Kenny Vaccaro          FS       Texas   Very good athlete with fluid, natural movement skills. Good diagnostic abilities; instinctive reactions with read reaction quickness. A competitive and tough football player. The free safety possesses good, not great speed, and runs the alley with range. Possesses excellent man cover skills vs. slot receivers, but will need to employ UOH (use of hands) technique to re-route receivers off LOS (line of scrimmage). A high school corner who convered to safety, Vaccaro’s smooth hips and short-area COD (change of direction), click and drive, and burst and acceleration, as seen within his DNA (tape), showed up in the short shuttle (4.06) results at the combine. This player is very versatile, with good FBI (football instincts) and awareness in space. Good force with eyes to attack running backs or receivers; explosive, missile tackler with consistent collision. Takes inconsistent angles in space, though, and needs better wrap technique; will launch himself and whiff, an area that must be shored up for the next level. Vaccaro is a very solid and disruptive blitzer, aggressive and relentless in chase and pursuit. Good RAC (run after catch) skills. Decision-making within a game is spotty, as evidenced by late hits out of bounds that resulted in penalties. Off-field issues were addressed with all teams at combine. It’s time for this former Longhorn to grow up. Softli – First round talent/mid-late first-round pick.

 

KENNETH “Kenny” VACCARO

Free/Strong Safety

University of Texas Longhorns

#4

6:00.0-214

Brownwood, Texas

Early High School

Brownwood High School

 

OVERVIEW

The safety position continues to evolve in recent years. In the past, they were the last line of defense, often residing in the deep secondary to prevent fast-breaking receivers from getting under those long bombs usually tossed by quarterbacks in the vertical passing game.

 

With the arrival of the West Coast, spread and read-option offenses, safeties are now asked to more that just wait for the action to come to them. A big, physical safety with speed like a cornerback and the hitting ability of a linebacker is a bigger priority in this day and age of professional football.

 

Enter Kenny Vaccaro – built like a Cover-2 linebacker with the closing speed and downhill ability to attack the line of scrimmage to plug the rush lanes. In three seasons as a starter, he has lined up as a strong safety, free safety, slot cornerback, outside linebacker and in the nickel and dime packages. He has proven to be not only versatile, but highly effective.

 

During his sophomore season alone, he would have to check the “lineup card” to see where he was playing, as he split his time between strong safety, free safety, strong-side outside linebacker and even middle linebacker for the Longhorns. He has accounted for eleven turnovers since becoming a starter and his 264 tackles are the most for any Texas player on the roster last season.

 

Among those 264 tackles were 107 stops vs. the ground game, including sixteen behind the line of scrimmage. When used as a blitzer, he has also bee quite effective, as seven of his eleven quarterback pressures have resulted in either interceptions or third-down incomplete tosses. As a pass defender, he has produced 21 deflections and picked off five other throws, with three leading to Texas touchdown drives.

 

Before becoming a standout defender for the Longhorns, Vaccaro was equally versatile during his prep career, playing six different positions during three seasons for head coach Steve Freeman at Brownwood High School. He posted 235 tackles with five interceptions, earning All-State and All-District first-team honors as a defensive back, along with seeing action as a receiver and running back. He was voted the team’s Newcomer of the Year during his first season at the school and also lettered three times in basketball.

 

As a junior at Brownwood High, he totaled 110 tackles with four interceptions and four fumble recoveries in 2007. He also averaged 34.5 yards as a kickoff returner. Prior to his senior season, Vaccaro transferred to Ely High School, playing for head coach Robbie Tindol. Three games into the 2008 season, he suffered a knee injury that would end his prep career. He still received a four star prospect grade and was rated the 17th-best cornerback in the nation by Scout.com, while Rivals.com placed him 18th nationally as a safety, as he also made their Texas Top 100 squad.

 

Vaccaro signed his national letter of intent to attend the University of Texas on December 12th, 2008. He enrolled at the school in January, 2009 and competed with the team during spring drills. With a veteran-laden secondary led by All-American Earl Thomas, Vaccaro would spend his first year as a Longhorn mostly with the coverage units, leading the special teams squad with nine tackles, a forced fumble and a blocked kiock. He also made nineteen tackles on defense.

 

As a sophomore, Vaccaro primarily shared strong safety duties with Christian Scott, but only two of his six starting assignments came at that position. He would also start three times at strong-side outside linebacker and once at middle linebacker. He ranked fifth on the team with 56 tackles, including four stops for losses, as he intercepted one pass and broke up eight others. He added a blocked kick and five more stops playing on special teams.

