ESPN college football analyst Emmanuel Acho is playing out his contract and is in talks with other networks, said sources. The 29-year old Acho is a frequent commentator on the New York-based morning show “Get Up,” where he talks college and pro football plus other sports
Acho has held preliminary talks with Fox Sports, which has been revamping the cast of “First Things First,” its weekday morning show on FS1. But no deal is imminent, said sources.
ESPN and Fox both declined to comment. Acho could not be reached.
The Dallas native was an All-American linebacker for the University of Texas. He played four seasons in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns before entering the TV business as a contributor to the Longhorn Network in 2016.
In 2018, ESPN shifted him to ESPN2, where he worked on Saturday college football coverage with Jim Mora and Chris Cotter. He also appeared on “College Football Live.”
During ESPN’s MegaCast coverage of the College Football Playoff Semifinals on Dec. 28, he co-headlined the “ESPN Film Room” presentation on ESPNU.
Gerry Matalon, the former ESPN executive in charge of talent and development turned founder of Matalon Media, served as a TV coach for Acho when he was transitioning into media via the NFL Player Engagement program.
“Manny is an intelligent and opinionated speaker whose commentaries are enhanced by his vocal and visual delivery,” Matalon said. “Add to this his competitive nature and lust for vigorous intellectual conversation. It all makes for a highly engaging performer.”
Younger ESPN personalities like Maria Taylor, Laura Rutledge, and Dan Orlovsky have become more high profile since guesting on Mike Greenberg’s “Get Up” morning show on ESPN. The show has also helped raise the profile of NFL Insiders such as Josina Anderson and Dan Graziano and football analysts Marcus Spears, Damien Woody, and Ryan Clark.
Serving an apprenticeship on ESPN’s flagship morning show provides “good exposure,” said Matalon. “Get Up” highlights get shared across social media and the sports industry. That leads to more career opportunities.