Ahmard Hall Named Big 12 Male Sportsperson Of Year

Longhorn fullback and Marine Sergeant Ahmard Hall has been named the 2005 Big 12 Male Sportsperson of the Year, the conference office announced Wednesday. The walk-on is currently listed as Texas' starting FB with August camp beginning in little more than one month.

"For me, this is all a dream come true," Hall said. "Everything that's already happened to me throughout the season and the past year would have been enough, but to be named the Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year, I couldn't be happier. It puts me at a loss for words. I just wanted to come back and finish out my career. I thought I had a chance to make the team and contribute, but to be in a position to be the starting fullback and receive an award like this and the other accolades from last season, I couldn't have dreamed it would happen this way."

Hall served four years, including tours in Kosovo and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. After his tour in the military, he enrolled at Texas and joined the team as a walk-on in 2003. Hall is finishing his college degree on the G.I. bill and has two years of active duty awaiting him when he finishes his studies. Hall could still be called to active duty at any time

Hall scored his only collegiate TD when he carried the ball over from the one to cap the scoring in Texas' 65-0 win over North Texas in the 2004 home-opener, but his most significant carry of the season would come the following week just before Texas' 22-20 win at Arkansas. On the anniversary of September 11 last year, the coaches and team selected Hall to carry the American flag onto the field just before kickoff. Until then, the walk-on was not even expecting to make the trip to Fayetteville.

"It was just a great feeling to be able to carry the flag onto the field," Hall told me last fall. "On 9-11, it was big. It was definitely big. Any other day, it still would have been big but on that significant day, it was big. I still have people over there (Afghanistan) who are still serving their country and they were able to see it. People from my command and people that I served with were able to see it. It was definitely a great feeling to run out there and represent them."

Hall played in every game last season for fourth-ranked Texas (11-1), while posting 10 special teams tackles, second best on the squad. Texas honored Hall with the inaugural Pat Tillman Award at the 2004 football banquet. He was unable to attend because he was taking care of his two-year-old son, Mason, while his wife Joanna, a fellow Marine, worked overtime to earn time off to attend the Rose Bowl. However, the Angleton native was one of two UT players chosen to attend a ceremony at the Texas State Capitol this past spring when the Longhorns Rose Bowl Championship team was honored with a resolution.

Off the field, Hall assists military veterans in Austin and is part of the Longhorn community service program. Last fall, he organized a care package drive for soldiers overseas in combat and local veterans in the area. The items were presented to the commandant for the Central Texas Detachment of the Marine Corps League on Veterans Day in association with the Momma Bear Cares program.

"I can't think of an individual who is more appropriate for an award that recognizes sportsmanship than Ahmard," head coach Mack Brown said. "He epitomizes everything you want in a student-athlete. Ahmard is a great leader, hard-working and determined teammate, a dedicated father and husband and a guy who proudly serves our country. He's certainly a person we are extremely honored to have in our football program and at our University."

Richelle Simpson, a gymnast at Nebraska, is the Conference's female recipient of the honor. The pair will be recognized on Dec. 3 during the first half of the 2005 Big 12 Football Championship at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year Award was started prior to the 2000-01 academic year to recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and/or community service from within the conference. A media panel selected Hall and Simpson.

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