Acker garners national attention
August 27, 2008 · Updated 6:30 PM
TROY, N.Y. The American Football Coaches Association has released its 2007 Division III All-America Team and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute student-athlete Tim Acker has been named to the prestigious squad. Selected as a defensive back, he is one of only two sophomores on the 25-person team.
A native of Arlington, Acker started all 10 games and was fourth on the team in tackles with 62, including 31 unassisted. He also had a team-high six interceptions, four sacks, a pass breakup, a forced a fumble and fumble recovery. His four sacks, which resulted in a loss of 37 yards, were second on the team, which allowed a Liberty League-low 13.8 points per game.
Acker had a number of stand-out games, including six tackles, three sacks and two interceptions in a 37-14 victory at Susquehanna. He also recorded a game-high 15 tackles and intercepted a school record three passes in a 21-14 double-overtime win at WPI in the Transit Trophy Game. Ackers five tackles and one interception in the Dutchman Shoes Trophy Game helped RPI knock off Union College, 20-14, and take home the rivalry trophy for the second consecutive year.
He was the Liberty Leagues Defensive Performer of the Week twice, named to the D3Football.com Team of the Week twice and selected as the ECAC Northwest Defensive Player of the Week on two occasions.
In addition to being named a National All-American by the AFCA, other year-end awards include All-Liberty League Second Team and D3Football.com All-Region Third Team.
A graduate of Arlington High School, Acker also returned punts for the Engineers, setting a school record for punt return yards in a season with 317. He had a school record 85-yard punt return for a touchdown as well as an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown against Merchant Marine.
He was the Liberty League Special Teams Performer of the Week once and named to the D3Football.com Team of the Week once as a return specialist. He earned All-Liberty League and All-Region Second Team honors.
Acker, who helped the Engineers to an 8-2 overall record, including a Liberty League Championship and an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, played nine games as a freshman. He had 34 tackles, including 18 solo stops, an interception and a fumble recovery in 2006.
We had a very successful season, we went 8-2 and made it to the playoffs, said Acker. The season started a little slow for me personally, I had a few injuries. About the fourth game of the year I came into my own, grabbed a couple interceptions and the ball really started rolling for me.
Acker is an impressive student to go along with his athletic achievements. He was recruited by a number of schools out of high school for both his on-field and off-field abilities.
I was looking at the D3 level because I wanted to play football right away. I wanted a combination of academics and athletics that were both high and RPI ended up fitting the bill. Pretty much it came down to academics because theres some very strong football programs out in the West at this level. The academic side of it really brought me East.
Much of Ackers success this season he credits to his defensive teammates.
My relationship with my teammates has been tremendous. Im surrounded by great people and its inspiring when you look to your left and right and they are all good people.
Acker was also grateful to his parents for honoring his decision to attend such a distant college.
Growing up I had the ideal situation at home. My parents never pressured me to stay close to home when I went away to college. They saw how I was doing in school and were on the same page as me as far as choosing a college. They dont like that Im so far away, but they respect it, and they like the fact that Im growing up away from home.
Acker remembers his days in Arlington fondly, citing his football teammates as some of his closest friends.
Ive been surrounded by friends from my senior class. Many of those guys will be lifelong friends to me. The coaches and teachers were great at Arlington. It seems like I was connected as well with the adults that surrounded me. That support was crucial in my decision to play football in college.