Arizona State received a commitment Wednesday from versatile linebacker Merlin Robertson, who provides a nice boost to the Sun Devils' 2018 recruiting class.
ASU Recruiting provided word of the coveted defender's school choice on national signing day. He chose the Sun Devils over the likes of Oklahoma, USC and Oregon.
Robertson is a 4-star prospect and the No. 129 overall recruit from the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports' composite rankings. He's also the No. 8 outside linebacker and the 16th-best player joining the college ranks from California.
Although he's listed as an edge linebacker for ranking purposes, he's also capable of shifting to the inside to become an eraser in the middle of the field. His athletic 6'3", 241-pound frame will give the coaching staff options once he's ready to crack the lineup.
The Junipero Serra High School star is a physical presence regardless of where he plays. He attacks the line of scrimmage and sheds blockers as well as anybody at the position in the class, and once he gets his hands on ball-carriers, they rarely get out of the reliable tackler's clutches.
Tom Lemming of the CBS Sports Network has been bullish about Robertson since 2015:
Tom Lemming @LemmingReport
I was very close to giving 2018 LB Merlin Robertson 6'2" 220 from Gardena Serra 5+ but I'll wait and see how he does http://t.co/w9EqogmrFR2015-4-24 02:37:24
Nothing has changed over the past couple of years to change the outlook about the defensive playmaker's upward trajectory. If anything, he's only solidified the thought that he should make a smooth transition to the collegiate game once the 2018 season rolls around.
He told Ryan Wright of Recruiting News Guru last year that he's pleased with his progress in pass defense.
"I've gotten a lot better at my coverages," Robertson said. "I've gotten pretty good at man coverage and covering the slot. I've gotten a lot better at reading the plays."
Ultimately, he could benefit from adding several more pass-rushing moves to his arsenal if he's going to stay at outside linebacker for the long haul. But he has all the tools to become a star.
Robertson is the type of prospect who can provide the muscle to round out a recruiting class, which is usually built on the glamour of speed and skill, for Arizona State. He's a hard-nosed player who will probably become a fan favorite in the years ahead.
His first defensive involvement for the Sun Devils figures to come as an early-down bruiser. Then, once he polishes his pass-rushing technique, he'll become a three-down weapon. Based on the depth chart, that could happen as early as 2019.