Hi all. Over the last couple months, we've been previewing Cal's recruiting needs and targets for each position group (QB and Special Teams excluded, as those posts would have been pretty short). As we approach actual football season, I thought it would be helpful to review each of those groups and the current state of it's recruiting. Namely, how many commits I think we'll be taking, how many commits we currently have, and who some of the key uncommitted targets are for that group. So that's what we'll be looking at today.
This review post also seems like a good opportunity to unveil the CGB 2013 Recruiting Board. Not too early, and not too late. This board will list Cal's commits and targets at each position; providing their measurables, rankings according to the four major recruiting services (Rivals, ESPN, 247, and Scout), commitment status/favorites (when known), and highlights (when available). This will be a living document, and I'll be keeping it updated for your reference as the recruiting season rolls on into next February. Give a look, and feel free to send me any omissions, thoughts, or vitriol as you see fit.
All of the guys we'll be discussing below are listed on the Board. I'd encourage you to check them out and provide your feedback on them...if you're into that. If not, just go ahead and read the below recap.
Projected commits: 1
Committed: Jared Goff, Marin Catholic (Kentfield, CA).
We're done here, barring any transfers of roster shakeups. Goff is a consensus 4-star prospect who loves Cal and has already been working hard to recruit others to join him. He's participating in the Elite 11 Finals this week in Redondo Beach, so be sure to check out the coverage on ESPNU. Goff is a tremendously accurate pocket passer, with a strong arm with a lanky frame at 6'4/190. A very good prospect.
Projected commits: 2
With DJ Martin off the board, we should be actively pursuing several guys as we need to bolster our depth here. We're looking really good for Chaminade RB Terrell Newby, firmly sitting in his top 4 along with Nebraska, Oregon and Washington. It really sounds like it's between us and the Huskers though. Newby has visited Cal multiple times and has a great relationship with Coach Gould. I think he ends up a Bear. The question is whether he commits this summer or takes some official visits in the Fall first. Either way, Newby is worth the wait. A strong runner with good quickness, vision and burst, he'd be a quality pickup. We're also in the top 3 for Alief Taylor (Houston, TX) big back Trevorris Johnson (6'1/215), along with Arky and Boise State. Johnson visited Cal with teammate Torrodney Prevot for the full-contact camp. A decision some time after the season is expected for Johnson. A bit of a longshot is Pennsylvania back David Williams, who lists Cal in his top 6. Until a visit materializes, I can't feel too confident about our chances of pulling the talented Williams out of the Midwest. Likewise for the all-namer Berkley Edwards; a faster, smaller back out of Michigan. Hard to say whether he can be lured out West despite Big 10 programs like Iowa and Minnesota offering, and programs like Notre Dame still evaluating him. Edwards has supposedly visited Cal, so we'll see if we continue to be a factor in his recruitment. Other backs to keep an eye on are Notre Dame speedster Khalfani Muhammad (not sure we're really in the mix for him), San Diego back Pierre Cormier (no Cal offer as of yet) and local products Olito Thompson (record-breaking rusher from Concord, CA) and Cal High's Karris Johnson (an athletic freak at 5'11/200 with a 10.89 100 meter dash).
Projected commits: 2
Committed: AJ Richardson, Narbonne (Harbor City, CA)
In a year where we're likely only taking two wide receivers (thanks to last year's grand haul), we secured our first commitment of the group last week in Narbonne's AJ Richardson. He's a solid, versatile wideout who has great hands, runs good routes and is good at creating space and getting open. At 6'1/185, Richardson also has the size and strength to create issues for smaller DB's. A guy like Lakewood's X'avier Shepherd would be a perfect complement to Richardson. Shepherd (6'/175) is a flashier player, with a bit more home run ability and a chance to make an impact in the kick return game too. We're looking good for Shepherd, but it remains to be seen whether he commits soon or waits for more interest and offers to come. Seems likely he would take official visits even if an early commitment happened. This is not a deep year for wide receivers out West, with the consensus top 5 guys already off the board: Demorea Stringfellow (UW), Steven Mitchell (SC), Sebastian LaRue (SC), Darren Carrington (UO), and Darrell Daniels (UW). Whether they all stick remains to be seen. A duo of Richardson and Shepherd looks likely here. Other potential guys to keep an eye on: Culver City's Julius Wilson, Long Beach Jordan playmaker John Ross and Brophy Prep (Phoenix, AZ) speedster Devon Allen.
