Commitment Analysis: Otaro Alaka

Otaro Alaka picked Texas Monday night, becoming the Longhorns' 13th commitment in the Class of 2014.

Otaro Alaka makes Texas's seventh commitment since March 29, with a whopping five of those commits coming in the defensive front seven. In addition to Alaka, Texas earned pledges from 2014 defensive linemen Jake McMillon, Trey Lealaimatafao and Courtney Garnett, along with 2015 defensive tackle Bryce English. Add in 2014 center Terrell Cuney and 2015 cornerback Jalen Campbell, and Texas has established some recruiting momentum across multiple classes.

Some of that momentum is expressed by Texas finally winning an in-state battle over Kevin Sumlin and Texas A&M. The Aggies have come out on top for Texas offers Nick Harvey, DeShawn Washington and Dylan Sumner-Gardner, as well as top linebackers Hoza Scott and Josh Walker, and are considered a favorite for Zach Whitley's services. So the Longhorns couldn't really afford to be swept on their top-choice linebackers, not with five linebackers set to graduate following the 2014 season.

But that's the big-picture look. Turning more specifically to Alaka, the Longhorns are going to love a player with his frame, athleticism and versatility. Watching Alaka's film, those last two traits stand out the most. First, he's a player with tremendous straight-line speed who can wreck plays with his ability to close on the ball. And second, because of that speed, the Cy Falls coaches ask him to line up everywhere and do pretty much everything.

On Alaka's second highlight on the below clip, he plays a two-read zone a lot like what he'll do as an outside linebacker at Texas. He covers the slot, switches well when his man goes outside, runs with the receiver and gets an interception. Those kinds of cover skills come in handy in the Big 12, against the caliber of spread offenses that he'll face.

But he's also used as a disruptive run blitzer and pass-rusher, lining up at times in an almost wide-nine technique without his hand on the ground. And he balances those skills well. When he needs to be aggressive, he is. And when he needs to be more assignment-sound and patient, reading the quarterback's eyes, he can do that as well.

Alaka is a physical player, but he isn't a hugely explosive tackler. But he does a good job of playing with pads forward and wrapping up his targets so they don't get away. He's sound in that area, if unspectacular.

It's a pretty stacked year for linebackers this year, with Scott and Whitley probably a cut above the other options. After that, there's a pretty tight group that includes guys like Walker, Alaka, fellow Texas commitment Cameron Hampton and Edwin Freeman. Texas targeted all six players, hoping to get three-to-four. And with Alaka in tow, that goal is one step closer to reality.




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