Hello again, ladies and germs. In the continuing efforts to familiarize everyone with Cal's 2013 recruiting targets, we're breaking things down by position group. Last week, we looked at the running backs and discussed how stocking up with at least two commitments would be ideal, what with some attrition imminent. This week, we're looking at wide receivers.
Going into the 2012 season, we're counting on Keenan Allen to do Keenan Allen things, and for his cousin Maurice Harris to step up and fill the shoes of Marvin Jones. We stocked up in the 2012 recruiting class, bringing in 5 wide receivers in Bryce Treggs, Darius Powe, Cedric Dozier, Chris Harper and Kenny Lawler. At least two of those guys will be counted on to contribute immediately. We also moved redshirt freshman Joel Willis from defensive back to wide receiver. Add in talented walkons like Jackson Bouza, Ross Bostock and Stephen Anderson, and this looks like a group with talent but almost zero experience outside of KA.
We can safely assume that we'll lose KA to the NFL Draft after the 2012 season. With a lot of wideouts already in the fold and minimal attrition, we're not going to be loading up on wide receivers in the 2013 class. I'd be stunned if we take more than two...so it's important for us to be cautious and selective with our offers. Thus far, the staff seems to have taken such an approach...offering some elite prospects (mostly in-state) as well as a productive, under the radar kid from out of state. Below we'll look at the guys who have been offered, and other targets the staff is showing some interest in. All uncommitted thus far. Highlight links can be found by clicking on the name. Read on, reader.
Darrell Daniels WR, Freedom (Oakley, CA). If you've paid attention to my past posts on the 2013 recruits, you already know that Darrell Daniels is a guy that I covet. Where to start? First off, he's local...from just over in Oakley. This is a year where I really want to see us keep the Bay Area talent at home. Daniels qualifies. Second, he's really good...big, fast and strong. You can't have enough big bodies at wide receiver, and we don't have all that many aside from KA, Maurice Harris, Anderson and Powe. Kenny Lawler needs to beef up a bit. At 6'4/205, Daniels is a matchup nightmare; big enough to outleap defensive backs and fast enough to run by them (he ran a 10.74 100m recently). He's also versatile; capable of running the ball (4 rushing touchdowns last year) or returning kicks. If we only take 1 wide receiver this cycle, I'd be thrilled if it was Daniels. The competition for him will be stiff though; he's sitting at roughly 18 offers, including one from SC extended last week.
Steven Mitchell, WR Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills, CA). I discussed Mitchell in the SoCal recruiting post a couple weeks ago, but he's good enough to warrant some additional thoughts. He's an explosive athlete, showing some awesome burst and quickness. He creates space with ease and few defensive backs can handle him one-on-one at the high school level. He's also a solid route runner, which when combined with his natural agility makes him that much more impressive. Size is the only drawback to Mitchell's game at 5'11/175, but he should be able to add bulk to his frame with time. It hasn't stopped many top national programs from taking notice though; he's sitting at almost 20 offers. Cal offered Mitchell back in late March, Coach Chandler's first offer as Cal's wide receiver coach. Mitchell has no intention to commit any time soon, however; planning to wait until January to announce. He has stated he'd like offers from SC and Oregon in particular, but I think we have a shot.
Sebastian LaRue, ATH Santa Monica (Santa Monica, CA). LaRue has also been discussed here before. Not just because he's good, but also because he's a unique athlete that does many things well. Good things happen when he touches the ball; to the tune of 18 receiving touchdowns, 4 interceptions on defense, and 4 kick return touchdowns last season for Santa Monica. Like Mitchell, he's explosive. When he finds space, it's pretty much over; he can leave defenders in the dust, or break their ankles with some serious moves. While he's doesn't have the size of a guy like Daniels, he's got a strong build at 5'11/185. He plays bigger than he is; willing to go after jump balls with good leaping ability and showing nice strength when pressed. His athleticism reminds me of Cedric Dozier, and I don't think you can have too many guys with those skills. LaRue is another 20+ offer guy who intends to take his time in the recruiting process. Cal offered LaRue last month, and he's a big Desean Jackson fan. Watching his film, you can see why. My gut says UCLA and Washington could be the primary threats for him as of now, but a visit to Cal should help a lot in making up some ground.
