Counting Down the Big 12's Top Players

One-by-one, we count down the Big 12's top 50 players. At No. 16 is Texas linebacker Emmanuel Acho.

16) Emmanuel Acho, senior LB, Texas

Texas defensive tackle Kheeston Randall is one of the biggest jokers on the Longhorn squad. And one of the quips he makes the most often in media circles is to refer to Emmanuel Acho as "the lesser Acho." While the tag made sense through this past season thanks to the success of older brother Sam Acho, Emmanuel enters 2011 with a chance to make a mark all of his own.

That's not to say that Acho is starting from scratch. Last season, Acho finished second on the Longhorns in tackles (87) and third in tackles for loss (12). He sacked the quarterback three times. He picked off a pass and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown.

But perhaps more importantly, Acho showed his potential on the Longhorns' biggest stage, tearing through the Oklahoma offense in the Red River Shootout. He had 17 tackles, five for loss and a sack and forced fumble that nearly turned the tide of the game late in the fourth quarter.

That Acho accomplished all of that while bouncing between middle and outside linebacker speaks to his character and ability to adapt. While the former remains an asset to the Longhorns, he might not need the latter as much this season, with Keenan Robinson moving to the middle, allowing Acho to play his more natural spot on the outside.

As is, he's one of the top linebackers in a conference that's stacked with them, and teams with Robinson and Jordan Hicks to form one of the country's best linebacking groups.

2010 Stats: 87 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery

No. 17: Oklahoma DB Demontre Hurst

No. 18: Baylor WR Kendall Wright

No. 19: Oklahoma OL Ben Habern

No. 20: Oklahoma State OL Lane Taylor

No. 21: Iowa State LB Jake Knott

No.22: Oklahoma State S Markelle Martin

No.23: Missouri DL Brad Madison

No. 24: Missouri WR T.J. Moe

No. 25: Texas Tech OL Mickey Okafor

No. 26: Missouri TE Michael Egnew

No. 27: Texas A&M CB Coryell Judie

No. 28: Texas DB Kenny Vaccaro

No. 29: Oklahoma DE/LB Ronnell Lewis

No. 30: Texas A&M RB Christine Michael

No. 31: Kansas OL Jeremiah Hatch

No. 32: Texas Tech OL Lonnie Edwards

No. 33: Missouri DE Jacquies Smith

No. 34: Oklahoma WR Kenny Stills

No. 35: Texas WR Mike Davis

No. 36: Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat

No. 37: Kansas State DB David Garrett

No. 38: Oklahoma OL Gabe Ikard

No. 39: Texas Tech RB Eric Stephens

No. 40: Baylor OL Philip Blake

No. 41: Missouri LB Zaviar Gooden

No. 42: Texas DL Alex Okafor

No. 43: Texas A&M DL Tony Jerod-Eddie

No. 44: Kansas RB James Sims

No. 45: Texas Tech S Cody Davis

No. 46: Iowa State CB Leonard Johnson

No. 47: Kansas State S Ty Zimmerman

No. 48: Baylor DE/LB Tevin Elliot

No. 49: Kansas State DE Brandon Harold

No. 50: Kansas DE Toben Opurum

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