Texas Longhorns senior defensive end Alex Okafor, junior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, senior safety Kenny Vaccaro and sophomore running back Malcolm Brown have been named to the 2012 Preseason All-Big 12 Team, the Big 12 conference has announced. Okafor has been tabbed as the Big 12 preseason Defensive Player of the Year. The team is chosen by media representatives who cover the Big 12 conference.
Okafor is a three-year letterman who has appeared in 39 games on the defensive line, including 21 starts. He was a 2011 AFCA FBS Coaches' All-American and a unanimous first team All-Big 12 selection (Coaches). Also in 2011, he was named first team All-Big 12 (AP, Kansas City Star, Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and was on the 2011 Ted Hendricks Defensive End of the Year Award watch list. Okafor transitioned back to full-time defensive end from defensive tackle in spring 2011 and has registered 110 tackles (49solo), 9.5 sacks, 20 TFL, 36 pressures, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery for his career. Last season he started all 13 games, posting 58 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks, three pass breakups, 17 pressures, two caused fumbles and one fumble recovery. He is a two-time member of UT's Athletics Director's Honor Roll (Spring 2010/Fall 2010).
Okafor and Jeffcoat are also on the 2012 watch lists for the Lombardi Award (college lineman or linebacker of the year), Bednarik Award (college defensive player of the year), Nagurski Trophy (most outstanding defensive player) and the College Football Performance Awards Defensive Awards.
Jeffcoat is a third-year defensive lineman who has appeared in 21 games with 15 starts. He was a 2011 second team All-Big 12 selection (Coaches, AP, Kansas City Star, San Antonio Express-News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Jackson has 86 tackles (43 solo), 27 TFL, 10.5 sacks, four PBU, one fumble recovery and 16 pressures for his career. He tallied 71 tackles, 21 TFL, eight sacks, nine pressures and three pass breakups in 2011. He was named honorable mention Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2010 when he posted 15 tackles (eight solo), six TFL and 2.5 sacks, one PBU, one fumble recovery and seven pressures. His father, Jim, was a standout defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys (1983-94) and Buffalo Bills (1995-97) and is the current defensive line coach at San Jose State.
Vaccaro is a fourth-year defensive back who has appeared in 38 games with 19 career starts. He was chosen to the All-Big 12 first team (Coaches), second team (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and honorable mention (AP) in 2011 and was honorable mention for Defensive Player of the Year (Coaches). Vaccaro has posted 157 tackles (102 solos), two interceptions, 12 TFL, two sacks, two forced fumbles and 16 PBU for his career and has also registered 14 tackles (10 solo) and two blocked kicks on special teams. He appeared in all 13 games at safety, starting 11, while registering 82 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, eight pass breakups and seven pressures in 2011.
Vaccaro has also been named to the 2012 Thorpe Award watch list and joins Okafor and Jeffcoat on the watch lists for the Bednarik Award (college defensive player of the year) and the Nagurski Trophy (most outstanding defensive player).
Brown, who was named to the 2012 Maxwell Award watch list awarded to the nation’s outstanding collegiate player, begins his second season after having played in 10 games with seven starts as a true freshman in 2011. He was named second-team Freshman All-America by Yahoo!Sports, the 2011 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year (AP, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year (Kansas City Star). Brown is one of 13 Texas freshmen to rush for over 500 yards in a season, ranks seventh on the single season rushing yards (742) list for freshmen and is tied for ninth for rushing touchdowns (5) as a frosh. In 2011, he tallied 172 carries for 742 yards to lead the team and had five rushing touchdowns while catching three passes for 17 yards. Brown ranked second among true freshmen in the NCAA and was eighth overall in the Big 12 with 74.2 rushing yards per game. He was the first true freshman to lead Texas in rushing since Cedric Benson in 2001 and was the team's leading rusher in eight of the 13 games. Brown has three career 100-yard rushing performances, tied for third most by Longhorn freshmen. He was on the College Football Performance Awards National Freshman Performer of the Year watch list and was a prep All-American who played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.