The Charlie Strong era for the Texas Longhorns now has another decommitment in the books, as Houston (Texas) Cypress Falls linebacker Otaro Alaka ended his pledge to the Horns and switched his commitment to the Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday evening:
I'd like to thank Coach Strong and UT for the offer but Ive decided to decommit from the university of Texas and commit to Texas A&M! #gigem— Otaro Alaka™ (@OtaroAlaka) January 27, 2014
The 6'3, 205-pounder had elected not to take an unofficial visit to Texas over the weekend after receiving in-home visits last week from Strong and Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin, along with two members of the A&M staff. An official visit planned by Alaka to LSU was also cancelled late last week.
A consensus four-star prospect, Alaka had originally chosen Texas over Texas A&M in April of 2013. The No. 11 outside linebacker nationally and the No. 18 prospect in the state of Texas, Alaka is also considered the No. 163 prospect in the country by the 247Sports Composite rankings. He also held offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Boise State, California, Colorado, Florida State, Iowa State, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, and Texas Tech.
While Alaka certainly has the pure physical talent and athleticism to play in the SEC, as a smaller, rangier linebacker, the Big 12 had seemed 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.
As a result, Alaka still projects as a potential difference-maker in the SEC for an A&M team that has already had to deal with the loss of high school star Hoza Scott due to academic issues. Along with Gilmer (Texas) linebacker Josh Walker, the two have a chance to combine as a formidable sideline-to-sideline linebacker duo for the Aggies in the future.
The 2014 Texas A&M recruiting class now sits at 21 pledges and ranks No. 3 nationally and No. 2 in the SEC in the 247Sports Composite team rankings.