Diaz

Peter Jenkins, 19, will suit up for Texas in 2012 . The linebacker from Dallas Skyline is the No. 5 player at his position in the state. (Photo courtesy of orangebloods.com)

Every year, college football coaches pursue the nation’s top players and try to convince them to play for their team. For some players, the choice on where to play is simple, and they don’t need any further convincing. Others mull over the decision, weighing such variables as potential playing time, proximity to their home and the overall feel of the program recruiting them.

In the end, it is the players’ decision, and in recent years, more and more of the nation’s best are choosing to come to Austin.

“Texas was just the best combination of tradition, comfortability and an academic future,” said 2012 commitment Alex De La Torre. “I love [Head] Coach [Mack] Brown, [defensive coordinator] Coach [Manny] Diaz and the staff and how the Texas players are one big unit, a family if you will. I just knew then, when I had the Texas experience, that I wanted to be a Longhorn.”

De La Torre is just one of 18 commitments the Longhorns have inked for the 2012 season. The inside linebacker from Ryan High School in Denton also received offers to play at Auburn and Notre Dame but chose to become a Longhorn instead. He still has a full season of high school football left to play, but he’s keeping a close eye on the Texas team.

“I have very high hopes for the team this year,” De La Torre said. “I’m a firm believer in all the coaches that have come in, and I think this year will be a great one.”

Dallas Skyline linebacker Peter Jinkens, another Texas commit, also has lofty expectations for the Longhorns this season.

“I think we have a really good team and could do something great,” he said.

Jinkens is ranked as the No. 5 outside linebacker in the state and was selected as an ESPN and Under Armour All-American for the class of 2012. He has also taken a liking to Diaz, even offering a new nickname for the former Mississippi State coordinator.

“I think Coach Manny Fresh is going to do a great job,” Jinkens said. “He’s very passionate.”

Jinkens’ decision to come to Texas was an easy one. He played with current Longhorn receiver Mike Davis while at Skyline and says Davis is “like a big brother” to him. In addition to having a good friend on the team, Jinkens admitted Brown had a significant influence on his decision.

“You just can’t tell Coach Mack no,” he said.

Jinkens and De La Torre still have a year before they are officially part of the team, but until then, they will continue to support Texas the best they can — and maybe even convince a few more players to become Longhorns. 

Printed on September 1, 2011 as: Texas Adds Pair