Blog: Longhorns Okafor ready for big season

Published On: Jul 30 2012 11:30:56 AM CDT   Updated On: Jul 30 2012 11:30:56 AM CDT

The Texas Longhorns are hoping this season marks the return to greatness for them, and it appears they might have the defensive end to do so.
Alex Okafor is getting a ton of preseason press, being named to the watch list of the Walter Camp Award, given to the best player in the country.
Okafor was also named to the Lombardi Award watch list(college lineman or linebacker of the year), the Bednarik Award watch list(college defensive player of the year), the Nagurski Trophy watch list(most outstanding defensive player) and the College Football Performance Awards Defensive Awards. Okafor was also named to the preseason Big 12 team and the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
It's no surprise that Okafor is getting a ton of preseason praise, as he was a 2011 All American. Okafor had an outstanding 2011, in contrast to his 2010 season. The reason for a break out 2011 had a lot to do with Okafor being moved back to defensive end. Okafor spent 2010 as a defensive tackle, in an attempt to get as many top pass rushers on the field. Okafor was out of place as a tackle, but is right at home as a defensive end. Okafor, teamed up with the other Big 12 Preseason defensive end, Jackson Jeffcoat, might very well be the best pass rush tandem in all of college football.
With Jeffcoat on the other side, even if teams wanted to double team Okafor, they can't overlook Jeffcoat. This means Okafor should have all the opportunity to be successful. Okafor should also get help from the Texas secondary, which is probably the best in the Big 12 and might very well be the best in the country. Quarterbacks will have to hold the ball a little longer, giving Okafor more time to get to the QB.
With all this, it's safe to say that Okafor should have a big season and become a top NFL prospect. What might make him a Texas legend is if he can be the leader this young 'Horns team needs. This young defense lost two senior leaders, Emanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson. It's up to Okafor to be a senior leader, and if he can do that, this defense might be as good as any at the 40 acres.

John Dyer is a sports blogger for KSAT.com. He also owns a sports website, Texas Sports Junkie.