Texas' loss became Texas A&M's gain late Sunday evening, as 4-star outside linebacker Otaro Alaka (Cypress Falls) flipped his longtime commitment from the Longhorns into one for Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies.
Alaka tweeted the news himself:
I'd like to thank Coach Strong and UT for the offer but Ive decided to decommit from the university of Texas and commit to Texas A&M! #gigem— Otaro Alaka™ (@OtaroAlaka) January 27, 2014
Per the 247Sports composite rankings, Alaka is the No. 163 overall player, the No. 11 overall outside linebacker and the No. 18 prospect in the state of Texas. At 6'3'', 210 pounds, he has the frame and physical profile of a quick contributor at the FBS level, and his instincts are developed beyond his age.
For Charlie Strong and Texas, this loss is a big one, as Alaka was the third-highest remaining recruit in their class. However, the Jan. 16 signing of fellow outside linebacker Edwin Freeman, the No. 14 outside linebacker in the country, gives them a buffer to survive this defection.
Texas also has a pair of 3-star linebackers—Cameron Hampton and Andrew Beck—in tow, so it's not like the class was unprepared for this news. Still, according to Max Olson of ESPN.com, Alaka is the fifth player to decommit from Texas after the firing of former head coach Mack Brown.
For Texas A&M, Alaka is an important get for many reasons. A roster in need of much defensive help has added some in 2014, but the Aggies' highly rated class is still more offensive than not. Despite ranking third in the 247Sports team rankings, A&M had only one other linebacker committed before Alaka.
That other linebacker is Gilmer product Josh Walker—another 4-star recruit, albeit one who is slightly less heralded than Alaka. At the very least, Sumlin and Co. will be hoping for one of those two to step up and become a contributor on special teams next season. Ideally, one would be able to find some time on defense as well.
At this early stage, Alaka appears to be the better choice.
Follow Brian Leigh on Twitter: @BLeighDAT