Alex Okafor is trading burnt orange for bright red.
Okafor, a defensive end, was chosen by the Arizona Cardinals as the 103rd overall pick in the fourth round of the NFL Draft Saturday morning.
“Alex was so unselfish,” head coach Mack Brown said. “He played anywhere we asked him to. When we were short on the defensive line two years ago, at 260 pounds he played all year and never griped one bit. He became a great team leader.”
He follows a line of Longhorns picked by the Cardinals, including center Lyle Sendlein, defensive end Lance Wilson, offensive guard Leonard Davis and fellow defensive end Sam Acho, who was also the 103rd pick, in 2011. Acho and Sendlein are currently both on the Cardinals roster.
Okafor played four years for the Longhorns without redshirting, leading the team in sacks, quarterback pressures, forced fumbles and tackles for loss in his senior season. By the end of his collegiate career, Okafor had played in 52 games with 33 starts. He was a two-time first team All-Big 12 choice and the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by CBSSports.com.
A shining moment for Okafor came during the 2012 Alamo Bowl, during which he managed eight tackles and 4.5 sacks, effectively helping Texas set the Valero Alamo Bowl record for sacks.
“I think his [best football] is ahead of him because he is going to get bigger and stronger,” Brown said. “He has a lot of upside.”