Signing day is over. Our class is complete. We are excited about it and we would like to imagine that all of you fine people are as well. This is why, over the next couple of days, we will be providing you with quick breakdowns of the various position groups in the class. We will do this without any particular reasoning towards the order in which they are presented, as per your likely expectations. Kicking this off: linebackers.
Linebacker was a minor need for this class. It would have been a bit frivolous to sign more than we did, but it would have certainly been damaging to sign any fewer. We are not inexperienced at linebacker, heading into the Spring with Allen Walker and Johnathan Cornell anchoring the unit as seniors with Joel Kight and D.T. Shackleford as sophomores with legitimate playing time under their belts, but we are not particularly deep either. Starting Will backer Patrick Trahan is gone, as is second-level journeyman Lamar Brumfield. All of this considered, Tyrone Nix needed a few talented young linebackers to come in and earn spots in the depth chart to hopefully establish a stronger linebacking unit in general with the rising talent necessary to compete in the SEC over the next few seasons.
We did just that.
No, I don't have a damn clue what's going on in this video either.
Mike Marry: 6'4"; 225 lb; Largo, FL- Marry, the former high school teammate of Dexter McCluster, was actually enrolled at Ole Miss last year as one of the 2009 class' grayshirt candidates. After a year in classes and in Don Decker's strength and conditioning program, Marry has finally signed his official LOI and will be receiving a scholarship beginning this upcoming semester. He seems a bit tall and wiry for a projected Mike linebacker, but the coaches will very likely give him a shot at earning his spot there in the depth chart. From everyone I have talked to about the guy, and from what I am able to discern from the video, Mike Marry's best attribute is vision and ability to see plays develop. He also appears to have decent speed. He will need to put another fifteen pounds or so on his fram in order to compete on an SEC level, but I don't doubt that as a possibility.
Ralph Williams: 6'1"; 223lb; Miami, FL- Once again, Nutt, Nix, and Vaughn have wowed with their ability to recruit from other states, especially Florida. Having offers from Arkansas, Tennessee, and Florida State -- and being a once-commit to the Vols -- Ralph Williams was a legitimately sought-after prospect out of Gulliver Prep, a school which is slowly becoming a Rebel pipeline. Williams is dangerous around the edge and hardly lets off any steam before reaching his opponent. He sheds blockers pretty well and looks fairly adept at catching slower, whiter players from behind. He also reads plays well and does not get caught up with play action or trickery very often. He hates being called "Ralphie".
I couldn't find much of him on defense after lazily Googling. Deal with it.
Clarence Jackson: 6'2"; 218lb; Atlanta, GA- One thing you've got to love about these incoming linebackers is their size. Of course, none of them are at a true SEC playing weight, but none of them seem too small to tack on the necessary bulk. Jackson is no exception to this with a six-foot, two-inch frame supporting 218 pounds. With time, he will be a well-sized, SEC-ready linebacker. He was a force on both offense and defense in high school, rushing for nine touchdowns over a five-game span at one point during his senior year and totalling thirty sacks over his final two seasons at North Clayton High. Perhaps you've forgotten (bad Rebel), but he was actually our first commitment for this signing class which I feel says a lot about his want to play in Oxford and level of commitment. Rumors have it that the Volunteers pushed for his signature late -- rumors which I cannot confirm. I can confidently say, however, that Jackson was also being pursued by Mississippi State and Kentucky, neither programs of which were upset to not have gotten him. Mississippi State is, naturally, trying to win the in-state recruiting battle with TSUN while Kentucky is tired of being bothered by this trivial "National Signing Day" in whatever it is we're calling this sport these days.