TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — One of Alabama’s biggest needs heading into national signing day was on the offensive line, and the Tide filled that need in a big way.
Robinson, a 5-star prospect and the No. 4 player in the country, is already on campus, adjusting to college life while getting a head start on the playbook and getting to know the team. He also could be the missing piece on an offensive line that lost two starters and may see more shake-up up front.
Mike Farrell of Rivals.com offered up this assessment of Robinson to The Tuscaloosa News’ Aaron Suttles:
"The size certainly stands out with Cam," Farrell said. "The strength, if he gets his hands on you he's going to engulf you. He's got quick feet for a big guy. The things he needs to work on are just the simple things: technique, getting out of your stance.
"You want to talk about raw, Cameron Robinson is raw. When you see him line up at a right tackle spot at the Under Armour (All-America Game) with his left hand down and the coaches are correcting his stance, this kid is just scratching the surface of learning how to be an offensive tackle. He's got the feet, he's got the length, he's got the size, he's got the strength, but he needs to be coached. And Alabama coaches coach kids up better than anybody else, I think."
Being on campus early will only help Robinson’s case.
He’s able to slowly assimilate by going to class and being on his own without having the weight of football on him (like fall enrollees do). He also will get extra attention from coaches in the spring going through practice with the rest of the team.
And the workouts?
“Man, the workouts,” Robinson said on national signing day, burying his head in his hands. “At the beginning, man, the workouts were painful. (Strength and conditioning) Coach (Scott) Cochran, he was killing us. We just had to get in and get used to it. Our bodies get adjusted to it. We've been rolling all, just working hard every day.”
Part of the reason for Alabama’s step back in 2013 was due to an offensive line that lost three starters to the NFL.
Left guard Chance Warmack and right tackle D.J. Fluker were drafted in the first round, while center Barrett Jones went in the fourth. That left some big holes on the line that were never quite sealed up.
Now, left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and right guard Anthony Steen are gone, leaving nobody left two years later from a 2012 group that was one of the best of all time.
The now-vacant left tackle spot is up for grabs, and Robinson would seem like the perfect fit. He has the size and ability to play in the SEC, and it’s just a matter of getting the fundamentals and technique down, which he has a head start on.
It’s not always that easy, though, even for such a highly touted prospect.
Kouandjio was similarly rated coming out of high school, but didn’t start until his sophomore year. In 2011, as a freshman, he appeared in eight games as the coaching staff developed him, but saw playing time in mostly pressure-free game situations.
A knee injury ended his season eight games in before he could crack the starting five.
In 2013, Grant Hill came in as a 4-star prospect and played in five games at right tackle, not starting but gaining valuable playing time. He figures to be in the mix on the offensive line in 2014 and beyond.
So it’s not an impossible task for Robinson to come in and start from day one—the opportunity is certainly there.
And even if he doesn’t, Alabama has landed a prospect who could develop into an elite player in the country and give the Tide another dominant offensive line.