June 21, 2016
Linebacker Santino Marchiol has given Texas A&M some much-needed attitude and power on defense after committing to the school on Tuesday.
Taylor Hamm of 247Sports broke news of Marchiol’s decision to become an Aggie.
Marchiol explained to Hamm what Texas A&M had to offer that made it such an appealing destination:
At Texas A&M, I felt like it was the only place where they wanted me to be the first to commit but they never pressured me into it like these other places. I had a great relationship with everyone there, the players and the coaches.
It really just fell into place when I sat down with coach (John) Chavis, who is a historical legend in the SEC. He’s put the most linebackers in the NFL which is crazy. Having an opportunity to play for him and a staff like that in the SEC, in College Station, it doesn’t really get any better.
The job of a linebacker is multifaceted, but it’s a position that lends itself to intimidation because it is involved in most of what happens on a given play.
Marchiol brings that intimidation factor, along with excellent tackling skills, to his new home. The IMG Academy standout is a 4-star prospect who is the No. 16 inside linebacker, the No. 39 player from Florida and the No. 269 player in the 2017 class, per 247Sports‘ composite rankings.
The Florida native is already well-developed physically at 6’2″ and 222 pounds, though he could stand to add some more weight over the next couple of years.
However, Marchiol’s tackling prowess is so good already that he can be an instant-impact player. ESPN’s Recruiting Nation noted his ability to diagnose plays and to close quickly as two of his best assets:
Reads quickly, takes good angles. Strong at the point of attack and can shoot gaps. Drops smoothly and shows solid instincts in zone. Delivers a good pop when tackling and wraps effectively. … Marchiol is a downhill linebacker with very good length and athleticism. Although he could play both inside or outside linebacker at the next level, we feel he projects best on the outside.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin is in need of all the good vibes he can get right now. The Aggies have had a strange seven-month period in which quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen both transferred from the program.
The Aggies did put together a solid 2016 recruiting class, finishing 19th in 247Sports’ composite team rankings, but it’s still a tall task climbing up the SEC mountain when teams such as Alabama, LSU, Mississippi, Georgia, Auburn, Florida and Tennessee all finished ahead of them in the rankings and always land premier talents.
Sumlin isn’t known for building strong defensive clubs, though the Aggies showed improvement last year, finishing tied for 28th in points allowed and 51st in total defense. Landing a top-tier talent like Marchiol will only help those numbers get better.
An underrated part of Marchiol’s value is that he has the ability to play inside or outside. His size and his explosiveness will make him a better fit on the outside, where he can easily move into coverage or rush the passer when asked.
However, if Marchiol’s new team uses him inside to help stop the run, it will not be wasting his power.
Versatility is crucial in this era of football, as teams seek three-down athletes at every position. Marchiol fits nicely into the new standard of what a linebacker is able to do and will be a college star as soon as he puts on a uniform.
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