All throughout the offseason, the call was for the big bodies. After a two year stretch of some of the worst offensive line play of the Tedford era, we wanted guys who could bring the blocking and protect the quarterback. The guys we had weren't up to par, and they weren't doing the job game in, game out. Whiff here, holding there, sack everywhere. It needed to improve in a hurry.
While some of this has been rectified by the return of Coach Michalzcik, Cal needs quality offensive linemen talent to return the Bears to the top of the conference. Cal has gotten a big commit from perhaps their strongest local prospect when Freddie Tagaloa from Richmond made the call. Ryan Gorcey originally reported the story via a source, Jim McGill confirmed it today.
"I've chosen the University of California for it's outstanding reputation as a top academic research institution," said Tagaloa. "Getting a degree from Cal puts you on a great track for life.
"Secondly, Cal plays in an incredibly competitive Pac 12 conference and it's an opportunity to play against the best players in the nation.
"Third, it's close to home. I'm very close to my family and by playing at Cal, it will give my family the opportunity to watch every game I play at home. And it will give the same opportunity to other family and friends.
"I'm also really impressed with the new High Performance Center at Cal and the commitment the university's made to supporting student athletes there, not only on the field and in the weightroom but also with their academic support system. It's just phenomenal what they have going there."
After the jump, more details on Tagaloa's recruitment, plus junior video. Welcome to Cal, Freddie! GO BEARS!
Tagaloa has a lot of raw physical talent (6'8", 300 pounds) with excellent fundamentals. Here's what his coach has to say about Freddie.
"Freddie's 6'7" and weighs 310 and he's built like a 6'2" point guard. It's ridiculous.
"What he does that those other guys didn't do is he started on the varsity basketball team as a freshman and we won 90 games with him. Last year in the semifinal game -one game away from the state championship, he had a 25 point, 10 rebound, five dunk, seven block game. Are you kidding me? To say man among boys, that was literally as true as you'll ever see. You just don't see athleticism like his."
I don't believe Freddie is playing basketball in college, but it'd be most intriguing if he changed his mind and tried to do both. Still, football is where he can be a true gamechanger.
With Mitchell Schwartz departing, Cal is going to be very low on tackle depth. Tagaloa has an excellent chance to crack the two-deep, and I definitely think he can start by 2013.
He has been invited to the Semper Fidels All-American Bowl along with current Cal commits Michael Barton, Zach Hoffpauir, Hardy Nickerson Jr., and Bryce Treggs. Tom Lemming of CBS Sports has this to say in his blurb promoting the East Bay talent.
In person there is no more impressive looking high school tackle in the country than Mr. Tagaloa. He has the look of an LT and he also plays like one. An outstanding run blocker, he has an aggressive style of play, is very athletic, can bend his knees and shows good hand placement and technique. Has an excellent punch and shows the athletic ability to slide and mirror and cut off speed rushers. The scouts have been impressed with his quick footwork and flexibility. For most of the 2010 season he was dominating LW, enough so that very few defensive players even tried to take him on one-on-one. A powerhouse of a tackle, he dominates to the point of attack and is quick enough to effectively block linebackers on the second level. One of the country's finest.
Tagaloa picked Cal over schools like Oregon, USC and the Furd (the three other schools that were primarily considered contenders). Ten other Pac-12 programs and luminaries like Alabama, Florida, and Notre Dame offered, but it was the Bears that fended them all off to land the local prospect.
Tosh was Tagaloa's main recruiter. I feel like I need to refer to him on a first name basis at this point.
Here are the recruiting rankings for Tagaloa from the assorted services.
- Rivals: 226th in Rivals250, 28th best offensive tackle, 27th best recruit in California.
- 247Sports: 216th in Top247, 23rd best offensive tackle, 25th best recruit in California.
- ESPN: 37th best offensive tackle, 32nd best recruit in California
- Scout: 39th best offensive tackle.
Video (junior year highlights) after the jump. If having trouble viewing, click here.