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Daniel Seahorn

Commitment Spotlight: David Gbenda

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After signing one inside linebacker and only two linebackers total in 2018, Texas needed to make the position a priority early and often this cycle. The staff’s national search came up empty and the self-inflicted wound that came in the DaShaun White recruitment proved too much to overcome in the end, but the staff seems once again to be learning from previous miscues.

Cinco Ranch linebacker David Gbenda had some parallels to White from this past cycle in the sense that he has seen his stock take off early in the cycle despite not possessing the ideal measurables you’re looking for at this position. Like White, Gbenda’s tape does plenty of talking for him and sometimes when the measurables aren’t there, you just have to trust what your eyes are telling you and that’s the case with the rangy and hard-nosed backer out of Katy.

Gbenda made the trip up to Austin for the Junior Day in February, but the trip was unfortunately cut short. It’s typically a good sign when the staff reaches back out shortly after to arrange a follow up visit that will allow for more face time with fewer recruits on campus and it was as Gbenda received a very coveted offer from his dream school on the second trip to campus.

Lately it seems Texas has been the dream school for several recruits only for them to end up elsewhere, but that this time around it ended up working out for the good guys, as they were able to push the right buttons and win over Gbenda’s family in this recruitment. The Longhorns were able to secure an early commitment from the linebacker over several regional schools, including TCU and Texas A&M.

Film Analysis

Player Information

Name: David Gbenda

Position: ILB

High School: Cinco Ranch

City & State: Katy, TX


Height: 6’0 (Verified)

Weight:  212 (Verified)

40-yard: 4.74 (Verified)

Shuttle:  4.36 (Verified)

Vertical: 32 (Verified)


2016:  N/A

2017: 56 Tackles, 8 TFLs, 2 Sacks, 2 PBUs





  • Won’t win the Underwear Olympics, but he wins you over on tape. Kid is just a flat out football player.
  • Processes things quickly and has good linebacker instincts from a read and react standpoint.
  • Keeps his shoulders square to the LOS and gets downhill in a hurry when he sniffs out the play.
  • Moves well laterally and does a good job of navigating through the trash inside the box.
  • Aggressively takes on blocks and doesn’t try to go around them. Loved the clip in his junior tape where he absolutely destroyed the h-back in the hole before making the play.
  • Sure tackler, who wraps up pretty consistently. Not afraid to strike you at the moment of truth in the hole.
  • Good range with a good motor to boot. Wil make the hustle plays that the coaches will love.


  • Lacks the measurables and length you want for the position.
  • Solid testing numbers, but won’t wow you from that standpoint.
  • Will need some time in the incubator due to him lacking ideal size, but with the lack of depth will he need to be ready sooner?
  • Not much tape of him going backwards in coverage, so that’s a big question mark to monitor during his senior year.
  • Some will wonder about him coming off the edge, but he lacks the length to be edge player and will have to make his money as an off the ball linebacker.



 David Gbenda out of Cinco Ranch is a feisty, hard-nosed linebacker whose stock has really taken off this spring after his junior tape began to make the rounds early this cycle.  Gbenda won’t be described as a prolific tester for his position, but he possesses solid testing and physical measurables. Gbenda makes his best case as a player when you flip the film on and watch him play inside linebacker for Cinco Ranch this past season. Gbenda displays good read and react skills coming down hill against the run and shows he consistently hit his run fits while aggressively taking on blockers of different shapes and sizes. Despite only coming in at 212 pounds, Gbenda shows that he will get physical when taking on offensive linemen, tight ends, or H-backs and he shows the ability to shed blocks and get to the ball carrier. Gbenda is not at all shy about contact and possesses the physicality you want to see from an inside backer. When Gbenda arrives at the ball he proves to be a very reliable tackler that will consistently wrap up and get the ball carrier to the ground and also has the ability to lay the big hit, well as strip the ball out. Gbenda shows that he has good range from the middle of the field to both sidelines and that he will make plays with both ability and effort. A knock on Gbenda at this stage is that he hasn’t provided much if any tape of him showing his ability in coverage at this point, and that is something that will need to be evaluated thoroughly going forward before it can be determined if he is a guy that can remain on the field in sub packages. While he has logged some snaps along the LOS, I don’t anticipate that being something that will translate to the collegiate level due to him lacking the length to take on offensive tackles on the edge. Gbenda is going to make his money as an off the ball linebacker due to his ability to navigate through the bodies and if his stock is any indicator, he is a candidate to have a big senior season as he continues to come along.

Final Verdict

 The importance of landed several linebackers this cycle capable of playing either Mac or Rover can’t be understated and landing Gbenda is solid way to start off the cycle. I don’t think Gbenda is an instant impact type of guy, but he is a solid all around football player that I can see why Todd Orlando loves him and made him a priority early in the cycle.

 Gbenda isn’t the type of player that blows you away physically, but he’s the guy that just makes play after play and probably ends up being under appreciated to those who don’t watch closely. You want linebackers that have good instincts and a feel for the game and you want them to be willing to be physical as hell when it comes to attacking and shedding blocks and that’s exactly what Gbenda already does on tape.

 Gbenda is likely going to be a redshirt candidate, which is why Texas already seems to be mining the JUCO ranks or potential candidates that can walk in and contribute after mid-term, but he is definitely a guy who I can see making contributions down the line and developing into a rock solid, dependable football player after spending some time with Orlando.

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