Nick Saban has long believed that, to win championships, you must have a dominant defense and a bruising offensive line. He has stayed away from gimmick offenses and the newest fads of college football and been content with having an old-school football team. His four BCS National Championships would indicate he has the right idea.
If you wonder what type of skill set Coach Saban prefers in an offensive lineman, look no further than verbal commit Cameron Robinson.
At 6’5” and 330 pounds, Robinson already has the overall size that is needed to play the tackle position at the collegiate level. Moreover, he has a build that will improve and be even more impressive once he is in the Crimson Tide’s weight program.
Robinson has the potential to be an elite pass-blocker at the collegiate level. He displays great flexibility in a three-point stance, which allows him to get into position quickly. Once in position, he slides his feet well and is able to get to the deep set point without leaning in or crossing his feet.
Robinson also has long arms and quick feet that serve him well in pass protection and allow him to recover quickly when he does make a mistake. This also helps him in taking on the bull rush, and he reacts well to edge-rushers and keeps them from getting to the quarterback.
One of the things that sets Robinson apart and makes him a universal 5-star prospect is his athleticism at his size. When run-blocking, he is so athletic that he is able to fire out of his stance with good pad level and quickly move past the defensive linemen and into the second level quickly.
Robinson’s combination of size and athleticism makes him an ideal candidate for the Crimson Tides’ zone-blocking scheme in the run game. He also blocks well in space and excels when asked to pull and trap.
You can’t help but marvel when watching him block on film. In both pass-blocking and run-blocking, he knocks the defender back at first contact, but he plays with a mean streak and does not stop until this whistle blows.
Most defenders look like they have roller skates on at the point of contact with Robinson because they move backward so quickly. He doesn’t have many flaws but will need to become more consistent with his hand placement and at times loses focus on his pad level.
In the end, he has very few flaws, and all of them can be fixed quickly. In my opinion, Robinson will get playing time as a freshman, and if he develops the way he should, he will be a starter by the end of his freshman season.
Robinson is still a little raw in certain areas of his game, but I will be shocked if he has not left for the NFL after three seasons.
This 2014 class really does have the potential to have one of the best offensive lines in school history. In other words, Coach Saban is putting together his ideal type of recruiting class.
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