Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Over the last few weeks, we have been breaking down the pieces that made this signing class arguably the best Ole Miss signing class in school history. Today, we look at the linebackers who will step into the 4-2-5 defense.
Before I actually break down the two signees, I want to address the overall position. The Rebels needed to add several capable linebackers, and they failed to do that. Instead, we see one who is highly unlikely to qualify and another who didn't have a good offer sheet. I personally think that both players will be fine (if they end up in school), but in an otherwise stellar class, it's surprising that we couldn't find a linebacker to run in behind Robert Nkemdiche.
Overall, it's the second most disappointing position (cornerback being first). It's still fine though.
Marcus Robinson - 3* - 6'4" 205 - Other Notable Offers - Arkansas, Clemson, USC
Robinson has an imposing frame and displays good speed considering how big he is. He is exactly the type of tall, rangy linebacker this staff is looking to sign. I can't find good free video, but suffice it to say he could play pretty early if he ends up at Ole Miss.
Unfortunately, he is a long shot to qualify. He signed with a junior college the same day he signed with the Rebels. Robinson's signing is actually a surprising thing because of this. It doesn't really make much sense for the coaches to
UPDATE: After re-reading the exception to the SEC LOI 25 player limit again, it is apparent that I misunderstood the limit and its effect. It appears that signing Marcus Robinson only limits the number of players the Rebels could sign before the end of May. This likely doesn't matter, as those signings are rare, and the team has several open scholarships even with having signed Robinson.
Rashawn Smith - 3* - 6'3" 200 - Other Notable Offers: Arkansas, Mississippi State
I have to admit, I'm glad that I don't evaluate linebackers for the Ole Miss football team. I think it's one of the hardest films to evaluate since most film looks the same. Obviously, I can tell if someone is absurdly fast or hits incredibly hard. If they aren't either of those (which most linebackers aren't), then they almost all look the same to me. Watch the film for yourself here.
He appears to tackle well and have adequate speed. With his size, that could be a nice addition. He'll grow into one of our bigger linebackers, and his speed looks pretty good. I'm not going to speak to his ability to read plays (since this is a highlight film) or get off blocks (because obviously he's going ot get off every block in highlight film). I can say though that he's physically impressive.