When a coaching change takes place, there are usually consequences to a program's recruiting class. Texas A&M learned about this in 2011, and Texas is learning it now.
Texas released Mack Brown and Texas A&M seized the moment by flipping Zaycoven Henderson. Over the weekend of Jan. 17 the Aggies had the opportunity to do the same with long-time Texas linebacker commit Otaro Alaka of Cy-Falls.
Mission accomplished. One week after Alaka's official visit in Aggieland the four-star linebacker de-committed from Texas and flipped to A&M.
"They canceled school on Friday and that gave him a chance to get away from everybody, even school," said Coach Kirk Eaton, Alaka's coach. "We talked on that day and he said he was going to take 24 hours and just let everything get quiet. He said he was gong to trust his gut. You can't go wrong. It was a win-win situation."
After a weekend of confirming what his heart was telling him the Rivals250 prospect was ready to put an end to his recruiting process.
"He called me about six o'clock (Sunday) and he said, 'Coach A&M is the place right now.' That was that," said Coach Eaton. "We said lets do the right thing and call those universities so they can move forward in the recruiting process. To (Alaka's) credit I told him I would call Texas for him and tell them he was gong to de-commit, and he said, 'No, coach, I need to do it.' That is just the kind of kid he is."
At the end of the day the Aggies picked up not just a football player with a bright future athletically and academically, but one with a high level of maturity.
"At the end of the day, this is an 18-year-old kid who is just trying to do the right thing," said Coach Eaton. "I hope that the Longhorn nation can understand that. This is a kid who has done everything right to put himself in this position."
For Alaka there is a bit of relief setting in now after a weekend of what seemed to be filled with more confirmation rather than deliberation after how he decided to forego one more visit (unofficial) to Texas.
"That caught me by surprise," said Coach Eaton. "He did not have much time with Coach (Charlie) Strong and his staff…I think at that point he knew what he wanted. I was shocked, but looking back he was probably already leaning that way."
Sunday proved to be prosperous for the Aggies with the addition of 2014 four-star linebacker Otaro Alaka, and 2015 offensive lineman Trevor Elbert. After all, in the recruiting world, it's not too early to start thinking about next year.