Tuesday, January 7, 2014
ESPN 300 OLB Alaka setting up visits
By Max Olson
Otaro Alaka has already lost his recruiter once. He’s not ready to do it again.
The ESPN 300 outside linebacker from Houston Cypress Falls has been committed to Texas since April but admitted Tuesday he’s considering a decommitment depending on which assistants new coach Charlie Strong decides to retain.
“Texas is a really good, academically sound school and also a great football program,” he said. “But I don’t think it would really be smart of me to go to a place where coaches that recruited me aren’t there anymore.”
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound linebacker has scheduled an official visit to Texas A&M for Jan. 17 and said he’s hoping to take trips to LSU and Ole Miss before making a final decision.
He took his official visit to Texas in mid-December, on the weekend Mack Brown announced his resignation, and said he doesn’t see a need to get back on campus again. All Alaka cares about is meeting his new coaches, and he knows they’ll visit after the dead period ends.
Alaka’s first primary recruiter at Texas, Manny Diaz, was fired during the season. The defensive coordinator was replaced by Greg Robinson, who did build a solid relationship with Alaka in recent months.
With Strong expected to bring Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford with him to Texas, Alaka is concerned Robinson won’t be back. He’d like to see area recruiter Oscar Giles return as well.
“It’s really important,” he said. “If they do change the whole coaching staff, there would really be no one there that recruited me and they might not know what I can do. Making a relationship with them is pretty important.”
With those potential trips on the horizon, Alaka said it’s possible this process won’t end until signing day. He’s not looking to make a commitment to A&M or elsewhere without first meeting Strong and his new staff.
“I thought it was a great hire and he looks like a good coach,” Alaka said. “I would just like to meet him and see how he is first.”
Alaka has yet to hear from Strong but did watch Louisville’s Russell Athletic Bowl win over Miami last month and a few other Cardinals games. He’d like to hear from the new head man soon.
Alaka, the No. 182 prospect in the ESPN 300 and No. 11-ranked outside linebacker, said if he had to decide today the Longhorns would still be his leader. But he’s keeping an eye on the coaching carousel and hopes Robinson and Giles come back.
“Since I haven’t decommitted yet, it would still be Texas,” Alaka said. “But the way things are going, and if they do take out coach Robinson and replace him, I’ll probably have to talk to my dad about possibly decommitting.”