The nationwide recruitment of offensive tackle Cameron Robinson has come to a close. The 5-star prospect and No. 1 player in the 2014 class, per 247Sports composite rankings, elected to commit to Alabama on Wednesday afternoon, according to ESPNU's official Twitter feed.
BREAKING: No.1 OT in ESPN300 Cameron Robinson commits to #ALABAMA— ESPNU (@ESPNU) September 4, 2013
Robinson's highly anticipated decision garnered expansive attention, including a live ESPN broadcast at West Monroe High School. The 6'5", 330-pound Louisiana product picked the two-time defending national champions from a pack that included premier programs throughout the country.
His offer list featured Arkansas, Auburn, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Texas, according to 247Sports. The final choice ultimately came down to SEC rivals LSU and Alabama, as reported by AL.com writer Matt Scalici.
It's a pivotal pickup for Nick Saban, who pried the jewel of Louisiana's loaded 2014 class away from Les Miles and the Tigers. From a fundamental and physical standpoint, Robinson is ready to compete for a starting spot as a freshman.
Now that we know which team he intends to sign with, let's examine the elements of Robinson's game that sent him soaring to the top of the recruiting board. Of course, there are also attributes with room for refinement.
|Hometown||West Monroe, La.|
|School||West Monroe High School|
|Size||6'5", 330 pounds|
|Ranking||Consensus 5-star among all national recruiting services|
|Key Offers||Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Michigan, Ole Miss, LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Mississippi State, Washington|
As the game tape unfolds, it's clear Robinson is a prodigious tackle prospect. We're treated to outstanding offensive line recruits on an annual basis, but few are as close to a finished project as this young man.
The first thing you look for when watching a player of Robinson's stature is how much effort he puts into each play. It's easy to rely on natural strength and size at the high school level when you're that large, but it also reveals an element of laziness.
Robinson passes this test, displaying consistent effort and a sound fundamental approach. When offensive linemen are bending with their backs, it's a red flag and an indication that their knees may not hold up under the demands and duress of a collegiate career.
Robinson rarely allows his technique to slip, displaying excellent knee bend and quick hands. Robinson's reach is really what separates him from other capable linemen in the 2014 class.
A player can duplicate his size, but without the God-given wingspan and reach of Robinson, they won't be quite as appealing. Short arms often serve as a sign for caution when recruiting linemen.
He's the total package you look for from a physical standpoint, and you can be sure Alabama's training staff will be hard at work molding him into an increasingly toned athlete.
Alabama loves to batter teams early and often with a powerful rushing attack, and Robinson will love it. He fires out of his stance off the snap and uses a powerful base to establish position at the point of attack.
If he gets under a defensive lineman's shoulder pads, it's over. He uses power and, perhaps more importantly, a compact technique to drive his opponent off the line of scrimmage.
Elite athleticism allows Robinson to ditch a defensive lineman and turn his attention toward the second level, whether he's targeting a linebacker or a safety. This quickness and fluidity will also serve him well in zone-blocking schemes.
His athleticism shines again in pass protection. Robinson adjusts his back set based on where his opponent lines up and incorporates an outstanding slide step that cuts off angles for pass-rushers.
He's stout enough to handle a bull rush and can counteract swim moves and spin moves with elite lateral movement.
There's a reason Robinson is rated so high. It's difficult to find deficiencies, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.
He can improve in hand placement, which becomes paramount when facing the top defensive linemen in the SEC. Position is everything, and pure power won't always get the job done.
Alabama will concentrate on maximizing his strength with better target placement and increasing hand action. You'd also like to see Robinson put himself in solid positioning on pass protection more often rather than rely on his reach to derail defenders (that's an easy way to pick up a holding penalty).
Occasionally, Robinson will disengage from a defensive lineman too early. That won't fly in Tuscaloosa, where he'll become better by enduring some growing pains.
When will Cameron Robinson become a starter at Alabama?
Alabama typically fills its lineup with experience, but Saban isn't afraid to throw freshman in the mix if they're truly special. Robinson is that kind of rare talent, and he'll have an early opportunity to work his way up the depth chart.
If he can deal with the rigors of collegiate conditioning and wrap his head around the playbook, it's possible we could see him suit up for the Tide in September 2014. The Alabama staff is receiving a complete prospect, but it'll treat him like a four-year project. Although if things go according to plan, he may only spend three seasons wearing crimson.
Robinson will vie for All-SEC honors by his sophomore season and is a good bet to emerge as an Outland Trophy finalist.