AUSTIN, Texas — In Texas, which annually produces many of the top high school players in the country, private schools are considered the shallow end of the talent pool.
The kiddie pool, if you will. But every once in a while, players with big-league talent emerge from the prep schools. Texas brothers Sam and Emmanuel Acho are two of them, and both are starting on defense for the No. 2 Longhorns. Sam Acho, a junior defensive end on Texas’ revamped line, forced one fumble and recovered two more in the Longhorns’ 59-20 win over Louisiana-Monroe last week. Emmanuel, a sophomore linebacker, also forced a fumble. Texas keeps public and private schools in separate athletic leagues with exceptions for two large Catholic schools in Houston and Dallas. They may meet in regular-season games, but they don’t compete for the same state championships. The state’s reputation as a high school football factory rests with the University Interscholastic League and its 1,300 public schools that churn out top-division players every year. By comparison, private school football is generally regarded as quaint and genteel. The Achos went to the private St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas. They are the only two Longhorns scholarship players from Texas prep schools. Neither would be considered lightweights. Sam Acho, who goes by the nickname "Macho Acho” is 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, and his younger brother is 6-foot-2, 235 pounds. "People try to knock private schools, but a football player is a football player,” said Sam Acho said as the Longhorns (1-0) prepared for Saturday’s game at Wyoming (1-0). After two seasons as a reserve, the Longhorns needed Sam Acho to emerge as a playmaker this year after losing three starters on the defensive line, including consensus All-American end Brian Orakpo.