas Longhorns defensive end Alex Okafor has been selected as the College Football Performance Awards Division I FBS 2012 Elite Defensive Lineman Trophy winner, the CFPA has announced.
Okafor becomes the fourth Longhorn in four consecutive seasons to earn national CFPA honors as Foswhitt “Fozzy” Whittaker was named the 2011 CFPA Kickoff Returner Trophy winner, Sam Acho was selected as the 2010 CFPA Defensive Lineman Trophy winner and Earl Thomas was selected as the CFPA Defensive Back Trophy winner in 2009. Texas is the only program to have a player earn CFPA honors each year from 2009-2012.
Okafor registered a Valero Alamo Bowl record 4.5 sacks in the Longhorns 31-27 victory over the Oregon State Beavers on December 29 in San Antonio. In Texas’ dramatic come from behind win, Okafor tallied eight tackles (5 solo), 4.5 sacks, six tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Texas set a Valero Alamo Bowl record for sacks with ten against Oregon State, shattering the previous record of five, which is shared by four teams.
In 2012, Okafor led the team in sacks (12.5), QB pressures (18), forced fumbles (4) and tackles for loss (18). He tallied 68 total tackles (42 solo), and he also registered one blocked kick. His 12.5 sack total is the third best single-season mark in Texas history.
The Pflugerville, Texas, native is a fourth-year player who has appeared in 52 games on the defensive line, including 33 starts (tops on the defense). He had a 32-start streak end due to injury in the 2012 Kansas State game.
He was voted 2012 Team Captain (along with Kenny Vaccaro) at the end of the regular season by his teammates. He earned the Roy Williams-Joe Jamail Leadership Award, shared the team's Clyde Littlefield Most Spirited Defensive Player Award with Desmond Jackson and Kenny Vaccaro and also shared the team's Joseph W. Moore Tenacity Award for Defense with Vaccaro.
For his career, Okafor has tallied 178 tackles (92 solo), 22 sacks, 38 TFL, 54 quarterback pressures, 8 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
Okafor is a two-time first team All-Big 12 choice (2011-12), the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by CBSSports.com and was named to the 2012 Nagurski Trophy, Bednarik Award, Lombardi Award and CFPA Defensive Lineman of the Year Trophy watch lists. He was tabbed 2012 preseason first-team All-America by Athlon, Blue Ribbon and Phil Steele magazines and was a 2011 AFCA FBS Coaches' All-American. Okafor was also a unanimous 2011 first team All-Big 12 selection (Coaches) and was named first team All-Big 12 (AP, Kansas City Star, Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and second team (San Antonio Express-News) that same year.
Okafor is a two-time academic all-district selection and a three-time member of UT's Athletics Director's Honor Roll.
In a letter to Okafor, CFPA Executive Director Bradley C. Smith explained the criteria for the award and offered congratulations to the Texas star.
“The goal of the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) is to provide the most scientifically rigorous conferments in college football. CFPA recognizes weekly, annual, and multi-season (career) award recipients – selected based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams,” Smith wrote.
“On behalf of everyone at CFPA -- Assistant Director Harold A. Smith, M.D., Academic Review Chair Paul Studtmann, Ph.D., Associate Director Albert Driver, M.D., and academic review associates, including former Science Advisor to President Obama, Lawrence Krauss, Ph.D., please accept our sincerest congratulations.“
For more information on the College Football Performance Awards go to www.collegefootballperformance.com.