De La Torre Working Hard

Denton Ryan's season ended abruptly a year ago, and Texas linebacker Alex De La Torre said the team is taking steps this spring to ensure that doesn't happen again.

"Coming off this past season with one loss in the state championship game, there's definitely something to work for," De La Torre said. "We have a bunch of guys buying in, so it's been a great spring.

"We had a pretty decent year until that last game," De La Torre said. "We want to shut people out. We want to be dominating."

De La Torre said he can do his part by continuing to hit the film room.

"My goal is to study enough film so that I see everything exactly like I should on the field," De La Torre said. "I want to study so much that I want to know what they're running before they run it. And I want to get better at all the aspects of being a linebacker. I feel like I'm a leader, and I want to lead this defense to be as good as we can be. I need to be a role model for the younger guys."

He needs to do it soon, as he won't be around next spring. De La Torre plans to enroll early at Texas, and he will take an English class this summer to ensure he'll get there in January. Fellow commits Connor Brewer and Cayleb Jones also plan to enroll early.

De La Torre said he talks with those two, and all of Texas's commits, on a regular basis. He said he enjoyed catching up with several of those players this spring.

"We're definitely all talking and on the same page," De La Torre said. "That's how it should be. Coach (Mack) Brown is recruiting the best guys out there, the guys who know how to win and who can do our best to take Texas to a national championship.

"We're all willing to work hard. All of us have those values," De La Torre said. "So of course, there's a family-like atmosphere. We've all bonded, and we're ready to get down there and get to work."

De La Torre didn't take long to make his decision to join the Longhorns, committing immediately after he was offered.

"Texas is just my dream school," De La Torre said. "Even before the coaches contacted me, I was always a Texas fan. The main reason is just the outstanding character of the whole coaching staff and the people around the program. Everybody's working together.

"When I come down to Austin, I picture myself going home, to my second home," De La Torre said. "I love Coach Brown, I love Coach (Manny) Diaz and all the new coaches."

With a weight that has ranged between 225 and 227 pounds, and a pre-spring 40-yard dash time of 4.62, De La Torre has some versatility in terms of whether the coaches would choose to play him in the middle or on the outside.

"As of right now, they're focused on this season and the guys already there," De La Torre said. "I'm not in any rush. Whenever the time comes to sit around and talk about where I'll be, I'll play wherever they want me. I'll do whatever it takes to get us a championship."

De La Torre also benched 300 pounds and squatted 540 this spring. He said he thinks he'll turn in a faster 40 time at the end of the spring, after spending two months at the Michael Johnson Speed Camp.

"I'm pretty curious to see what it is now," De La Torre said.

While De La Torre is an excellent prospect in his own right, he also plays alongside arguably the top player in the state in defensive end Mario Edwards. But De La Torre said he hasn't been putting in any pressure on the five-star recruit (and Florida State commitment) to join him in Austin.

"I don't really talk to Mario about recruiting stuff," De La Torre said. "We're good friends, and we just talk about normal things. I wish him luck, and he's certainly welcome to come with me to Texas if he chooses.

"As for pressuring, I know other people are (pushing him to Texas), but I never talk to him about it," De La Torre said. "It's tough for him because he's a five-star guy, so everybody wants to talk to him about it all the time."

In that respect, De La Torre has flown somewhat under the radar, not that it bothers him.

"I'm one of those people who just tends to my business," De La Torre said. "I would rather be underrated than overrated.

"If I am underrated, that's fine. I just have something to prove," De La Torre said. "I'm just going to be the best player I can be, and find a way to benefit Texas."

De La Torre said that benefit would likely come from his in-game aptitude.

"I'm definitely a coach's kid," De La Torre said. "I'm a studier. I know plays. I have the great instincts. I'm very dependable, and when I see the ball, I'm going. If there's a lineman in my way, I'm pretty good with my hands, and I have pretty good closing speed, and instincts."

De La Torre said he's chomping at the bit for his senior year to start.

"I've been ready since last season ended," De La Torre said. "Even though we're not in pads this spring, I wish we were.

"I strive for big goals, and I want to be the best player in Class 4A and in the state of Texas," De La Torre said. "I'm just ready to go, man."

De La Torre left with a final note for Longhorn fans.

"I'm glad to be a Longhorn, and I'm blessed to be in the situation I'm in," De La Torre said. "Watch out, because the 2012 class of Longhorns are coming."

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