VHS Viper football player turns UT Longhorn

A photo from last season when Kartik Akkihal played on the Vandegrift Viper football team. Akkihal family L-R
Shiva (dad) Kartik (Vandegrift 2018 grad), Priya (mom) and Gita (sister).

By ERIN SEITZLER, Four Points News

Vandegrift Viper 2018 graduate Kartik Akkihal is playing Longhorn football this season for the University of Texas.

“The program is great and the family atmosphere is like nothing I’ve ever been a part of,” said Akkihal, whose family lives in Steiner Ranch. “They really go above and beyond to make sure it’s a family, and it starts at the top with Coach Herman.”

As a first-year wide receiver walk-on, Akkihal said the experience has been very positive.

“Being a walk-on isn’t as bad as it might sound. You’re not a punching bag and you get all the perks that everyone else does too,” he said. “We are just as involved with the team as anyone else is. Once you get up on campus, it’s an even playing field: if you prove you can play, you will.”

Akkihal said the schedule for football players in season is crazy. The football program assures that the boys have any treatment and resources they need, like tutoring with the tough classes. Additionally, all meals are also mandatory.

In general, the day in the life of a UT football player goes like this: weight lifting at 6:15 a.m., breakfast, lunch and classes from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., meetings around 2:30 p.m., practice from around 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., dinner around 7 p.m., then after that, study hall and/or tutoring.

Akkihal loves the UT campus, and the football program.

“Saturday’s are by far the best day of the week, but it’s really good on a day-to-day basis also, no matter what you’re interested in,” he said.  

Akkihal started flag football when he was just 5-years-old. One of his major influences was his coach from 3rd grade onward named Ric Riddle.

I’m still in contact with him and am super lucky to have had him as a coach,” Akkihal said.

He started tackle football in 7th grade at Canyon Ridge Middle School. Then at the end of his senior season, Akkihal and his coaches decided to take his football pursuance to the next level.

“I talked about playing at the next level with my WR coach Coach Adams, and both my trainers Scott Woolwine and Larry Weathers,” he said. “Once I decided this was something I wanted to pursue, I got in contact with Bryan Carrington, the recruiting director at UT and sent him my film.”

Although it took some time to get into contact with Carrington, he let Akkihal know within a day that he was on the Longhorn team.

When asked how his family feels about this accomplishment of playing at the next level, he said that they’re all really excited and have always been supportive.

Akkihal’s father, Shiva, went to UT, and his mother, Priya worked there, “ so it’s even more special to them.”  

Kartik Akkihal of Steiner Ranch is a fi rst-year, University of Texas Longhorn wide receiver who graduated from Vandegrift in 2018.

First-year, University of Texas wide receiver Kartik Akkihal is a Vandegrift 2018 graduate from Steiner Ranch.