In the ongoing struggle for recruiting supremacy in the Lone Star State, the Texas Longhorns scored a major victory over the Texas A&M Aggies when four-star Houston (Texas) Cy Falls linebacker Otaro Alaka ended his recruitment on Monday evening in favor of the Longhorns:
JUST COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS! #Hookem— Dexter Johnson™ (@OtaroAlaka) April 9, 2013
Taking something of a page out of Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin's playbook, a tweet from Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz just as Alaka was expected to announce had Longhorn fans and analysts buzzing minutes before the decision was made public:
#HOOKEM!!!— Manny Diaz (@UT_MannyDiaz) April 9, 2013
Sumlin, of course, likes to tweet out "YESSIR" when he picks up a new pledge.
A 6'3, 210-pound outside linebacker who is ranked as a consensus four-star prospect by the services, Alaka is a top-20 outside linebacker nationally and a top-25 player in the state of Texas by the 247Sports Composite rankings. With a strong senior season, it's possible that he could move into the top 150 nationally.
Prior to his commitment, he held offers from Arkansas, Baylor, California, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Texas Tech, and a handful of others.
However, the Aggies and Longhorns had been well out in front of the other schools for more than a month after Alaka visited each for Junior Days and during spring practice, taking in the Texas Orange-White game and the Friday Night Lights event last weekend at Texas A&M.
Alaka had declared Texas the leader back in early March after he received an offer following the second Junior Day and, though Texas A&M was able to make up some ground after he visited shortly thereafter, it was never enough to truly displace the 'Horns atop his list.
Former teammate Jacory Warrick, a 2013 wide receiver who will enroll at Texas in June, may have helped convinced Alaka that Texas was the right fit for him. Alaka told ESPN's Max Olson that he preferred the atmosphere and campus in Austin.
While Alaka certainly has the pure physical talent and athleticism to play in the SEC, as a smaller, rangier linebacker, the Big 12 seems like a perfect fit because of his ability to play the run and to drop into coverage; the latter evidenced on his junior highlight film where he appeared to pattern match the routes run by the inside and outside receivers, who were crossing in an attempt to confuse him, as he finished the play with an interception.
Against the run, Alaka can win battles against tight ends and H-backs who attempt to block him on the edge, but if he ends up playing inside the box in college, he may need some work to have success against offensive linemen at the second level. Still, he's a strong open-field tackler with the first-step explosiveness to get into the backfield quickly from the edge.
The Cy Falls product is the 13th commitment in the 2014 Texas class and the second in the last two days, joining New Orleans (La.) Augustine defensive tackle Courtney Garnett, who committed on Sunday evening. Alaka is also the second linebacker in the class for Texas, along with Dallas (Texas) Carter linebacker Cameron Hampton, who committed back in February.
OTARO ALAKA #42 OLB JUNIOR HIGHLIGHTS (via West Made)
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