Texas Longhorns football recruiting: Is the linebacker class complete?

Andrew Beck with his head coach at his announcement ceremoney - Big County Preps (YouTube)

The last three days have included three big linebacker commitments for the 'Horns.

Just two months ago, things looked rather dire for the Texas Longhorns at the linebacker position -- the 'Horns had missed out on two top targets in La Porte (Texas) star Hoza Scott and East Texas tough Gilmer (Texas) two-way threat Josh Walker.

The first Junior Day only produced one commitment, but it came at a need position, as Dallas Carter's Cameron Hampton opted to end his recruitment in favor of Texas.

In the intervening months, the Longhorns failed to offer Cy Falls prospect Otaro Alaka at the second Junior Day, when he might have committed, but did eventually secure a pledge from him on Monday after the Aggies gave the 'Horns a scare by narrowing the gap enough over the last month to make things at least a little bit interesting.

Then Beck made his decision on Tuesday evening, which was surprising because he had declared Stanford his leader just days before and set his announcement right after getting back from his visit to Palo Alto.

The commitment from Hampton was huge for Texas at a time when virtually nothing was going right in recruiting at the position, but the problem with him is that perception of him as a prospect is dropping quickly. When Hampton committed, he was a consensus four-star prospect generally ranked among the top 20 players in the state. Now, two months later, Hampton has lost his fourth star and 247Sports dropped him into the bottom part of the top 100 in the state, ranking him as the no. 90 player in Texas.

His fall in the rankings made the commitments from more highly-considered prospects Alaka and Beck even bigger.

Alaka's pledge may be the most important of the three because he's a prototypical spread linebacker who already has extensive experience playing in space and working in coverage, where he shows a high level of football IQ. Not only that, but his commitment represented a major head-to-head win over the Aggies after Kevin Sumlin and his staff won the first two battles.

So now the Longhorns have three commitments at a position where they were expected to only recruit three prospects, which leaves guys with offers like Galena Park North Shore's Zach Whitley on the outside looking in, though in reality it is probably Texas which is in a poor position in his recruitment, as he looks headed to the SEC to play for Texas A&M or Alabama.

And Florida product Dillon Bates, the son of the former Cowboys special teams star, hasn't made his planned spring visit to Austin, so he's not only rather off the radar because of his lack of a visit, but may not be seriously considering the Longhorns at this point.

Right now, the only possible future linebacker Texas is clearly currently recruiting is Arlington Bowie hybrid Edwin Freeman, who is looking more and more like a linebacker after adding about 15 pounds since last football season to push him up to 212 pounds.

Throw in the fact that he played linebacker for Bowie last season and put together an excellent highlight tape of his work at the position and it seems clear that he's headed closer to the line of scrimmage in college.

However, he says that the 'Horns are still recruiting him as a safety, though there is now little chance that he will play there.

Freeman has Texas out in front in his recruitment once again. If he does commit and the coaches continue to tell him this spring that he's going to start out at safety, the fact of the matter is that he'll effectively count against the linebacker numbers, which would stand at four.

The moving piece in all of this is the fact that Beck plays some tight end for Plant and the Texas staff reportedly likes him at that position, though Beck himself would prefer to play linebacker. If Texas takes Freeman, it's not out of the question that Beck could end up on offense if landing a tight end is once again a problem, though there is a similar need for a middle linebacker in the 2014 class after the 2013 class did not feature a player at that position.

The answer, then?

Technically, Texas may be done, but since Freeman is almost certainly going to be a linebacker in college with his recent growth and potential to end up close to 230 pounds, the 'Horns may well end up with four linebackers in this class.

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