 

As a full-time starter in 2011, Vaccaro finished third in the league coaches’ voting for Big Twelve Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He finished fourth on the team with 82 tackles, but led all the conference’s defensive backs with eight stops behind the line of scrimmage, as he also posted seven pressures. In pass coverage, he intercepted two throws and deflected eight other pass attempts.

 

On the move again, Vaccaro started all thirteen games at free safety in 2012, as the All-American led the team with 107 tackles (60 solos), the most by a Longhorn defensive back since Michael Griffin delivered 126 stops in 2006. Four of the senior’s tackles came behind the line of scrimmage, as he caused two fumbles, recovered another and again picked off two passes, knocking down five other throws.

 

CAREER NOTES

Vaccaro started 32-of-51 games at Texas – fifteen at strong safety, thirteen at free safety, three at strong-side outside linebacker and one at middle linebacker…Is the school’s active leader with 264 tackles (162 solos), as he recorded two sacks for minus 16 yards, sixteen stops for losses of 59 yards and eleven quarterback pressures…Caused four fumbles and recovered another…Gained 19 yards on five interceptions and deflected 21 other throws…On special teams, he blocked two kicks and delivered fourteen tackles (10 solos).

 

2012 SEASON

Vaccaro earned first-team All-American honors from Pro Football Weekly, as he was a second-team pick by The NFL Draft Report and honorable mention by Sports Illustrated… Earned All-Big Twelve Conference first-team recognition from the league’s coaches, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman and Dallas Morning News…Shared the team’s Clyde Littlefield Most Spirited Defensive Player Award with Desmond Jackson and Alex Okafor…Also shared the team’s Joseph W. Moore Tenacity Award for Defense with Alex Okafor and captured the Mike Campbell Defensive MVP and George `Hook’ McCullough Team MVP Awards…Vaccaro shifted to free safety, starting all thirteen games, as he led the team with 107 tackles (60 solos) that included four stops behind the line of scrimmage…Posted four quarterback pressures, as he caused two fumbles and recovered another…Deflected five passes and gained 19 yards on a pair of interceptions…Recorded four double-digit tackle games and had nine contests with seven or more tackles…Tallied one interception which set up a touchdown, one PBU and six tackles in the season-opener vs. Wyoming…Posted nine tackles, one pass break-up and recovered his first career fumble vs. New Mexico, as he was named the game’s defensive MVP by the coaching staff…Notched five tackles and one quarterback pressure vs. Ole Miss…Registered five tackles (three solo), including one for a loss and an interception vs. Oklahoma State…Had 11 tackles, including one for a loss vs. West Virginia and nine tackles vs. Oklahoma…Was in on eight tackles, including one for a loss, and one forced fumble vs. Baylor…Collected 11 tackles, including one for a loss, and had one forced fumble vs. Kansas…Made nine stops vs. Texas Tech and posted four tackles, one pass breakup and one QB pressure vs. Iowa State…Credited with 11 stops on defense vs. TCU and matched his career high with 13 tackles, including a career-best 12 solo stops, vs. Kansas State…Registered seven hits and two pass breakups in the win over Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl, as he was part of a defense which held the Beavers to 69 total yards in the second half, including minus 4 in the fourth quarter.

 

2011 SEASON

Vaccaro was chosen to the All-Big Twelve Conference first-team by the league’s coaches, adding second-team honors from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and honorable mention from the Associated Press…Was an honorable mention for Defensive Player of the Year honors handed out by the coaches…Earned UT’s Joseph W. Moore Tenacity Award for Defense…Started all thirteen games at strong safety, ranking fourth on the team with 82 tackles (47 solos), including two sacks for minus 16 yards, eight stops for losses of 28 yards and seven quarterback pressures…Deflected eight passes and intercepted two others…Helped Texas lead the league and rank sixth in the nation in rushing defense (96.23 ypg) and 11th in total defense (306.08)…Helped the Longhorns hold California to 7 rushing yards and 195 yards of total offense in the Holiday Bowl with his five tackles, a career-high tying two tackles for loss, one sack and two QB pressures…Racked up 13 tackles (eight solo), one interception, and one pressure at UCLA to garner the team’s Defensive Player of the Week honor…Intercepted a pass to go with three tackles and one pass breakup at Texas A&M…Tallied nine tackles, one for a loss, one pass breakup and one pressure vs. Texas Tech…Reached double digits with 10 tackles at Missouri and was in on seven tackles (five solo) and one pass deflection vs. Rice…Had six tackles and a career-high tying two pass breakups vs. Oklahoma State…Finished with six tackles and one tackle for loss vs. Kansas State as the defense held the Wildcats to 121 yards of total offense…Posted six tackles, including a career-high tying two tackles for loss and one sack, at Iowa State … had five tackles, including one for a loss, and a two pass breakups vs. Oklahoma…Helped lead the defense to a shut out performance vs. Kansas, allowing only 46 yards of total offense and minus-2 rushing yards.

