Okafor Tapped as Preseason Big 12 DPOY

Texas senior defensive end Alex Okafor was one of four Longhorns to be named to the 2012 Preseason All-Big 12 Team, as selected by media members who cover the league. And those same members selected the Longhorn defensive end as the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Okafor was joined on the team by fellow defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, a junior, senior safety Kenny Vaccaro and sophomore running back Malcolm Brown.

Okafor enters his senior year as a three-year letterman and a two-year starter, starting as a defensive tackle as a sophomore, then bumping back out to his natural end position as a junior. The swap-back was a massive success, with Okafor earning 2011 AFCA FBS Coaches' All-American honors, and finishing as a unanimous first-team All-Big 12'er per the league's coaches. The AP also named him to the first team, after a season that saw Okafor make 58 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks, three pass breakups, 17 pressures, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Jeffcoat has 15 starts over his 21-game career. He was a second-team All-Big 12 selection per the coaches and AP after putting up 71 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, eight sacks, nine pressures and three pass breakups in 2011.

Both Okafor and Jeffcoat are 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.

Vaccaro bypassed the NFL Draft to return for his senior season after a first-team All-Big 12 year in 2011 according to the Big 12's coaches. He played in 13 games at safety, starting 11, and showcasing a versatile skill-set that ranged from covering opposing slot receivers to delivering knockout blows. He made 82 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions, eight pass breakups and seven pressures last year.

Vaccaro was also named to the 2012 Thorpe Award watch list, and joins Okafor and Jeffcoat on the Bednarik and Nagurski watch lists.

The lone Longhorn offensive player picked, Brown was recently named to the 2012 Maxwell Award watch list awarded to the nation's most outstanding college player. The sophomore was the Big 12's Newcomer of the Year per the AP after rushing for 742 yards and five touchdowns. His 74.2 rushing yards per game was the second-best mark among true freshmen nation-wide, and Brown was on-pace for more than 1,100 yards rushing when he was injured with a turf toe.

The annual list is released just ahead of Big 12 Media Days, which starts on Monday and runs through Tuesday of next week.

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