Projected commits: 2
Committed: Ray Hudson, Foothill (Pleasanton, CA)
After whiffing on our top 4 TE targets in 2012 due to varying circumstances and ultimately taking JuCo transfer Harrison Wilfley late, Cal needed at least one tight end in 2013, and ideally will take 2. We got Foothill's Ray Hudson, which I'm very happy about. A wide receiver who is still growing into a tight end, Hudson brings the athleticism to exploit a defense with him, along with a blue-collar mentality that should see him develop into a good player for us. With most of the West Coast tight ends already committed elsewhere, Cal may or may not look to take one more with Hudson in the fold. We have an outside shot at Pierce CC TE Beau Sandland, who could make an impact sooner than later. There's a number of big programs pursuing Sandland however, and I don't see us a favorite to land him. It's possible Cal sits tight if we don't land Sandland, but Chaparral (Scottsdale, AZ) athlete Jake Roh could prove to be an intriguing option if we do want one more in 2013.
Projected commits: 4
Committed: Cameron Hunt, Centennial (Corona, CA)
One of the groups I feel like we're recruiting really well actually. While this year's OL crop is not as deep as last year, there are plenty of really solid prospects out there. Cameron Hunt is a really good get. As I stated in his commitment post, he's a technically sound, tough dude. He'll get bigger with time and should be a quality contributor for us after a redshirt year. Other guys that we're looking good with are Aaron Cochran (a known commodity here), center prospect Scott Quessenberry (La Costa Canyon) has us in his top three with Nebraska and Washington, and Mountain Pointe (AZ) tackle prospect Kenny Lacy has Cal in his top 8 and has planned an official visit for the weekend of the UCLA game. San Clemente OL Sean Harlow is visiting Cal this weekend and has us in his top 4 along with Oregon State, Washington and Nebraska. Cam Hunt has been in his ear a bit about Cal, so Harlow wants to check us out. We'll see how that visit goes. Also keep an eye on Contra Costa College mammoth OT Desmond Harrison. At 6'8/320, that's one hell of a bookend, and he does have a relationship with the North Carolina contingent. A couple interesting offensive guard targets are JD Hinnant (Fountain Valley) and Chris Borrayo (Paramount). Hinnant is similar to Hunt in size and athleticism, but isn't quite as polished. Borrayo is a big body at 6'5/290, and Cal was the first program to offer him. A prospect that I'd love to have is Hawaiian Reeve Koehler. He's one of the best OG prospects in this cycle, and it could come down to a handful of SEC/Pac-12 schools. I don't know where we factor in with him right now. Overall, Coach M seems to be doing well on the recruiting front. Pretty encouraging in my opinion.
Projected commits: 1
We're good here. Locked up a local guy who showed out at camp and is nationally acclaimed by Chris Sailer. 58 yarder!
Projected commits: 3
Oof. It's not a deep year out West for defensive linemen, and Eddie Vanderdoes was the real prize for not just Cal, but a lot of other programs. Alas, he's now a Trojan. Tough pill. This is a group that's difficult to really project. Of the uncommitted prospects out there, Cal would seem to be looking the best for Oak Park versatile DE/DT Luca Bruno (6'4/280). Yet, he lists a top 3 of Arizona, SMU and TCU as of now. Bruno has been up to Cal before and is supposedly visiting again this weekend, so I hope we can build that relationship up a bit more. He's a high-motor guy (133 tackles last year), who has good size and could play DE or DT in Cal's 3-4. Upland's Joe Mathis has listed Cal as part of his top 10...sometimes. Looks like a non-starter to me and reviews of his performance at The Opening indicate he might be a bit of a handful. An intriguing local prospect is Grant's Misi Taifane (6'3/300), who earned DL MVP honors at the Oakland NFTC camp. He doesn't currently hold any offers, but he's one to watch. The same goes for Cosumnes Oaks DT Sam Smith. He's got a lot of talent, but several schools are waiting to offer until his grades come out. Milpitas DE Vita Vea is another guy that both myself and the recruiting services like, but his recruitment has been pretty quiet outside of a quote stating that he'd commit to Oregon if they offered. WELP. There's also Cameron Hunt's Centennial teammate Garrett Hughes (6'3/245), a guy we've apparently been in contact with. Nationally, Peoria (IL) jumbo athlete Josh Augusta (6'5/275) has yet to narrow down his offer list, but did indicate he'd likely be staying "close to home". We'll see if we get him out for a visit. Trey Cheek's buddy and Archer teammate, DE Antonio Riles (6'4/265), has a top 2 of Florida and Georgia right now. Trey has been working on him to visit Cal, so it will be interesting to see if a visit happens and whether Cal can make a play for him. Rest assured, I'll do my best to keep you guys posted about any updates with DL recruiting. It's a spot that I have some concerns about right now, especially after coming up empty handed last year.
