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NFL prospects Okafor, Vaccaro among Texas trio arrested Monday

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com
Three University of Texas football players -- reserve tight end Barrett Matthews, starting defensive end Alex Okafor and starting strong safety Kenny Vaccaro -- were arrested outside of a downtown Austin pizza parlor at 1:29 am Monday, according to various reports.

The players were charged with failure to obey a lawful order, a Class C misdemeanor.

The relatively light criminal charges aren't likely to result in any jail time, but it remains to be seen what sort of discipline coach Mack Brown will levy against his three seniors. Perhaps even more sobering is the thought that with the 2012 NFL draft only slightly in the rear view mirror, evidence is everywhere of the potential fall talented prospects can take if they have serious off-field concerns.

The 6-4, 261-pound Okafor was a unanimous all-conference selection by Big 12 coaches and earned a spot on the AFCA All-American team by registering 58 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks. He is currently NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior defensive end prospect for the 2013 draft and is featured in both Dane Brugler and my own very preliminary first-round projections.

Vaccaro, 6-1 and 215 pounds, nearly continued the long tradition of talented Texas defensive backs earning high marks on draft day as he reportedly strongly considered leaving school early for the 2012 draft. Vaccaro, who some scouts had given a second round grade to, elected to return for his senior season. As a junior, Vaccaro registered 82 tackles, including two sacks. He also intercepted two passes. Vaccaro is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 strong safety prospect for the 2013 draft.

The 6-2, 235-pound Matthews has earned playing time in 38 games over his Texas career, but most of this action has come on special teams. He caught only two passes (for nine yards) a year ago.

From 2001-2010, there were a combined 14 players drafted in the first round out of the University of Texas. The Longhorns did not produce a first-round pick in either of the past two years.

Should Okafor and Vaccaro continue to allow poor decisions off the field to distract from their abilities on it, that streak could continue in 2013.
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