LEANDER, Texas -- Other than missing out on numerous in-state defensive backs, the major theme for the Texas Longhorns in the 2014 class has been lost head-to-head battles against the Texas A&M Aggies for prospects coveted by both schools.
However, one of the victories for the 'Horns came in the recruitment of Houston (Texas) Cy Falls linebacker Otaro Alaka, who spoke with SB Nation Recruiting about his decision at the Texas 7on7 State Championship late last week.
"I chose Texas because of the balance between the academic program and the football program," said the 6'3, 210-pound linebacker, who plans to major in business or medicine.
A consensus four-star prospect ranked among the top 30 players in the state of Texas for the 2014 class, Alaka chose the 'Horns over the Aggies and a number of other offers that included Arkansas, Cal, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Ole Miss, among others.
On the football side, Alaka said that the coaches, facilities, and defensive scheme were all factors as well. A rangy outside linebacker who said that he feels his versatility to rush the passer and defend in coverage set him apart, Alaka denied that he saw the Big 12 as a better fit than the SEC -- "that wasn't really a decision point when I committed," he said.
"I really clicked with the coaches," Alaka said when asked about another difference between the two schools.
At a June camp, Alaka had a chance to work with Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz for the first time. The former teammate of 2013 Longhorns signee Jacorey Warrick, a slot receiver, said that he enjoyed working with the "intense" Diaz, who gave him positive feedback and said that he's excited about getting Alaka to Texas.
And while the Aggies are no longer seriously pursuing Alaka -- just sending him letters -- the Cy Falls product did say that LSU, Cal, TCU and UCLA all continue to recruit him.
Are they making any inroads?
"I'm still solid to Texas," he said.