The Longhorns' already strong linebacking corps was boosted this spring when Texas found out that Tevin Jackson passed the NCAA Clearinghouse. Jackson gives the Longhorns 10 scholarship linebackers, eight of whom are sophomores or younger. Keenan Robinson and Emmanuel Acho are the seniors, and excellent players. But there's plenty of young talent ready to step in, like Jordan Hicks, Demarco Cobbs and incoming freshman Steve Edmond. Fellow freshman Kendall Thompson can play inside or out, while Patrick Nkwopara, Aaron Benson and Jackson are all outside types. Chet Moss showed some nice things in the spring after enrolling early.
The Longhorns could use some extra bodies here, especially another player to man the inside with Edmond and Moss. A rangy pass defender would be another major plus, while Texas could always use another person or two in case of attrition or a player like Thompson moving down to defensive end.
Mission accomplished. Texas's second commitment of the 2012 class was Alex De La Torre, an underrated middle linebacker with a quick mind and thud in his pads. He's somewhat underestimated as an athlete, and is an exceptional leader. Then, Texas landed an elite outside player in Peter Jinkens, one of the best run-and-bend athletes in this linebacker class. He's still somewhat raw, but you can't teach his lengthy frame and wonderful athleticism. His versatility will make him especially valued on Manny Diaz's defense. Finally, the Longhorns added Timothy Cole. Cole has the ability to play both inside and out, has sideline-to-sideline range and isn't afraid to put a lick on the ballcarrier.
De La Torre's intangibles lend to his selection over a more prodigious talent in the middle. There's nothing not to like about the outside pairing of Jinkens and Cole. Jinkens has one of the highest ceilings of any linebacker in the class, while Cole is solid and versatile enough to be somewhat bust-proof. Both are top-15 outside linebackers according to Scout.com, while De La Torre is the No. 11 middle linebacker. None of the three is a Jordan Hicks or Steve Edmond-type elite player, but all three have the potential to be excellent Longhorns.