Over the course of the past two weeks, Texas A&M's linebacker corps has received both good and bad news—so which would you like to hear first?
The Bad: Just over a week ago, Texas' third-ranked outside linebacker and long-time A&M commit Hoza Scott was forced to enroll early in Kilgore Junior College due to academic shortfalls, essentially forfeiting his scholarship offer to a rising Aggie football program. The news, while expected, still hit fans hard, as now an extremely strong 2014 class was without a signature linebacker commit, a position in dire need by a struggling A&M defense.
The Good: Less than a week later on Sunday, Jan. 26, the state's top outside linebacker and Texas commit Otaro Alaka flipped from the Longhorns to the rival Aggies, more than filling Scott's absence while adding another strong recruiting headline to head coach Kevin Sumlin's long list of accomplishments.
The Effect: Following Texas A&M's bold realignment into the Southeastern Conference two seasons ago, Sumlin and his staff of recruiters have shifted the balance of power in the state toward the maroon and white. With Johnny Manziel and his Heisman-worthy season acting as a catalyst, A&M has surged into the role of the state's top power, replacing longtime stronghold Texas.
And while Mack Brown's recent retirement, the Aggies' on-the-field success and the national acclaim attached to Manziel has generated serious momentum for A&M, Otaro Alaka's flip from the Longhorns essentially marks a major milestone in the power exchange.
The 4-star outside linebacker adds immediate skills to a defense lacking as of late, and fills in the gaping hole Hoza Scott's forced decommitment created. Currently, A&M sits as the third-ranked class in the country, per 247sports.com, and his addition was key in keeping the Aggies in the Top Five.
Is Alaka A&M's top prospect? Not at all, but his symbolic flip from Austin to College Station provides just one more reason the Aggies have truly taken over Texas. In fact, A&M owns five of the state's top 20 athletes, including the nation's No. 2 overall recruit, Myles Garrett.
Five or so years ago, the tables would have been turned, but with Sumlin at the reins, the Aggies are poised to retain power for the foreseeable future.