With the conclusion (OR NOT?!) of the 2012 recruiting season, its time to dive right in to the next wave of potential Golden Bears. Yes, the 2013 recruiting season is under way. Cal will be hosting an impressive group of recruits for it's Elite Junior Day this weekend in Berkeley.
This is really just a partial list as the full slate of attendees is not really public knowledge until the weekend has actually concluded. Things could change as well, but the recruits noted below at least intend to be at Cal this weekend. Still, there will be a whole lot of stars assembling in Berkeley if all these recruits make it.
And just in case anyone was wondering, the 2013 CGB Recruiting Board is being worked on. There's a lack of sufficient rankings right now to finish it off. Once the rankings are fully updated on the various sites, we'll start adding it to these posts for those that like to have it as a reference.
Aaron Cochran, OT Buhach Colony (Atwater, CA). I think we're all pretty familiar with Aaron at this point. But just in case...he's a must-get for this class. His height ranges anywhere between 6'6-6'8, and his weight could be between 320 and 340, depending on the recruiting service. I tend to think Aaron is on the taller and heavier side of that spectrum. A consensus 4 star tackle prospect, Aaron is not in a rush to make his college decision($). That's kind of a bummer, as this class could use a high-profile commit to encourage others to join as well. That's what my Texas buddies call "the bell cow". Seems a tad emasculating and degrading to me though. Bell Bear maybe? Meh. Still, between older brother Matt being a Bear and the family's affinity for Cal, I like our chances whenever Aaron decides to make a decision.
Michael Hutchings, LB De La Salle (Concord, CA). Yet another elite prospect, Hutchings boasts an impressive offer list. Cal offered him back in May of 2011, and his list has steadily grown since then with most of the Pac-12 following suit, along with Tennessee, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma, and more. Hutchings possesses great size at 6'2, 210 lbs, and is listed as a 4 or 5 star recruit depending on the ranking service. As of December, Hutchings listed a top 5 of USC, Cal, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon. Alas, that was prior to Tosh heading to UW. but it was also prior to USC LB Coach Joe Barry leaving for the NFL. SC may still be tough to beat, but with 2012 Spartan teammate Mike Barton in the fold at Cal, we have a shot.
Eddie Vanderdoes, DL Placer (Auburn, CA). Vanderdoes is another elite national prospect hailing from Northern California (Auburn, CA). He has tremendous size and strength and would be a great SDE in our 3-4 defense. Cal was one of the first offers he received...courtesy of Tosh... #sadbear. He has since received interest from the rest of the Pac 12, along with some programs back east. He's no stranger to Cal however, as his grandfather was a Golden Bear. He's visited unoffically a couple times as well. Eddie made the trip to SoCal last week to check out both UCLA and USC. He's also interested in Oregon and Washington (predictably). Hopefully Coach Howard and co will be able to develop a strong relationship with Eddie and show him that Cal is the right place for him.
Justin Davis, RB Lincoln (Stockton, CA). Hailing out of nearby Stockton, Davis is pretty much the best running back prospect in the state this year, and in my opinion, second only to Oregon commit Thomas Tyner in the West. Davis amassed an impressive 2380 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns last year, and shined in games against such tough competition as Grant-Sacramento, Pleasant Grove, Sheldon, and Elk Grove-Franklin. He's a powerful runner who shows great strength and ability to break tackles. We've been recruiting Davis hard as running back is a big need this year. He came back from SC with a coveted offer, so the competition will be stiff. Must-get.
Zack Greenlee, QB Lincoln (Stockton, CA). Davis' Lincoln teammate, signal-caller Zack Greenlee, will also be making the trip to Berkeley from Stockton this weekend. Although there's been no offer yet, Greenlee has been hearing from Cal, along with BYU, Washington and UCLA. He threw for 2450 yards and 22 touchdowns last season, while leading Lincoln to an 11-2 record. The 6'2, 185 QB is looking forward to garnering more interest going into his senior season. Greenlee and Davis may be the top 1-2 RB-QB punch in the West this year.
Chris Hawkins, CB Rancho Cucamonga (Rancho Cucamonga, CA). Hawkins has been a hot commodity in the last few weeks, pulling in several offers. He's a really good cornerback prospect, showing nice size, range and closing speed. He's also a really sharp dude, planning on graduating ealry so he can enroll for Spring at his college of choice. Hawkins visited SC last weekend, but did not come away with an offer. He currently lists Cal as one of his top three schools, along with Stanford and UCLA.