Demorea Stringfellow, WR Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, CA). Cal offered Stringfellow last Friday, joining a hefty list of suitors like Florida, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. He's a prototypical #1 outside wide receiver; big, fast and strong. He has a great burst off the line and has the body to handle smaller defensive backs at 6'3/200. He plays with a lot of physicality as you would expect, but also is fundamentally sound. Stringfellow's stats from last season attest to a guy who can make big plays; totalling 46 catches for 1008 yards and 16 touchdowns. I don't know where Cal stands with him currently, but he's stated he plans to take all of his visits and make a decision late in the process. With no stated leaders, this one will be interesting to monitor. EDIT: SC just offered Stringfellow yesterday. Wouldn't be shocked if he committed sooner than later. SANCTIONS!
Macan Wilson, WR Kinkaid (Houston, TX). We reportedly offered Wilson last Thursday, and this one made me raise my eyebrows a bit. That is, until I did a little research and watched his highlights. Last season, Wilson caught 91 passes for 1639 yards and 25 touchdowns. That came after a sophomore year that saw him surpass 1200 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. The numbers alone are impressive, but Wilson is more than just production. His film really impressed me. He's instinctive, doesn't fear contact and plays smart. And he's really fast. At 6'1/185, he could play outside or in the slot. Cal was Wilson's third offer, behind Northwestern and New Mexico. There will be more. He appeared ready to commit to Northwestern, but seems pretty excited about the Cal offer now. I'd be very happy with a commitment from Wilson. Watch his highlights and I think you'll agree.
Ra'Shaad Samples, WR Skyline (Dallas, TX). We offered Samples early, and then just about everyone else did. Sitting at almost 30 offers including ones from Texas, SC, and Ohio State, Samples is taking his time and enjoying the process. I'm personally a bit surprised that he elected not to commit to Texas already, and it looks like Austin may not be his final destination at this point. The 6'0/170 Samples hauled in 19 touchdowns last year for Texas powerhouse Dallas Skyline. He's a terrific route runner with enough speed to find space. I do not consider Cal a factor in his recruitment as of now.
Julius Wilson, WR Culver City (Culver City, CA). Wilson claims a Cal offer, but i don't know if that's accurate. That said, I wouldn't be disappointed if he had one. The Culver City standout is a burner, and his speed is on display frequently when he's getting behind secondaries or running by them with the ball in his hand. Another guy who's dangerous in the open field, Wilson is a real playmaking threat. He's lanky at 6'2/175, and also stars on the hoops court for Culver City. With offers from 9 schools including Nebraska, Illinois, Washington, and UCLA, Wilson will take his time and take his visits. I don't know where he factors into Cal's plans or priorities for recruiting the position, so it will be interesting to see what develops in the Fall with Wilson poised for a big year.
ON THE RADAR
Below are a few wide receiver recruits that Cal is showing an interest in, but no offers yet.
Demun Mercer, WR/ATH La Marque (Houston, TX). Mercer was a dual-threat quarterback for Chavez High School in Houston before transferring to La Marque for his senior season. As a sophomore, the 6'2/175 pound Mercer threw for almost 1700 yards and 21 touchdowns, and also rushed for 985 yards and another 13 touchdowns. Yes, he's an athlete. He projects as a wide receiver at the next level. He has the speed, agility and athleticism to make the transition too. Hard to glean much from his highlights though, since they show him as a quarterback. Currently holding an offer from Rice, Cal is one of a few schools showing interest in Mercer.
Devon Allen, WR Brophy Prep (Phoenix, AZ). Allen is a guy with elite speed, running a 10.49 100 meter dash and a 20.75 200 in last weekend's State Championship races. That speed relates to the football field pretty damn well, too. He has a great burst off the ball, and really good change of direction. He also plays tough, not afraid of contact. He also has a solid build at 6'0/185. And he's a big-play threat, catching 44 passes for 844 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior. Cal has yet to offer Allen, but I don't think he minds; he's received over 20 offers already. We have shown interest, but I'd consider this a long shot until either an offer or a visit materialize.
Xavier Shepherd, WR Lakewood (Lakewood, CA). A former teammate of Cal redshirt frosh Todd Barr and 2012 commit Darius Powe, Xavier Shepherd looks to be yet another elite recruit for Lakewood. The 5'9/165 pound Shepherd is a small but explosive receiver who plays the slot well and is also dangerous in the return game. Cal is showing interest, as are several more Pac-12 schools. Shepherd already has offers from Oregon State, UCLA, Colorado and Utah. Seems to be favoring UCLA and Oregon State as of now.