 

2010 SEASON

Vaccaro appeared in all twelve games, starting at strong safety vs. UCLA and Oklahoma and also earned four starts in the nickel package, lining up at the middle linebacker slot vs. Texas A&M and strong-side outside linebacker vs. Baylor, Oklahoma State and Kansas State…Despite the constant position shuffling, the sophomore finished fifth on the team with 56 tackles (42 solos), adding four stops for minus 22 yards and a forced fumble, in addition to posting five tackles (4 solos) and blocking a kick on special teams…Picked off one pass and deflected eight others…Earned UT’s Joseph W. Moore Tenacity Award for Defense and the Frank Denius Most Valuable Special Teams Player and received the coaching staff’s Hard Hat Award for hardest hitter on one occasion…Helped Texas rank sixth in the nation in total defense (300.2 ypg) and pass defense (161.6 ypg).

 

2009 SEASON

Vaccaro appeared in 13 games at free safety and on special teams…Twice named the team’s Most Productive Performer on special teams…Finished with nineteen tackles (13 solos) on defense, as he made nine more hits (6 solos) and blocked a kick with the special teams squads.

 

INJURY REPORT

2008 Season…Vaccaro’s senior high school season ended after three games due to a knee injury.

 

AGILITY TESTS

4.59 in the 40-yard dash…1.60 10-yard dash…2.59 20-yard dash…4.06 20-yard shuttle…

6.78 three-cone drill…38-inch vertical jump…10’1” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 15 times…32 ¾-inch arm length…10-inch hands…77 5/8-inch wingspan.

 

 

 

HIGH SCHOOL

Vaccaro first attended Brownwood (Tex.) High School, playing football for head coach Steve Freeman before transferring to Early High School for his senior season…At Brown-wood, Vaccaro played six different positions…For his career, he posted 235 tackles with five interceptions, earning All-State and All-District first-team honors as a defensive back, along with seeing action as a receiver and running back…Voted the team’s Newcomer of the Year during his first season at the school and also lettered three times in basketball…

As a junior at Brownwood, he totaled 110 tackles with four interceptions and four fumble recoveries in 2007…Also averaged 34.5 yards as a kickoff returner…At Ely High, he played for head coach Robbie Tindol, but three games into the 2008 season, he suffered a knee injury that would end his prep career…Received a four star prospect grade and was rated the 17th-best cornerback in the nation by Scout.com, while Rivals.com placed him 18th nationally as a safety, as he also made their Texas Top 100 squad.

 

PERSONAL

Physical Culture and Sports major, enrolled in the College of Education…Uncle, A.J. Johnson, played in the NFL with the Washington Redskins (1989-94), helping Washington to a victory in Super Bowl XXVI, and San Diego Chargers (1995)…Resides in Brownwood, Texas.

 

PLAYER STATISTICS

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
STATS GP GS TK SO AS FR FC INT TFL PBU SACK PRES
2009 13 00 019 013 006  00  01  00 00.0-00   00  0.0-00    00
2010 12 06 056 042 014  00  01  01 04.0-22   08  0.0-00    00
2011 13 13 082 047 035  00  00  02 08.0-28   08  2.0-16    07
2012 13 13 107 060 047  01  02  02 04.0-09   05  0.0-00    04
TOTAL 51 32 264 162 102  01  04  05 16.0-59   21  2.0-16    11

 

INTERCEPTION RETURNS SPECIAL TEAM STATISTICS
STATS NO YARDS AVG TD LONG TK SO AS FC BK
2009  00        00 00.00  00    00  09  06  03  01  01
2010  01        00 00.00  00    00  05  04  01  00  01
2011  02        00 00.00  00    00  00  00  00  00  00
2012  02        19 09.50  00    19  00  00  00  00  00
TOTAL  05        19 03.80  00    19  14  10  04  01  01

 

VACCARO GAME BY GAME LOG

2012 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

BK

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Wyoming 09/01/12 Wyoming 37-17

Yes

1

19

0

2

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

New Mexico 09/08/12 New Mexico 45-0

Yes

0

0

0

3

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Ole Miss 09/15/12 at Ole Miss 66-31

