The 90 Illini #51: Henry Dickinson July 12, 2012
6′-4″, 215 lbs.
Sophomore (on scholarship, 3 years to play 3)
University HS / Memphis, Tennessee
ALE Ranking last year: #77
What I Know About Him:
I know Vic Koenning loved him. When I got the chance to chat with Vic at the KFHB, I asked him who the future stars of this defense would be. First name he said was Darrius Caldwell (“he can be better than any bandit I’ve coached since DeMarcus Ware if he works as hard as Mercilus and Buchanan have worked these last two years”). The second name he mentioned was Dickinson. Said he had a lot to learn, but that he has linebacker instincts you can’t teach. Dickinson fit what he wanted to do with his linebackers perfectly.
Now the question is… does he fit what Tim Banks wants to do with his linebackers? In Koenning’s D, he basically had two middle linebackers – one on the strong side and one on the weak side. I think Koenning had his eye on Dickinson to play the weak side. We’ll have to wait until this fall to see how Tim Banks will align his linebackers (and where he’ll use Dickinson).
What I Expect From Him:
The only sure thing in our linebacking corps is #BadNewsBrown. He starts in the middle and makes a run at Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Because why not? After that, I could go any direction. True freshman TaJarvis Fuller pushes Ashante Williams for playing time at the Star linebacker position. Houston Bates starts at Will, but Dickinson pushes him. Ralph Cooper is the backup middle linebacker, but will freshman TJ Neal push him for his spot on the depth chart. And what do we do with redshirt freshman Zeph Grimes, who was Scout Team Player of the Year?
My guess is that all of that slots Dickinson as a Will linebacker where he battles with Houston Bates for the next three years. But again, that depends on how Banks will use his linebackers. Maybe he has more typical Will and Mike roles and Dickinson eventually moves to the Mike. Maybe he was the perfect Will in Koenning’s eyes but won’t find a role with Banks.
And maybe, if I can dream, maybe we take his 6′-4″ frame, put 35 lbs on him like we did with former Will linebacker Justin Staples, and maybe Dickinson eventually moves to Leo defensive end. Or maybe Houston Bates does that. What I’m really saying: ask me at the end of August.