Poona Ford named Big 12 Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year

After a year of tearing through the middle of offensive lines, Senior DT Poona Ford was named Big 12 Conference Defensive Lineman of the Year, announced by the league office on Thursday afternoon and voted on by the conference’s head coaches.

Ford started the season with three tackles and three knockbacks against Maryland, while also blocking a field goal that was returned 65 yards for a touchdown. He followed that up with one tackle, one pass breakup and two knockbacks in a shutout win over San Jose State, where the Longhorns allowed just 42 yards rushing to the Spartans. Ford and the Longhorns pushed No. 4/4 USC into double-overtime the next weekend on the road, as the senior had four tackles, one quarterback hurry and two knockbacks in holding the Trojans to just 71 yards on the ground.

To begin Big 12 play, Ford had two tackles and two knockbacks, but was a huge factor in holding Iowa State to just 10 rushing yards in a 17-7 Longhorn win in Ames. UT moved to 2-0 in Big 12 play the following week, as Ford had a monster game with just one tackle, but five knockbacks in a double-overtime win against Kansas State. After registering one tackle and two knockbacks against Oklahoma, he had four tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble in an overtime loss to Oklahoma State.

Over the last five games, Ford has totaled 14 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He had seven tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one-half sack at TCU, while totaling two tackles for loss against Kansas and two more on Senior Night against Texas Tech. He has totaled multiple knockbacks in all but one game this season. Texas held four of its last five opponents under 100 yards rushing.

Ford, who has played in 45 career games and started 29 of them, was named honorable mention All-Big 12 a season ago. He was named a Blanchard-Rogers Award finalist this season, given to the nation’s best player with ties to South Carolina.