When the Big 12 Conference released its annual football awards on Wednesday, Texas Longhorns senior defensive end Charles Omenihu and freshman safety Caden Sterns both received recognition, as Omenihu was named the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, while Sterns was named Defensive Freshman of the Year.
Omenihu is the third Longhorns player to earn that title, joining Brian Orakpo in 2008 and Poona Ford last season. The 6’6, 275-pounder ranks second in the conference in sacks with 8.5 and fourth in tackles for loss with 14.5, including one in each of the last eight games. A monster performance in conference play earned Omenihu the award, as he recorded 7.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss against Big 12 opponents.
Sterns is the seventh Longhorns player to earn Defensive Freshman of the Year honors, with linebacker Malik Jefferson the recent recipient of that award in 2015. The first true freshman to start every game at Texas since Blake Gideon in 2008, Sterns has four interceptions this season and is fourth on the team with 59 tackles, along with four pass breakups and a blocked field goal against USC that senior linebacker Anthony Wheeler returned for a touchdown.