clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

RSC Recruiting Analysis - Linebackers

I'm very pleased with the class in terms of linebacking (if that's a word). We needed to add significant depth at that position, and we have done that.

D.T. Shackelford - 6'2" 235 lbs. - 4.7 (self-report)
While his self-reported speed sends up a red flag, I'm a huge fan of D.T. Shackelford. His video reminds me a good bit of Tony Fein in that when he hits the running back, said running back is going down. If you can watch his video, I encourage you to do so. Pay attention to his tackling. When watching tape of linebackers, I often see a player who can get to the ball easily but gives up an extra yard or two due to lack of strength. Not Shackelford. I think he's going to make a big difference in short yardage situations and on the goal line. There is always a place on any team for a linebacker who may sacrifice a little bit in speed but makes up for it with superior taackling prowess.
Other liegitimate offers: MSU, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Auburn

Joel Kight - 5'9" 200 lbs. - 4.55 (combine)
Kight is another player about whom I'm excited. In his video, he flies to the ball quickly and hits really hard. You can tell that he works very hard to compensate for his lack of size. I'm not sure that he'll ever be a player getting 20 snaps a game at linebacker, but I'm thrilled with what he brings to special teams. A player with his speed and hitting ability can really excel when he doesn't have to worry about dropping into coverage against a taller player. Don't get me wrong. I think Kight will play a good bit of actual linebacker, but I see a big part of his contribution coming on kick coverage. I think a lot of people undervalue special teams in this era of football, but you can see the difference it made on our team last season when we got to the ball quickly and brought the returner to the ground. You can always use players capable of that, and we got one with Kight.
Other legitimate offers: Arizona State, Auburn, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State

Mike Marry - 6'3" 215 lbs. - 4.6 (self-report)
First, here's the only free video I could find. It's difficult to tell much (since it's very poor quality), but if you watch closely, you can see his best attribute.

Mike Marry has vision. He has decent speed and appears pretty tough, but his best quality appears to be how well he sees plays develop. Because of that ability, he can avoid blockers and get to the ball without much impediment. Marry was an unexpected signing day surprise, and I'm really glad we got him. He's very heady.
Other legitimate offers: Duke, Michigan, South Florida, West Virginia (though I don't know that a WVA offer is really that legitimate now that RR is gone)

Willie Ferrell - 6'2" 225 lbs. - No 40 time
Here is the free video of Willie Ferrell.

Ferrell seems like an all-around alright linebacker. Nothing he does is spectacular, but I think it's mostly due to limited agility. Time with Don Decker will work that out. There's no fluidity in his hips, and he only looks fast in straight-line situations. It's difficult to get a good read on a player who appears so un-coached (again probably not a word). It really doesn't matter since Ferrell is a sign and place anyway.
Other legitimate offers: Arkansas, Michigan, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee

Demarcus Knight - 6'2" 230 lbs. - 4.6 (self report)
I just can't get enthusiastic about Knight. Maybe it's his lack of a single other offer. Maybe it's that he doesn't wrap up. Maybe it's that he doesn't appear to play at 4.6 speed. I don't know. Kent Austin recruited him, so I'm probably just not capable of understanding the genius of this signee, but in a situation where we're tight on spots, I can't help but wonder if this guy only has a spot because he committed so early.