To get things started, I think Andy Buh was a strong choice for our D coordinator, and particularly because of his recruiting chops. Although he worked in Wisconsin last year, Buh still had strong ties with many California recruits from his years of working on the West Coast.
Here's a list of the California guys Buh was heavily recruiting while at Wisconsin. Undoubtedly, many of these relationships are likely still intact. Will Buh be able to flip the script on these recruits and now convince them to come to Berkeley? I hope so, there are definitely some pretty impressive names on this list, perhaps none more so than 4 star safety recruit, Tyler Foreman from Encino California.
Foreman committed a month ago, but has been heavy on Cal for a while now. Cal has gone after Foreman aggressively in the recruiting process, but the deal appeared to be done when he committed to Wisconsin last month. However, with the massive overhaul that the Wisconsin coaching staff is currently undergoing, Foreman may now be deciding to look elsewhere, and Cal appears to be one of the schools going after him vehemently.
Foreman's teammate, fellow Safety Brandon Arnold, would also have a shot to play alongside him if both of them decided to come to Cal. As of now, Arnold is a commit to Oregon State, but claimed to favor Cal heavily early on. Could these two safeties be convinced to come together as a packager? If I were one of them, nothing would please me more than to be able to play safety alongside one of my friends and teammates.
Another big boy of the bunch could be Placer defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, especially after his decommitment from USC last night.
USC likes to fill up their recruiting class early on with a bunch of solid verbals. If the recruit under performs in their season, or if USC finds a better recruit at the same position, then the SC coaching staff will start to give that recruit the cold shoulder. That may have happened with Vanderdoes, which is good news for us. He has an assortment of teams after him; most of the PAC-12 teams are going after him heavily. UCLA, Notre Dame, as well as us may be up there in his top favorites, but that is just conjecture. If we landed this guy, he would make this defensive class one to be reckoned with. He would be able to play immediately, and would clog up the middle. With Buh switching back to a 4-3, Vanderdoes would be an immediate candidate to plug holes inside.
Another local possibility is Petaluma DL Elijah Qualls, who might welcome a new coaching staff. Qualls remains a solid Washington commit, but he's willing to take visits ($) and expect Cal to be one of them. Hopefully he keeps an open mind, as he's someone who can play either along the line or even line up at fullback in the Dykes/Franklin offense.
LB Koa Kaleopaa from La Mirada definitely has Cal in the mix, placing them in the top five overall. Arkansas, Ole Miss, Nevada and UCLA are also listed.
From North Bay to East Bay, Cal LB recruit Victor Egu just helped win his team another state championship. Egu had a good game against Cameron Hunt's team, Centennial. After the game the two got together for some photo opportunities. Good stuff
Future Cal teammates Victor Egu (DLS) and Cameron Hunt (CC) after the Open Division game... twitter.com/BrandonHuffman…— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) December 16, 2012
Egu looks to be a solid commit at this point, and has said that he is excited to work with the new coaching staff at Cal.
Egu isn't the only De La Salle linebacker Buh probably would love to get. Austin Hooper (who could moonlight as either an outside linebacker or defensive end) is also very much considering the Bears. Cal is considered one of those schools with a puncher's chance along with Furd, Oregon and Washington.
Here's a recent interview Hooper did with ESPN.
Hooper's recruitment will likely last late into January as he goes through his visits. Don't expect a decision anytime soon.
And there is yet a THIRD De La Salle linebacker who might be interested in Cal. David "D.J." Moffitt currently lists Cal, Oregon and Washington as his three favorites, but as of yet he doesn't have an offer from any of these schools. Moffitt is a good talent who deserves a look if the Bears need an extra linebacker, although at this point Cal probably has more pressing needs with their scholarships.
Like cornerbacks. Cornerbacks!
Loyola CB Cameron Walker seems to be another solid commit. He has already taken several visits to other schools: Wisconsin and Boise. However, it looks like Buh was heavily recruiting him while he was at Wisconsin, so I find it very unlikely that Buh would let him get away now that he is a coach at the school that Walker has committed to.
Similar to Walker, CB Darius Allensworth came away very impressed with the new defensive coordinator.
Walker and Allensworth both made official visits to Wisconsin, Walker in November and Allensworth in October. Walker also hosted an in-home visit with Buh a couple weeks ago.
"I have a pretty good relationship with him," he said. "I actually had no idea he was even in the running, kind of a pleasant surprise. He's a great coach. I know he knows what he's doing, he has done really good things with his linebackers at Wisconsin."
Allensworth was equally pleased.
"If it was going to be anyone, I wanted it to be Coach Buh," Allensworth said Sunday night. "He's a great man, so if anyone, I would like for it to be him."
Allensworth recently underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL up in Berkeley.
The Georgia combination of CB Trey Cheek & CB Shon Akins still are up in the air. Cheek seems happy with the new coaching staff, and Akins earned first-team All Defense honors in the state of Georgia.
Finally, there's cornerback L.J. Moore, who remains silent as ever about his recruiting status. Texas Tech, UCLA, Oregon State and Notre Dame have received official visits from Moore, so you have to imagine they're on the short list. Arizona State gets the final official, and unless Moore plans on making more unofficials to Cal, this is probably an uphill battle.
LB Chad Whitener out of Mansfield High School in Texas appears to be another solid Bear. Chad was recently rewarded as the Defensive Player of the Year by the Fort Worth First Down Club.
"Chad Whitener, Mansfield High School Senior Linebacker, was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year by the Fort Worth 1st Down Club. He was presented the award at their first awards banquet on Thursday, December 6 at the Omni Hotel in Fort Worth. Awards were given to the best high school players in the area on offense and defense as well as the high school coach of the year. Proceeds from the banquet benefitted the LaDainian Tomlinson Touching Lives Foundation. Chad is a captain for the Mansfield High football team and a three-year starter. He had 135 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, two interceptions, four sacks and two fumble recoveries during the season. He plans to attend University of California next fall. "
LaDanian Tomlinson presented Whitener the award, so it had to have been an awesome experience for him.
Local DE Takkarist McKinley is starting to gain some significant notoriety on the state and national level. He goes to John F. Kennedy, which I believe is not a major football power; this is probably why he has been such an under the radar recruit (he's not even ranked on ESPN). At the Cal State game, McKinley was noted as being the top performer at a California all-star game.
"He’s not often mentioned among the top defenders in the state of California but McKinley should be. He’s a freak athlete that can run a 10.6 in the 100 at 6-3, 240 pounds. On Saturday night he showcased that speed as an edge rusher and a high-motor defender."
Unfortunately the new coaching staff might not be sure whether they're keeping him on or not. McKinley supposedly had a major fall out with his head coach, and left the practice field during the middle of team exercises one day. There also seems to be significant academic concerns here. This new coaching staff is definitely going to shy away from kids who they don't think can compete academically at Cal, seeing how the most recent graduation rate report was a major factor in Tedford's dismissal. Dykes knows that his position as head coach will always be precarious until those graduation rates increase.
Cal also recently offered another CB, Patrick Enweally this week.
Patrick Enewally was offered by Cal today— Chris Swanson (@ChrisPSwanson) December 24, 2012
Washington is probably the favorite for this guy, and UCLA is likely his second, but Cal appears to be in the running now. Just like at other positions like wide receiver and offensive line Cal seems to be looking to take on as many defensive backs as possible to offset all the roster disparities that seem to currently exist.