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April 9, 2013

Horns' recruiting roll continues with commit from Beck

The Texas defensive recruiting roll continues.

In the past 10 days, the Longhorns have secured 2014 commitments from the following prospects: DT Trey Lealaimatafao, DE Jake McMillon, DT Courtney Garnett and LB Otaro Alaka.

On Tuesday night, Texas added yet another pledge, and this one comes from a top out-of-state linebacker.

Tampa Plant linebacker Andrew Beck announced at a press conference at his school that he has committed to Texas, becoming the Longhorns' 14th commitment of the 2014 recruiting class. Beck, who took an unofficial visit to Texas in March, becomes UT's second linebacker commitment in as many days, joining Otaro Alaka, who committed on Monday night.

Beck has been one of the hottest prospects in the state of Florida in recent months, with offers coming in at a rapid pace. Along with Texas, the 6-3, 230-pounder was holding scholarships from Stanford, Florida State, Miami, Oklahoma, Georgia Tech, Rutgers and Boston College, among others.

Last year, as a junior, Beck led his team with 126 tackles (50 solos), 6 sacks, 32 tackles for loss and 8 passes defended. Tampa Plant head coach Anthony Weiner said there's a lot to like in Beck both on the field and in the locker room.

"He's kind of a freak of an athlete for a kid with his size. He had a great junior year for us at MIKE linebacker. He was kind of the quarterback of our defense, making the signal calls. He's a really smart kid, he's a very disciplined kid - his dad is a lieutenant colonel in the Army. He's a yes sir, no sir kid," Weiner said. "He has a great combination of being really physical - he led our team in tackles last year - as well as being a great athlete. He's a 4.56 kid at a recent combine here, he's in the 4.2s in the (shuttle), he's a really strong kid as well. He's pretty impressive. He's the overall package as a player and kid."

Beck, an inside linebacker prospect, began to speak with the Texas coaches earlier this spring. Members of the UT staff and the coaches at Tampa Plant have some previous relationships, helping get Beck on the Longhorns' radar. Things progressed quickly after the initial contact.

"As they looked at my film, the interest started picking up. I said recently, I was very interested in Texas, and if there was any significant interest on their part, I'd come down and visit so I could look at Texas, but so they can look at me too," Beck said. "I think it will be good for me and for them too."

Beck visited Texas on March 21 and followed that stop with visits to Baylor and SMU. He visited Stanford last weekend. Immediately after the visit to Texas, Beck said he had good conversations with UT defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and Longhorn head coach Mack Brown.

"They said they liked how I play, they think I can y be a guy that can be good for them," Beck said after leaving the UT campus.

"One thing (the UT coaches) did mention, they liked how I could be a big physical presence in the middle," Beck said. "I like stepping up and supporting in the middle, that comes easy for me to do. That fact that he thinks I can do it at the next level is big."

Beck lived in Texas from fourth to eight grade while his family resided in Harker Heights, about 60 miles north of Austin. Those ties helped Texas initially grab Beck's attention.

"Texas has been one of schools I've liked for a long time. I've always been a Horns fan," Beck said. "It's one of places I wanted my coach to look into, see if it's a possibility of me going there, getting an offer, having them recruit me.

"It's one of places I had him call when the offers started coming in, see if I could get an invitation there, get a visit, see if they liked me. I've liked them for a long time. It's a place I've always been interested in."

A three-star prospect, Beck is ranked as the nation's No. 20 inside linebacker prospect.

"Beck is a physical football player and that goes both ways. On offense he plays tight end, h-back and fullback. He is always looking for contact and is a capable blocker. That kind of toughness can't be taught plus he comes from a perennial powerhouse program that focuses on fundamentals and producing high football IQ players," said Rivals.com regional recruiting analyst Kynon Codrington. "As a middle linebacker he is hard-hitter that can blow up plays on inside blitzes. He diagnoses plays well and doesn't take many false steps. The three-star is an attacking defender that should continue to improve at the next level."

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