Yes

0

0

0

3

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Oklahoma St. 09/29/12 at Oklahoma St. 41-36

Yes

1

0

0

2

3

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

West Virginia 10/06/12 West Virginia 45-48

Yes

0

0

0

6

5

0

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Oklahoma 10/13/12 Oklahoma 21-63

Yes

0

0

0

3

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Baylor 10/20/12 Baylor 56-50

Yes

0

0

0

2

6

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Kansas 10/27/12 at Kansas 21-17

Yes

0

0

0

3

8

0

2

6

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Texas Tech 11/03/12 at Texas Tech 31-22

Yes

0

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Iowa St. 11/10/12 Iowa St. 33-7

Yes

0

0

0

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

TCU 11/22/12 TCU 13-20

Yes

0

0

0

5

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kansas St. 12/01/12 at Kansas St. 24-42

Yes

0

0

0

0

11

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Oregon St. 12/29/12 Oregon St. 31-27

Yes

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

Season Totals

2

19

0

34

58

1

4

12

0

0

0

5

2

3

0

 

 

2011 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

BK

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Rice 09/03/11 Rice 34-9

Yes

0

0

0

2

5

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

BYU 09/10/11 BYU 17-16

Yes

0

0

0

2

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

UCLA 09/17/11 at UCLA 49-20

Yes

1

0

0

1

8

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Iowa St. 10/01/11 at Iowa St. 37-14

Yes

0

0

0

2

4

1

1

10

0

1

8

0

0

1

0

Oklahoma 10/08/11 Oklahoma 17-55

Yes

0

0

0

0

3

0

1

4

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

Oklahoma St. 10/15/11 Oklahoma St. 26-38

Yes

0

0

0

2

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

Kansas 10/29/11 Kansas 43-0

Yes

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas Tech 11/05/11 Texas Tech 52-20

Yes

0

0

0

6

3

1

0

3

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

Missouri 11/12/11 at Missouri 5-17

Yes

0

0

0

2

4

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Kansas St. 11/19/11 Kansas St. 13-17

Yes

0

0

0

3

2

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas A&M 11/24/11 at Texas A&M 27-25

Yes

1

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Baylor 12/03/11 at Baylor 24-48

Yes

0

0

0

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

California 12/28/11 California 21-10

Yes

0

0

0

0

3

0

2

9

0

1

8

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

2

0

0

22

45

3

5

28

0

2

16

7

0

2

0

 

2010 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Int. Ret.

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

BK

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Rice 09/04/10 Rice 34-17

Yes

0

0

0

1

7

0

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Wyoming 09/11/10 Wyoming 34-7

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Texas Tech 09/18/10 at Texas Tech 24-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

UCLA 09/25/10 UCLA 12-34

Yes

0

0

0

1

8

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Oklahoma 10/02/10 Oklahoma 20-28

Yes

0

0

0

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Nebraska 10/16/10 at Nebraska 20-13

Yes

0

0

0

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Iowa St. 10/23/10 Iowa St. 21-28

Yes

0

0

0

2

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

Baylor 10/30/10 Baylor 22-30

Yes

0

0

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Kansas St. 11/06/10 at Kansas St. 14-39

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Oklahoma St. 11/13/10 Oklahoma St. 16-33

Yes

1

0

0

1

8

0

1

6

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

Fla. Atlantic 11/20/10 Fla. Atlantic 51-17

Yes

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas A&M 11/25/10 Texas A&M 17-24

Yes

0

0

0

2

4

0

1

7

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

Season Totals

1

0

0

12

42

0

3

17

0

0

0

7

1

0

1

 

2009 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Pres

BK

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

La.-Monroe 09/05/09 La.-Monroe 59-20

Yes

2

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Wyoming 09/12/09 at Wyoming 41-10

Yes

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas Tech 09/19/09 Texas Tech 34-24

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

UTEP 09/26/09 UTEP 64-7

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Colorado 10/10/09 Colorado 38-14

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Oklahoma 10/17/09 Oklahoma 16-13

No

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Missouri 10/24/09 at Missouri 41-7

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Oklahoma St. 10/31/09 at Oklahoma St. 41-14

Yes

0

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

UCF 11/07/09 UCF 35-3

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Baylor 11/14/09 at Baylor 47-14

Yes

1

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Kansas 11/21/09 Kansas 51-20

Yes

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Texas A&M 11/26/09 at Texas A&M 49-39

Yes

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

Nebraska 12/05/09 at Nebraska 13-12

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Alabama 01/07/10 at Alabama 21-37

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

5

13

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

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