Jermaine Kelly, WR Salesian (Los Angeles, CA). Cal is showing a fair amount of interest in the 6'2/185 pound Kelly, and he's slowing down his recruitment as he sees more programs getting involved. Initially favoring UCLA, ASU and Hawaii, Kelly will take his time now with Cal, Oregon State, SDSU, and the Michigan schools starting to come on. Kelly's stock has risen thanks to some nice performances on the camp and 7-on-7 circuits. He has nice size, and is athletic enough to play on either side of the ball. I like him as wide receiver.
Da'Mari Scott, WR Cathedral (Los Angeles, CA). Scott is a little under the radar, but had some nice showings at a few camps recently. He currently holds offers from Fresno State and Boston College. He's a versatile athlete who can also play option quarterback or safety, but looks really good as a wide receiver. He runs sharp routes, has good speed and really nice hands. He has good size at 6'1/185 too. Cal is showing interest, but Scott looks like a guy that we will hold off on offering until some of the higher rated guys have made decisions.
Cliff Betson, WR Salesian (Richmond, CA). As you could probably tell from the "highlight" link, there's not a lot of film or data out there on Salesian's Cliff Betson. What I do see is a big, physical wide receiver who can jump and runs pretty good routes. Hopefully his senior season will bring some legit film. Betson has said that both Cal and UCLA are showing him a fair amount of attention. He's visited both campuses and seems to really like Cal. With Jahvid Best and Freddie Tagaloa coming to Berkeley before him, keeping a pipeline to Salesian open would certainly have some benefits. We'll see what kind of season Betson has and where his recruitment goes from there.
Jack Austin, WR Chino Hills (Chino Hills, CA). Austin is another big receiver at 6'3/200 pounds. He tallied 62 catches for 941 yards and 11 touchdowns last year for Chino Hills. He has great hands, strength and displays really nice body control while going up for some tough catches. He's not the fastest guy, but a strong nose for the football compensates for a lack of speed. He also is a really good route-runner, something that is not given enough weight, in my opinion. He currently holds offers from Boise State and Utah, but Cal and several other Pac-12 schools are interested. Austin has seen his stock rise thanks to some really dominant camp showings. Keep your eye on him this fall.
Dominic Gomes, WR Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, CA). From nearby Bishop O'Dowd, Gomes is a local guy who is pretty under the radar as of now. He attended the Cal Spring game and Junior Day a couple weeks ago. His stats are eye opening; averaging an absurd 32.86 yards per catch. Plays like the 99 yard touchdown on his highlight certainly skewed that average a bit. He still caught 35 balls for 1150 yards and 13 touchdowns though. DEEP THREAT. Gomes is 5'11/175 pounds and has some nice moves and speed. I don't know where he factors into the plan for WR recruiting this year, but a guy like that in our backyard is not a bad thing. He does lack consistent production, so Gomes is likely a Plan B or C prospect at this point.
Larves Jones, WR Fort Scott CC (Fort Scott, KS). We look to a junior college in Kansas for this installment's final entry. At 6'4/210, Larves Jones is a big, smooth wideout who was a non-qaulifier out of high school. He redshirted at Fort Scott last year, so he has yet to play a down of Junior College football. Still, his size and speed is intriguing. The Cal staff took a trip to lovely Fort Scott to check him out. So have Penn State, SMU, Nebraska and Louisiana Tech. With a good season, offers should start coming in for Jones. Cal, like other interested schools, are probably in a wait and see mode right now. He looks pretty good in the highlights from Fort Scott's Spring ball.
Interesting group of prospects in an interesting year. Since we can be selective with our offers and takes, we should be selective with our offers and takes. The staff has been methodical and deliberate with their WR offers, and that's good. But to ensure that we get the best couple guys that we can, I hope that they're aggressive and persuasive once that offer is on the table.
I'm very interested in how our WR recruiting goes this year for a couple reasons. First, I'm curious to see just how Coach Chandler handles a full recruiting cycle. He's new to it, how will it go? Second, we don't have to take any wide receivers this year. There's a high likelihood that two or three of our 5 takes from the 2012 class will redshirt next year. The staff will need to weigh whether a 2013 guy is worth adding. I feel like the each of the guys we've offered thus far are worth it. If we miss on them, will the staff be willing to reach on a guy, or will they be content to wait until next year? They could. Wide receiver is a luxury add this year, but not a necessity (like running backs and defensive backs). But it's no fun talking about us NOT taking a wide receiver in 2013. So I don't like that option. Personally, give me Darrell Daniels and either LaRue or Macan Wilson and call it a day. Or just Daniels. Yeah, that works too.
Who do you want? Who do you think we'll get? Please share, because none of us are as dumb as all of us.