The Longhorns football program picked up a commitment Monday night from one of the state’s top defenders in the 2014 recruiting class — Otero Alaka, a rangy linebacker from Houston Cypress Falls.
In picking Texas over Texas A&M, Alaka becomes the Longhorns’ 12th official pledge for next year. He ranks 21st on the American-Statesman’s Fabulous 55 for 2014, as compiled by Hookem.com, the newspaper’s Internet partner. The 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pounder is rated as the No. 19 outside linebacker in the country in a composite average of the national recruiting sites.
The Longhorns have “always been good, and I’ve always been a fan,” Alaka told Hookem. “It looks like that’s going to be the place that I can play the quickest, too.
“It seems like they’re always a contender,” he added. “They have a great tradition of that. Plus, they have great academics, which is a big deal for me. And they’re close to home.”
Alaka is the second linebacker to commit to Texas for 2014, joining Cameron Hampton of Dallas Carter.
Alaka had scholarship offers from numerous programs, including LSU, Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska and A&M, but the Longhorns have long been considered to have the inside track. Alaka attended Texas’ second junior day Feb. 23 and received his scholarship offer two days later. He visited A&M last weekend.
Texas also is the top choice of another 2014 defensive prospect — tackle Courtney Garnett of New Orleans. The product of St. Augustine High School told Hookem on Sunday that he wants to attend Texas, but he has yet to talk to head coach Mack Brown.
If Garnett’s pledge becomes “official,” or at least as official as any nonbinding commitment can be, he would be Texas’ fourth defensive line acquisition for 2014 after the Longhorns didn’t sign any in the 2013 class.
“I think (Texas is) the best fit for me,” the 6-2, 285-pound Garnett, one of four St. Augustine prospects with scholarship offers from UT, told Hookem. “I’ve been other places, and I’ve gone through the process. With Texas and (defensive tackles) Coach Bo (Davis), I feel it’s the best fit for me.”