Tahaan Goodman, S Rancho Cucamonga (Rancho Cucamonga, CA). Hawkins' teammate Tahaan Goodman is another prized 4 star recruit in the Rancho Cucamonga secondary. Goodman is a safety who has also seen his stock soar in the last couple weeks. Sporting current offers from Arizona, Boise State, Cal, Colorado, Nebraska, SDSU, and Washington State, Goodman also just received an offer from Texas A&M yesterday. He has good size for a safety and would be a qaulity addition to the class at a position of need. He and Hawkins have hinted that they would like to play toegether at the next level too.
Max Redfield, S Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, CA). Redfield is garnering both regional and national attention as a safety prospect, grabbing an offer from SC during his Junior Day visit last weekend. He currently lists a top 3 of Oregon, SC, and Notre Dame, but is excited to visit Cal this weekend. We will likely offer him in person. He has great size for a safety at 6'2, 195 lbs and is an impressive athlete. Rivals ranks him as the #30 overall prospect in 2013. Let's hope we can impress him this weekend.
Terrell Newby, RB Chaminade (West Hills, CA). Newby has been getting attention from several PAc-12 programs after rushing for 1440 yards and 18 touchdowns last season for Chaminade Colleg Prep in Los Angeles. He received an invite to our Elite Junior Day late last week. Where Davis is more of a punishing runner, Newby brings more speed and elusiveness to the table. He's explosive at 5/10, 185 lbs.
Robert McGee, OL Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, CA). McGee is a strong guard prospect out of an Oaks Christian program that has produced such recent Cal decommits as Cassius Marsh and Jordan Payton. End snark. McGee currently sports a Colorado offer, and is built like a bulldozer. It's likely that Coach M sees something here he really likes, and that works for me. Tape on McGee is limited, so I'll trust the guy who knows a thing or two about OL prospects on this one. It would be nice to grab a commit from Oaks Christian and actually keep him.
Austin Hooper, DE/TE De La Salle (Concord, CA). Hooper is another prospect out of the storied De La Salle program in Concord. Measuring at 6'4, 235 lbs, he tallied 10.5 sacks last year as a defensive end, but could play tight end as well. Originally sporting an offer from Northwestern, Hooper gained four more offers on Monday from Army, Washington, Oregon State and Colorado. Then Arizona State offered on Tuesday! Hooper is a good prospect, and I'd like to see us offer him this weekend. He's long, versatile and athletic. Sort out where exactly to play him later. I think we'd stand a strong chance of securing a commitment if we don't slow play him.
Darrell Daniels, WR Freedom (Oakley, CA). Daniels is another elite local guy, hailing out of Freedom High School in Oakley. He currently has three Pac-12 offers from Colorado, Oregon State and UCLA. I'd expect us to offer him this weekend. He has great size at 6'4, 205 lbs and the athleticism to match. A consensus 4 star recruit, 247 sports lists Daniels as the #9 WR prospect in the country. We need a bigger body WR, and we likely will only take one or two WR's this year. I'd have to think Daniels would be the perfect fit for that need in this class. Must-get.
LJ Moore, S Central East (Fresno, CA). Moore is one of a trio of highly touted Fresno area DB's, along with fellow safety Hatari Byrd and CB Johnny Johnson. I don't know if Byrd or Johnson are planning to attend this weekend, but Moore is ($). Like Tahaan Goodman, Moore has protypical safety size at 6'2, 185 lbs. He has a Cal offer to go along with ones from ASU, Eastern Michigan, UCLA, UNLV and Washington. Moore also has a relationship with current Cal RB and former Central East teammate Brendan Bigelow, so that could work in our favor. Moore would be a great get at a need position, so hopefully his visit goes well.
Good group, yes? There will be more recruits in attendance...I just don't know who yet. As more names come out, I'll update in the comments though. This is a quality group, and 2013 is a good year for defensive backs. We will have a bunch of them in Berkeley, so hopefully we can fill some needs with this group. Other need spots, in my opinion, are defensive linemen, tight ends, and running backs. You'll notice a lack of tight ends listed above. Keep an eye out for JW North TE Marcus Baugh and Prestonwood Christian Academy's Christian Morgan. Not sure if Baugh will be there this weekend, but I know Morgan can't make it. Still, names worth knowing.
I don't know that we should anticipate any early commitments, at least not yet. Cochran seems like the only guy we clearly lead for at this juncture, so there is a lot of work yet to be done. It will be interesting to see how the staff approaches recruiting since the well-publicized debacle last month. I'm optimistic that they can rebound, but there's not much buzz around the program right now. Recruiting is a momentum thing, and comitments generate momentum when the season isn't going on. Winning helps more, but we can't control that at this juncture.
Are there future Bears in the above list? Who? Which guys do you covet? Please share your thoughts in the comments. Go Bears!