Monday, April 8, 2013
OLB Otaro Alaka picks Horns over Aggies
By Max Olson
A seemingly easy decision quickly became a difficult one for Otaro Alaka this spring, but in the end he went with the school he has always loved.
The Houston Cypress Falls outside linebacker committed to Texas on Monday night, choosing the Longhorns over Texas A&M. He became commit No. 13 in Texas’ 2014 recruiting class and the Longhorns' fifth pledge in the past 10 days.
Class of 2014 LB Otaro Alaka went to the same school as Texas receiver signee Jacorey Warrick.
"It feels good to be a Longhorn," Alaka said. "I just want to thank God first of all and just thank my coaches, parents and teammates for everything. I just felt like I was ready to pick Texas. They have a great atmosphere, great people and great academics. I just really liked their coaches."
A 6-foot-3, 205-pound prospect, he also had offers from LSU, Oklahoma, Florida State, Michigan and Baylor, among others. All along, though, it had been a two-school race.
When his recruiting process began, Alaka said he’d commit to Texas if he got an offer from the program. He did, but nearly 20 other programs also offered.
He held off making a decision when UT offered Feb. 25 after his junior day visit. Alaka took two visits to Texas A&M -- including this weekend for the Aggies’ Friday Night Lights scrimmage -- and made a return trip for the Texas spring game.
"[Friday Night Lights] did kind of did make it tougher, but really, I just knew," Alaka said. "I kind of knew since Sunday. A&M is a really good school as well. I don't think I could've gone wrong with either of them."
He was planning to visit LSU this weekend and potentially make a decision at the end of April, but instead he met with Cy Falls coach Kirk Eaton on Monday to discuss a commitment.
He called Texas defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Manny Diaz to make his pledge that night, and Diaz posted "#HOOKEM!!!" on his Twitter account shortly after Alaka gave him the good news.
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The addition of Houston linebacker Otaro Alaka is a big head-to-head recruiting win for Texas vs. Texas A&M, writes William Wilkerson. Blog
"He sounded really excited and he was really happy for me," Alaka said. "It just feels great to be in this class. I've got to keep on working hard and try to do a little recruiting myself now."
Alaka is Texas’ second linebacker pledge, joining ESPN Watch List prospect Cameron Hampton (Dallas/Carter). Texas landed one of Alaka’s Cy Falls teammates for its 2013 class, ESPN 150 receiver Jacorey Warrick.
Texas could complete its linebacker haul for the 2014 class this week. Andrew Beck (Tampa, Fla./Plant) is expected to announce his decision Tuesday, and the Longhorns appear to be a finalist after hosting him on a visit this spring.
Texas is also pursuing Zach Whitley Jr. (Houston/North Shore) for one of its linebacker spots, and he visited with the coaching staff in late March.
Alaka’s pledge continues some impressive recruiting momentum for the Longhorns. Defensive tackle Courtney Garnett (New Orleans/St. Augustine) committed Sunday. Texas signed only 15 for its 2013 class but already has a combined 16 recruits committed for 2014 and 2015.