Commitment Analysis: Dalton Santos

Texas went into the final recruiting weekend with its focus on three final visitors. And after the commitment of Dalton Santos Sunday, Texas succeeded in landing two of those three.

Somewhat unlike Johnson, Dalton Santos is pure luxury. He's crown molding along the edges of a room, something that isn't necessarily a need, but that classes the whole place up.

Of course the irony in all of that is referring to Santos, a throwback middle linebacker who plays viciously behind his pads, as a pieces of exquisite design. As Scout.com recruiting analyst Bill Greene said when he saw Santos at Under Armour, "I think that guy is the type of guy who will tear your face off."

He'll fit well with the bevy of young talent Texas has assembled in the linebacking corps. 2011 brought Longhorns Steve Edmond, Tevin Jackson and Kendall Thompson (Chet Moss was in that mix, but moved to fullback). And the 2012 class was stocked with three more linebackers in Alex De La Torre, Peter Jinkens and Timothy Cole. And if you went back even one year further, to 2010, you'd get great talents and likely 2012 starters Jordan Hicks and Demarco Cobbs, and a depth-producer in Aaron Benson.

That's a three-deep (not counting Santos) just over the past three classes, and includes a boffo starting lineup of non-seniors (Hicks and Cobbs on the outside and Edmond in the middle), another potential superstar in Jinkens and versatile talents like Jackson, Thomson, De La Torre and Cole who can plug in where needed. So like I said, Santos wasn't necessarily a need.

But there's nothing wrong with wanting him. He absolutely will have an ability to win the spot behind Edmond, projecting as a stout run defender and somebody who destroys people when playing downhill (as Manny Diaz's defense calls for). If Santos has a fault, it's that he isn't a totally fluid player in space. But at the same time, Texas has those kinds of athletes at other spots and can protect him on passing downs.

Then there's the simple fact that Santos is a big player (6-2 240) who can run. That opens up worlds of possibilities, even if he doesn't work out as the man in the middle. He could play defensive end, or flop over to help the Longhorns at fullback.

So maybe middle linebacker wasn't a pressing need at this point. But in Santos, Texas landed one heck of a luxury, one of the country's top middle linebacker prospects and one of the state's top remaining players.


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