Alex De La Torre: 2012 Texas Recruiting Spotlight

Vitals

Name: Alex De La Torre

Position: Linebacker

Height: 6-0

Weight: 220

Speed: 5.03 40-yard dash

High School: Denton Ryan

Rating (Rivals): Three out of five (5.7)

*Early enrollee

Offers

  • Texas (committed 2/12/2012)
  • Auburn
  • Baylor
  • Notre Dame
  • Houston
  • SMU
  • TCU

Overview/recruitment

Like many early takes for Texas, there was never much drama about how things were going to go with Texas and Denton Ryan linebacker Alex De La Torre, whose father, a Ryan assistant, apparently has some ties to the program, despite playing his collegiate football at SFA. De La Torre was approved for an offer early and was told on September 1st of his junior year, the first day that offers can officially go out for the junior class, that he would receive one from Texas.

So it was met with no particular surprise when DLT came to Austin for the first Texas Junior Day one day early, received his offer, and joined Arizona quarterback Connor Brewer as the first two commits of the 2012 Texas class.

DLT on his commitment ($):

I've been wanting to go to Texas for a long time and just to hear Coach Brown say we want you to be here and asking if I wanted to be there, it was a done deal from there. On September 1, he talked to my dad and told him he wanted me to be there, so it's been pretty set in stone from there. It just needed to be official like today.

Instant analysis following his commitment:

It's a familiar story for a lot of Texas commits. Lifelong Longhorn fans, there's little wasted time between the official offer and the verbal commitment. A lot of times, the elapsed time is about as long as it takes a heart to beat.

About the surest of sure things entering the weekend, when news broke on Friday that the Denton Ryan linebacker was heading to Austin on Saturday, whatever sliver of doubt might have existed about him receiving an offer and committing was gone. The day before JD1 begins officially is often a day used by Mack Brown to bring in top targest or surefire commitments and DLT falls easily into the latter category.

If DLT isn't a Will Muschamp guy, he's certainly a Mack Brown guy. Manny Diaz may just be along for the ride.

DLT's commitment broke on Saturday afternoon, just as the Texas Baylor basketball game was tipping off. He was the second commitment in the class, following Chaparral (AZ) quarterback Connor Brewer's commitment last Monday. Later on Saturday, Bishop Dunne defensive tackle Alex Norman gave his verbal commitment to Texas.

In terms of the class overall, DLT could well be a Chet Moss type in terms of bringing other prospects into the fold given his long-time commitment and strong desire to be a Longhorn. He's also the first linebacker commitment in a year when the Longhorns may only take one or two more linebackers in a deep year in state.

As far as the wider perspective with Denton Ryan, it's a school that produces some talent and it can't hurt to have DLT on board with Texas pursuing teammate Mario Edwards. However, Edwards transferred from Prosper prior to the his junior season, so he and DLT have only been teammates for one year. Fellow linebacker Jordan Richmond is on the fringes of the radar.

Scouting Report

Alex De La Torre Highlights (via 247SportsStudio)


Instant scouting report:

First of all, it's hard to argue with DLT's production the last two years. As a sophomore in a strong district, DLT racked up 156 tackles, 25 TFLs, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles. In 2010, despite missing four games DLT registered 124 tackles, 24 TFLs, five sacks, a pass break up, and a forced fumble. Again, hard to argue with those numbers or the competition it came against. Ryan also made it to the state finals before losing to Lake Travis and as the son of a Ryan assistant coach, DLT is known as a smart, tough football player.

Given his fast commitment and swirling questions about whether he's a questionable take or not, the easy comparison is Chet Moss, another quick commitment who wasn't ranked among the top players in the state. The big difference between DLT and Moss is that Moss is taller and probably tests out better athletically. Not to mention the fact that Moss was a proven playmaker his junior season, forcing and recovering quite a few fumbles.

A better comparison for DLT might be Blake Gideon. Like Gideon, DLT doesn't have great size for his position -- he's listed at 6-2, 220 pounds in some places and 210 in others. A more relevant consideration is that unless DLT has grown in the last year, he's a verified 6-0 tall. As a linebacker. Like Gideon, DLT also doesn't have particularly good speed or quickness for his position. Like Gideon, DLT's highlight film from his junior year shows a propensity to lead with his shoulder on tackles instead of wrapping up. Pet peeve alert! Like Gideon, DLT also gets in on a lot of tackles late on his highlight film, jumping on piles more than being the first defender to the ball.

The problem here is that there is nothing that pops physically with DLT. Attempts to consider some positive physical attributes that he brings to the table basically come up dry. In fact, I'm not really convinced he's among the five most physically gifted linebackers in the class and if that's the case, why offer?

In terms of the nuts and bolts of where DLT will play, he was a weakside linebacker at Ryan, but Manny Diaz told DLT and his father that he could end up at Mike, though it's hard to predict right now. Considering how little Texas has used a middle linebacker recently and the continued prevalence of the spread, that may be a nice way of calling him a situational player. DLT certainly doesn't have ideal size and strength for the Mike.

And unless things have changed in the last six months or so, DLT combines his unimpressive height and quickness with an unimpressive physique that features little muscle tone. Jeremiah Tshimanga he is not. Besides having good top-end speed and short-area burst, having some strength is a positive attribute for a linebacker, right? Someone who will have to win blocks against offensive linemen?

So, anyway, back to the positives. Lots of tackles, a reputation for toughness and intelligence, his pedigree as the son of an assistant coach, and...

Well, he loves the Longhorns.

ESPN evaluation ($):

De La Torre is a very active and intelligent linebacker. Does a great job getting into position to make plays vs. the pass and run. Has the size and athleticism for the inside linebacker position at the major level of competition. The sound wrap tackling skills he displays should be very effective as a special teams coverage player. This prospect shows the flexibility, balance and agility necessary to play in space; demonstrates the quick key and read recognition skills which allow him to get a good jump on the ball when defending the run and pass. Flashes the playing strength to take on and defeat blockers at the point of attack but also his foot quickness and instincts allow him to avoid contact and beat blockers to the ball off the edge and to the outside. This guy is very active, showing the ability to move through traffic when pursuing the football. We like his ability to keep leverage on plays away; is rarely out of position and doesn't overrun the football, demonstrating proper angles of pursuit. His good athleticism and underneath route awareness allows him to get good immediate depth and into throwing lanes; does a good getting his eyes on the QB while demonstrating the ability to break on balls thrown in his area; his athleticism indicates the potential to play man coverage if game planned carefully. We see a player with an excellent motor and high level of intensity; does a great job getting to the football, playing with balance and making plays in space. Although De La Torre may not be an immediate impact starter at the major level of competition we feel his overall skill level coupled with a great feel for the game could get him early defensive playing time and special teams work.

Three things are immensely concerning about DLT: he's undersized, he has no muscle definition in any available pictures, and he's slow. As a result, despite all that production in high school, he's barely a top-50 player in that state by anyone's estimation and is probably not among the best six or seven linebackers in the 2012 class in Texas. But he's smart, productive, blah blah blah intangibles.

I don't really care to say much else about him, except to point fans to the overly glowing evaluation above and to watch his film provided above. He won't be asked to contribute early at linebacker and could provide some solid special teams play throughout this career, it's just hard to see him as more than valuable depth. Even if that's all that he provides, it may be a scholarship well used. Maybe.

There's also a chance that DLT could transition to fullback at Texas, where he played at times at Denton Ryan. With the significant void there caused by the departure of Cody Johnson, the Ryan product could use his toughness at a position where his lack of top-end speed would not be such an issue. It's not a possibility that has been mentioned by the staff, but it is something to keep in mind.

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