Projected commits: 3 or 4
Committed: Chad Whitener, Mansfield (Mansfield, TX).
To the surprise of no one, Coach Kenwick Thompson has been very active here. We secured a verbal commitment from big Chad Whitener out of Mansfield (TX) and he's been working hard both in the gym and on Twitter trying to recruit for Cal. Whitener tallied an incredible 198 tackles last season for Mansfield, and seems poised for a big season this fall. Some other prime targets for inside linebacker are La Mirada's Koa Kaleopaa (Cal is in his top 3 along with Arky and Colorado right now), and Tustin's Edward Tandy (Cal is his sole offer). Koa is a monster at 6'3/240, and he's a tough customer against the run game. Tandy is a versatile, two-way athlete for Tustin who can pack a punch and cover some ground. I like both of these guys a lot, and I like where Cal stands with them. We've been busy recruiting outside linebackers as well. The De La Salle duo of Austin Hooper and Victor Egu both have Cal offers in addition to many others. I think we look a bit better with Hooper, but both guys will likely let their recruitment go into the Fall before making a decision. We went back to Texas for Alief Taylor's DE/OLB Torrodney Prevot. We're in his top 5 along with SC, Oregon, LSU and A&M. I think LSU will be tough to beat, but we'll see. At 6'3/200, he'd be a great fit in our 3-4. Chesapeke (VA) OLB Kanyia Anderson looks unlikely at this point, as does Tampa (FL) DE/OLB Jordan Sherit. We did just offer Wisconsin commit Chikwe Obasih (6'3/230) last week. We'll see if there's any mutual interest there. A couple of prospects who don't currently hold Cal offers but are worth knowing are Mission Oaks (Tulare, CA) OLB Kevin Palma and Granite Bay's ILB Beau Hershberger. Palma's stock has been on the rise thanks to some impressive camp performances, and Hershberger showed well at Cal's camp back in June.
Projected commits: 5 or 6
Committed: Shon Akins, Norcross (Norcross, GA).
This is a deep year for defensive backs, especially out West. But our first two commits have come from the Peach State in Norcross CB Shon Akins and Archer CB Trey Cheek. Both guys have shown promise on the camp and 7-on-7 circuits this Summer. I'm looking forward to seeing how they do in their senior seasons. Given the depth of defensive backs in the state this year, Ashley Ambrose has been busy. We're all pretty familiar with the Central East (Fresno, CA) trio of LJ Moore, Hatari Byrd and Johnny Johnson at this point. Byrd is looking like he'll end up at UCLA. Moore took an unofficial visit to Cal yesterday and we are in his top 5. Feels like it will come down to us or the Bruins for him as well. Johnson is hard to read, but it seems we have a good shot at him too. I'd be happy with any one of the three personally. Another local guy I really like if Bishop O'Dowd CB Kevin King. At 6'2/175, he has the length and size to be disruptive against taller wide receivers. He showed well at The Opening too. King currently has a top 2 of Cal and West Virginia, and I like where we're at with him. There are several talented defensive backs in Southern California that Cal is sitting good with as well. Namely, Crespi safety duo Tyler Foreman and Brandon Arnold, Westlake's Dashon Hunt, Loyola's Cameron Walker, and Heritage CB Darius Allensworth (a soft Arizona verbal). I really like Foreman, and he's stated that he's being recruited hardest by Cal and UCLA. His teammate Arnold has said that he favors Cal and Michigan State. Dashon Hunt de-committed from UCLA and is looking hard at Cal, Oregon State, Washington, and Nebraska. He's electric. CB Cameron Walker has Cal in his top 3 with Wisconsin and Boise State. Allensworth was offered by Cal last week and favors Wisconsin, Arizona, UCLA and Cal, though he remains committed to the Wildcats. We're in the top 5 for Hamilton (AZ) stud cornerback Cole Luke, but I'm thinking Texas is the favorite for him. Marcos de Niza (AZ) DB Priest Willis lists Cal in his top 15, but that's a top 15 and I'm not holding my breath. Additional longshots include Rancho Cucamonga safety Tahaan Goodman and Mission Viejo's Max Redfield. Considering our needs and despite our struggles with a handful of the elite DB's in the region, I do feel good that we'll be able to pick up some more quality commits here.
So here we are. These are a lot of the names you should expect to see in future Recruiting Wire posts, so it seems like a good time to get familiar with them. Let the 2013 CGB Recruiting Board be your guide!
What position groups do you feel like we're recruiting well? Which ones are you feeling uneasy about? What uncommitted guys do you want? Comment in the comments section, commenters.