Landing recruits that can fly on the defensive end is huge for the Texas Longhorns, especially in the Big 12 conference. Reeling in some sideline to sideline headhunters at the linebacker position is something head coach Tom Herman and defensive coordinator Todd Orlando have stressed during this recruiting cycle, and it’s paying off.
The Longhorns currently hold linebacker commitments from elite four-star Westlake (Calif.) outside linebacker De’Gabriel Floyd, three-star Orlando (Fla.) outside linebacker Marcus Tillman Jr., and newly committed Katy Cinco Ranch inside linebacker David Gbenda.
Gbenda had always been a player that most thought would end up in Austin, but late last month he decided to make it public and verbally commit to Texas. He chose the Longhorns over programs like Arkansas, Colorado, Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, and Washington.
What ultimately went in to Gbenda’s decision to side with the Longhorns at the end of the day?
“Ultimately the main reason why I chose Texas was because of education, really how I felt internally there, playing time opportunities, and really just the atmosphere around there,” Gbenda told BON. “I was thinking more of a life decision because it’s college. It’ll be at a point in my life where I’d be there four years where I’ll learn to grow up and be an adult.”
Growing as an overall individual while he’s at Texas is imperative to Gbenda and his family. Developing into a game changer at the next level is something that Gbenda is also looking forward to. He sees himself flourishing in the same role as Gary Johnson and providing some versatility within his standard role.
”Seeing how I haven’t been playing football as much, but I have a work ethic that’s really at the top because I’m learning every day,” Gbenda said. “My athleticism on the blitz and really just my natural instincts. With the defense, I see myself fitting more as the Rover. But I’m good at blitzing, so I can fit in that role, too.”
Gbenda recognizes that he’s going to potentially have a chance to make an immediate impact because of the departures of Anthony Wheeler and Gary Johnson after this season. Regardless of whether he’s able to get playing time on defense or special teams, Gbenda is ready to make his presence felt.
“Seeing how they’re graduating two linebackers, I see myself getting some playing time,” Gbenda said. “As a college player, I see myself doing a lot with my time. But if I play early I’ll contribute in any way I can possible. If they want to play me, I’ll be ready.”
The way that the Texas defense has performed here of late has really caught the attention of Gbenda. He believes that this is the beginning of a renewed program.
”Really when I went up there a couple of times, Coach Herman said he was changing it up a bit,” Gbenda said. “He told me that they were bringing in change and that they were trying to go for a natty. I see that change in their record and how they really competed against OU. They didn’t stop!”
Gbenda is the ultimate team player and has lofty goals as finishes out he’s senior season and heads to the Forty Acres.
“My main goal right now is helping my team go far into the playoffs, that’s really my main concern right now,” Gbenda said. “This is my family, these are my friends. I want to break the solo tackling record and break the sack record at our school.”
“I want to play early, get some playing time, and get my degree. I want to make sure that I shine, and have a shot at the league. That’s the main goal.”
At 6’0, 218 pounds, Gbenda is ranked as the No. 269 player in the country and No. 34 overall prospect in the state, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.