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Longhorn Nate Boyer: Big 12 Sportsman of The Year

Boyer is named Co-Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year. The 4th Longhorn to earn the honor.

Tom Pennington

While we all celebrate the joyful, but ultimately inconsequential, bread and circus of college athletics, Texas Longhorn football walk-on Nate Boyer is handling other tasks like defending the free world, preserving civilization, and fighting for the country.

All while perfecting his other passion: winging a tight spiral between his legs from 40 feet into the eye of a dragonfly in front of 100,000 screaming fans.

For those reasons, and many others, Nate Boyer was named the Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year.

Moved by the attacks on 9-11, Nate joined the military at age 20, busted his ass to earn selection to the United States Special Forces (he's a Green Beret), and served the country in a number of operating theaters - some known - Darfur, Iraq, Israel; others less so - earning a Bronze Star along the way.

While overseas, Nate became enamored of Texas Football, vowed to play for the Longhorns despite not having played high school football (his high school didn't field a team - California, man), and he eventually walked on at Texas at age 29 while earning his degree as a full-time student, still serving out his commitment in the reserves. After an assessment of his physical gifts, the 5-11, 190 pound Boyer decided that deep snapper was his best chance to get on the field and he spent his free time on deployment whipping footballs to puzzled fellow soldiers.

Boyer has since earned a scholarship, along with the affectionate nicknames Grandpa, America, Army, and Old Man from his teammates, and was selected to the Academic All-Big 12 Team after earning a 4.0 GPA (he graduated from Texas in May, missing his commencement while on active duty overseas).

Not surprisingly, when he was awarded the 2012 Disney Spirit Award at the Home Depot College Football Awards Banquet, he used his guest ticket allotment not for family or friends, but to bring soldiers from the Wounded Warriors Project to the ceremony.

And it that's not enough for you to like him, his favorite show is Eastbound and Down.

#37 will be proudly carrying the American flag in our home opener against New Mexico State.

Please do Nate, us, and yourself a favor by dropping Boyer a line on his Twitter account and offering your congratulations and thanks. For his service. For his sacrifice. For his generosity of spirit. For living outside the wire. For standing guard so that we can lead our lives and enjoy a college football Saturday.

Thank you, Nate. Hook 'em.