Stanford has been known for its elite linebacking corps that fueled the program's rise to power. They might just have more depth coming soon in junior outside linebacker Curtis Robinson, who cut his list to seven schools on Monday. The other programs, all academic powerhouses, vying for the four-star recruit include Duke, Notre Dame, Ohio State, UCLA, USC, and Washington. As always, take the star ranking with a grain of salt, as recruiting is about exposure more than talent, but Robinson seems to be the real deal. Robinson, who has a 4.1 GPA, chose these seven because of their "combination of academic and football success."
An Army All-American, Robinson checks in at 6'3" and 208 pounds with room to grow. That might seem small for a Division-1 outside linebacker, but he has at least a year and a half, or two and a half years if he redshirts, to add muscle. This weight gives him a great first step and burst rushing the passer and on stopping outside runs. He would be well served by hitting the gym hard: getting to around 230 pounds would make him a much more formidable force in college. He ran a solid 4.84 40-yard dash, but seems to have even better lateral quickness than straight line speed.
After looking at his tape, Robinson projects to be a great pass rusher, with a very high motor, something that must have stood out to David Shaw when he offered the linebacker a scholarship. The stats don't stand out on paper, with just 40 tackles and four sacks (6 TFL) in 12 games, but the tape tells a different story.
One of Robinson's strengths, along with quickness, is versatility. The Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) product also played significant time at wide receiver in his junior season, totaling 252 receiving yards and a touchdown playing both ways. Stanford could use depth at receiver down the road with Cajuste and Rector gone, so if it doesn't work out for Robinson at outside linebacker, receiver's a good fallback option. He has the speed and size to do it, but it would just be a matter of getting enough reps to excel.
Comparing Robinson to Trent Murphy would be unfair, given Murphy's success at the Farm, but it could eventually prove to be apt. Outside linebackers don't need the top-notch size, but rather quickness, and Robinson has the quickness to be the next monster pass rusher in the front seven for the Cardinal. Murphy stood at just 230 pounds during his senior year of high school, and received little hype out of Phoenix's Brophy Prep School. Robinson has the tools to be elite, but it's just a matter of how well the coaching staff can help him develop.
As Robinson is coming from California, it's hard to see him turning down an offer to attend arguably the best school in the country in his home state. Hometown UCLA and USC will be alluring as well, but Stanford has a very good chance at landing the linebacker. With a suddenly thin and unproven defense and linebacking corps, Robinson's arrival would certainly be welcomed.