Golden Recruits 2012: Early Targets before Summer Camps

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CGB's 2012 Golden Recruiting coverage began w/ seasoned reporters/bloggers' observations into Zach Kline (I, II), Shaq ThompsonBryce TreggsFreddie TagaloaGavin Andrews, and Hardy Nickerson Jr. It's time we get to know more national recruits Cal is targeting for 2012 before summer camps begin.

My list is in no way comprehensive. Coaches should be hitting the recruiting trail following the conclusion of spring practice. Feel free to discuss other prominent recruits in the comments section.

2010 and 2011 were great recruiting classes for Cal. 2012 could be even bigger for Tedford & Co [1].

Byron Marshall, RB
Valley Christian Warriors
San Jose, CA
5-10/195


Byron did not attend Cal's Valley Christian open practice. He was visiting Cameron, his brother, at ASU [2]. Byron is one of the more important recruits since Cal will most likely only take 1 or 2 RBs in the 2012 class. His strength, vision, and track speed will be a tremendous asset.

Arik Armstead, DT
Pleasant Grove Eagles
Elk Grove, CA
6-8/280


Armstead is the consensus 5 star recruit in the 2012 class. He can be an outstanding OT or DT w/ his size & athleticism. Arik's preference is to play defense if I recall correctly. I've seen Arik at a couple of home games. He always seemed to enjoy his unofficial visits to Berkeley. Armond, Arik's brother, does play for USC though. The Trojans are formidable in the recruiting game. If Arik eventually decides to come to Cal it'd be a coup for NorCal football.

Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, TE
Whitney Wildcats
Rocklin, CA
6-5/250


JCF is a physical specimen. He and Arik have been friends from football & basketball. Cal is in good position to land one of the more coveted TEs from the West Coast.

Dalis Bruce, CB/WR
Monte Vista Mustangs
Danville, CA
5-10/170


David, Dalis' father, is a Cal alumnus. David & Brian Treggs are both strength & conditioning coaches for California Strength. Dalis broke out at Nike Football Training Camp (NFTC) at USC playing wide receiver. He is good friends w/ Zach Kline & Bryce Treggs. There's good chance that on National Signing Day, Cal Strength will send Coach Tedford a pleasant package.

Tee Shepard, CB
Central Grizzlies
Fresno, CA
6-1/175


A former teammate of Brendon Bigelow, Shepard verbally committed to the Irish w/o visiting. Tee came to visit Berkeley unofficially last year and during the Elite Junior Day. National Signing Day is still months away. Brendon and the coaches have plenty of time to convince his former teammate and Army All-American to change his mind.

Aziz Shittu, DT
Buhach Colony Thunder
Atwater, CA
6-2/275


One of the fast rising recruits on the national scene, Shittu received his Cal scholarship offer when he visited Berkeley unofficially. Tiny Moala could be getting some new friends in the future.  Aziz's strength & quick feet will allow him to get into the backfield to pressure QBs and stop RBs.

Jordan Payton, WR
Oaks Christian Lions
West Village, CA
6-2/200


A big target for his QBs, Payton looks to have an extra gear that creates separation. Jordan came to Cal's Elite Junior Day and there's a chance that Cal can sway him away from the Trojans.

Kyle Murphy, OT
San Clemente Tritons
San Clemente, CA
6-7/275


Kyle possesses exceptional strength to bury opposing linemen and pave the way for his RB. He has been busy this spring visiting USC, Stanford, Oregon, and Cal. Coach M can shore up one of the best OT classes in recent memory by focusing on the Cali recruits. 

Jordan Simmons, OT
Crespi Celts
Encino, CA
6-5/333


Another attendee to Cal's Elite Junior Day, Simmons dominated NFTC USC and was named OL MVP.

"The first thing that stood out to me about Simmons was his skinny ankles,'' said Tom Luginbill, ESPN.com's national director of scouting. "He is nimble-footed and very athletic, given his size. But he is not a tackle, strictly a guard. For a 300-pounder, he moves around nicely and showed a bit of a competitive streak as well [3].''

Ellis McCarthy, DT
Monrovia Wildcats
Monrovia, CA
6-5/295



Ellis is runner-up to Aziz Shittu for defensive linemen MVP honors at NFTC USC. He looks to have speed and skills to play DT or DE to help Coach P pressure QBs.

Taylor McNamara, TE
Westview Wolverines
San Diego, CA
6-5, 235


Taylor & JCF make up the one-two punch for West Coast TEs in 2012. He visited Berkeley unofficially a couple of weekends ago [$4] and had a great time. Cal is in a good position to land both JCF & McNamara. With Richard Rodgers Jr and Jacob Wark in the mix, the future at TE appears promising.

Stefon Diggs, WR
Good Counsel Falcons
Olney, CA
6-0/175


Cal seems to be in the mix w/ FSU, Florida, Miami, USC, and MD for the WR/S prospect who looks up to DJax. A mature route runner w/ speed to spare, Diggs could emerge as the second coming of KA21. The loss of Tevin Carter should open up plenty of opportunities for Stefon if and should he decide to play offense.

Joshua Garnett, OT
Puyallup Vikings
Puyallup, WA
6-5/275


Josh is the son of former Husky Scott Garnett. He is a versatile athlete recruit who can grow into playing tackle at the college level. A fair number of Washington recruits leave the state. Deandre Coleman is now competing for a staring spot on the Golden Bears defensive line. W/ the current offensive line situation Josh will be a fine project for the future. 

KeiVarae Russell, RB
Mariner Marauders
Everett, WA
6-0/175


Russell is the lightning to Byron Marshall's thunder. A RB who's adapt at turning the corner and murder defenses in open space, KeiVarae has talked about joining Byron at Cal as the future 1-2 punch. Hope the coaches will take a chance on both Byron & KeiVarae.

Zach Banner, OT
Lakes Lancers
Lakewood, WA
6-9/300


Banner received both football & basketball scholarship offers from Cal. Coach Tedford & Monty are flexible enough to let him try both sports. We could be looking at some football/basketball crossovers in the future w/ Zach & Richard Rodgers.

GO BEARS!

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