I never like it when folks compare a player to another player; I feel it’s unfair to place such lofty expectations on a kid before he’s even taken a snap at the college level. But, do y’all remember Rennie Curran? I’m sure you do but, just in case you don’t, he was (in my opinion) the last great linebacker of the Willie Martinez defensive era.
He was noted mostly for being undersized, but his play at the linebacker position was so dominant many often forgot he was only 5’11″; that play earned him a ticket to the NFL (although his current status as a pro is unknown) and left Georgia fans with a myriad of stories to tell about how much he meant to his team during his short tenure.
Well, take one look at 2013 commit Tim Kimbrough (inside linabacker) and the similarities between he and Curran (both in size and approach) are astounding.
Truth be told, Kimbrough hasn’t been spoken about much in this recruiting class which features big name guys like Brice Ramsey, Tramel Terry, and Tray Matthews—aside from those who monitor recruiting closely, that is—but he’s gained a hefty reputation for being both a nasty hitter and a great on-field defensive leader. And, at practices for the US Army All-American Game, he’s certainly made it clear that he’s aware of his critics, but doesn’t give a flip what they have to say about his abilities.
“I don’t think it would really make any difference if I was 6-2 or 6-foot,” Kimbrough said. “It doesn’t slow me down, I can play, and I don’t care what people say.”
Kimbrough is listed at 6-foot-1 and 226 pounds. He is the first player from his storied high school to be a part of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
He elected to attend Georgia over 22 other FBS-level offers.
That number was one shy of what Kimbrough thought he deserved.
“Notre Dame still thinks I am too short,” he said. “Wisconsin tried for a long time to think that, but they watched my tape and offered but Notre Dame just thinks I am short. They won’t offer me.
“I will just keep going out and playing.”
Rivals.com Midwest analyst Josh Helmholdt said that height does not limit Kimbrough.
“He is probably one of the hardest hitters I have seen this season,” Helmholdt said. “Ask the receivers who come across the middle or the running backs that get stuck about him being too short.” (Dallas Jackson, Rivals.com)
Curran was a beast of a tackler and hitter on the football field too—he led the team in tackles his final two seasons and was named one of the most “indispensable” players by The Sporting News—he never backed down from a challenge, was as sure an open-field tackler as I’ve ever seen at Georgia, and constantly made his presence felt on the football field no matter where he was. I honestly feel that if Todd Grantham had not been brought in to introduce the 3-4 scheme, Curran might have stayed through his senior season.
That said, Kimbrough offers a lot of the same intangibles, and he’s certainly got the stats to match (139 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, three fumble recoveries in his senior season) his attitude.
I don’t know that he’ll be better or as good as Curran was, but he certainly will be one to watch over the next two to three seasons.