Less than two weeks before Syracuse football kicks off its 2017 campaign, the Orange got a huge boost on the defensive line. Three star defensive end Alton Robinson committed to play for SU earlier today and is eligible immediately.
Robinson is a junior college product, the fourth to join the Orange in the Class of 2017, who played at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. However, this isn’t the most interesting twist in Robinson’s college career. He originally committed to play at Texas A&M out of high school and was set to join a loaded Aggie front four that was spearheaded by Myles Jack and Daeshon Hall, both of which are now in the NFL. However, Robinson did not enroll at the school due to a felony robbery case that was later downgraded to two misdemeanor charges which ended up getting dismissed last month.
Out of high school, Robinson was a highly regarded player. The Texas product had offers from some of the elite schools in the country including Alabama, Texas, Michigan and Baylor.
Robinson joins a defensive line that severely struggled to pressure the quarterback last season. The Orange had just 16 sacks for the entire season, good for dead last in the ACC and tied for 115th out of 128 in the country. However, Robinson might be the spark to help this young unit improve. He tallied 14 sacks on his own last season, which ranked third amongst JuCo players.
For a team that was decimated by injuries on defense last season, having a youthful group at defensive end certainly didn’t help the Orange. But now that Kendall Coleman and Josh Black enter year two alongside a group of transfers and freshman, including Robinson, this is a unit capable of making one of the bigger positional strides on the team.
With players returning from injury as well as a group of transfers in the secondary and established players at linebacker, the defensive line is one of the biggest storylines heading into 2017. If it can pressure the quarterback early and often, the defense could surprise some people this season.