Player Profile Series: Kenneth Acker

Our player profile series continues with a look at CB Kenneth Acker!

Kenneth Acker

Position: Cornerback

Size: 6-0, 195

High School: Grant (OR)

Classification: Senior

2012 Review: Kenneth Acker, or K-Ack as he's referred to by his teammates, has continued to improve his gameplay and skill set each year he's been on the Hilltop. Naturally, his junior year stands out as his best year to date as he was a stalwart in a secondary ravished with injury.

Acker made major contributions to the SMU secondary last year simply by staying healthy. Of the four projected starters in the secondary going into fall camp, Acker was the only player to start all 13 games for the Mustangs. Two of those starters went down with season ending injuries when J. R. Richardson suffered a torn ACL in practice and Ryan Smith tore his Achilles in the fourth game of the season. Chris Parks and Shakiel Randolph also battled injury during the season as well.

Because of injury, the SMU secondary gave up close to 280 yards a game through the air, which was second to last in the conference. Acker had his share of downfalls, but he was easily the most consistent player in the secondary.

Acker showed incredible athleticism and confidence on the outside, at times lining up with the opposing teams most productive receiver. Acker showed the ability to go after balls at their highest point in the air and showed quickness and elusiveness when he got the ball in his hands.

Because of his playmaking ability Acker earned C-USA player of the Week honors for his contributions in a defensive onslaught against SFA, where he found the end zone twice off of an interception return as well as a blocked kick. Acker also ended up on the All-C-USA second team and has recently been named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List as well as the preseason All-Conference first team.

2012 Grade: B+

2013 Outlook: At this point the cat is pretty much out of the bag in regards to Acker's switch to offense for his senior year. As elusive a playmaker as he is, Acker will probably start ahead of Darius Joseph in the slot and should be a great new weapon for Garret Gilbert who just hasn't gotten consistent production from his wide receivers group.

Last year was a pitiful year for the SMU pass catchers. Overall, there were just far too many dropped passes. Darius Johnson disappointed many who thought he could have one of the best seasons for a wide receiver in SMU history. Keenan Holman and Arrius Holleman still proved to be unreliable on the outside. Speedster Der'rikk Thompson showed flashes of potential but needs to work on becoming more of a complete wide receiver instead of just a burner. Jeremy Johnson had a decent season and was easily Gilbert's favorite target but needs to take his production to the next level.

With Acker being added to the group, he should add reliable hands and big play ability after the catch. Because he began to make the transition to offense in the spring, he should be ready to contribute immediately following a full offseason of practice and chemistry development with Garret Gilbert.

But in-game speed and pressure is completely different from practice so Acker may have some growing pains in the first few games of the season. If for some reason he fails to make a smooth transition, look for him to switch back to defense, where he should be solid on the left side of the secondary.

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