In Otaro Alaka‘s first season back since a season ending shoulder injury in 2015, the Texas A&M football linebacker stepped into major role for defense.
Otaro Alaka received a medical redshirt last season after being sidelined early with shoulder and elbow injuries. His injuries did not seem to linger this season as he doubled his tackle number from his last year. Alaka recorded 65 tackles, including 24 solo tackles and one sack against New Mexico State. He also forced one fumble.
A consistent force throughout the season, Alaka was credited for either a solo or assisted tackled in every game. In his biggest game, he had 11 assisted tackles against LSU on Thanksgiving.
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Leading up to the 2016 season many questioned this linebacker group’s ability to stop the run. But the linebacker group consisting of Claude George, Shaan Washington and Alaka were extremely productive in the red zone. They found a way to clamp down when it mattered most.
Texas A&M’s defense was the 13th ranked red zone defense in the country this season. Alaka, a Houston native and graduate of Cypress Falls High School, added much needed depth to an already stacked defense. Washington and Justin Evans were the only Aggies to record more tackles this season that Alaka.
Otaro Alaka ended his freshman year with a stand out performance at the Liberty Bowl. He was named Defensive MVP and recorded seven tackles. The Aggies are currently prepaying for the Texas Bowl against Kansas State. Eyes will be on Alaka to see if he can make a similar impact. He’s going to have to play well against Kansas State’s mobile quarterback Jesse Ertz.
He will be returning for the 2017 season and must step up to fill role left by senior Claude George. Alaka’s future with the team is very promising. Texas A&M fans have much to be look forward to next year.
***Stats from ESPN, 12thman.com***