Hey gang. A quick rundown of news in the recruiting world this week, ranging from the very good, to the good, to the ungood. Much of this has been touched upon in the CGB Recruiting Discussion Thread here. That's a new feature we're trying out for folks who want to discuss recruiting all week long, rather than just on GRW day. If you want, give it a look. The GRW posts aren't going anywhere though.
There's some interesting stuff to cover in this installment; we had a commitment from a local freak athlete, our QB commit shined at a prestigious national camp, and we had several high-profile visitors to campus. There was some less good things too, but nothing shocking or revelatory. Not a ton of content this week, but certainly some positives.
So let's get to it.
As a reminder, you can always check out the 2013 CGB Recruiting Board for updated info on Cal's current targets.
VERY GOOD NEWS
Takkarist McKinley, OLB Kennedy (Richmond, CA). Verbally committed to Cal on Friday. YAY! McKinley is a 6'3/240 pound athletic freak, who ran a 10.52 100 meters in his first year running track for Kennedy. For a dude his size, that speed is absurd. With regard to his football acumen, I regret to say that outside of some camp film provided by Ryan Gorcey of Bear Territory (no pads), I haven't been able to find any highlights on McKinley. He supposedly recorded between 15 and 20 sacks last season for Kennedy, while also totaling 400 or so yards receiving as tight end. Those are impressive numbers. I know little about him though, but I like what I've seen and heard. Given our depth at linebacker, McKinley should be given sufficient time to polish up his technique and learn Cal's defensive schemes once he gets on campus. With his physical talents and attributes, this could end up being one of Cal's better commitments of the 2013 recruiting cycle. I'm hoping for some highlights on him to come available after his senior season. Dude sounds like a beast, and he showed the Cal staff enough that they offered after his camp performance. McKinley held offers from Fresno State and Nevada, but was starting to receive interest from other programs as well. I feel good that we locked him up. And speaking of Nevada, He reminds me of Dontay Moch, but with the size to handle the run a bit better.
Jared Goff, QB Marin Catholic (Kentfield, CA). Tore it up at the Elite 11 QB Camp in Redondo Beach and was selected to THE Elite 11 at the conclusion of the competition, from a field of the 25 best high school quarterbacks in the country. Over the course of the week, Goff displayed his typical accuracy, a strong arm, and made good reads. He was consistently listed as a top performer and clearly handled the demands of the week very well. He also had an opportunity to catch up with Narbonne WR and fellow Cal commit AJ Richardson, who was attending the Elite 11 to catch balls in drills. As he has throughout the offseason, Goff put himself in position to see yet another bump in recruiting rankings. Make no mistake, we got a good one. I'm beginning to feel like the Cal offense could make some incredible strides in the future under Zach Kline and Jared.
LJ Moore, DB Central East (Fresno, CA). Took an unofficial visit to Cal on Tuesday and scheduled his official visit for October 6, the weekend of the Cal-UCLA game. The visit was spur of the moment, but seems to have gone quite well. I suspect that this will be a Cal-UCLA battle in the end, which is fitting considering when LJ will take his official. Moore is the kind of tall, long and aggressive cornerback that would be ideal for combating the tall and long wide receivers seemingly so prevalent in the Pac-12. He's also big enough to play safety at the next level. I really do like him most as a cornerback though. He performed very well at The Opening in Oregon, and is in the process of planning additional official visits. What initially looked likely to be a late decision could happen during Moore's senior season if he feels comfortable. Between Moore and Johnny Johnson, flip a coin as to which is most likely to end up at Cal at the end of the day. Hatari Byrd does not seem to be headed this way (as we'll cover below).
Terrell Newby, RB Chaminade (West Hills, CA). Took an unofficial visit to Cal on Wednesday. He was on campus for most of the day, but is still keeping his recruitment open. It's looking more and more likely that Newby will take some official visits before making a decision....possibly some time in the Fall or after his senior season. I still very much like where we are with him, and he's become a critical target with DJ Martin and Cal parting ways. The main competition for Newby hasn't changed either, as his top 4 consists of Cal, Nebraska, Oregon and Washington. As previously mentioned, Nebraska is pushing hard for him as their # 1 running back target. Oregon's offense is very similar to the one Chaminade runs, so there's an appeal there. Washington has made a late push but is coming on strong. A former Chaminade teammate who is now at UW is also helping their case. At the end of the day, I think Coach Gould's relationship with Newby and his excellent track record of putting running backs in the league will get us his commitment. Really like him. He's got a great skillset.
Sean Harlow, OL San Clemente (San Clemente, CA). Took an unofficial visit to Cal on Friday. The visit went well enough that Harlow includes Cal in his top 5 along with Oregon State, Washington, Nebraska, and UCLA. He's a versatile guy who can play tackle, guard or center, but seems to project as a solid interior OL at the next level. At 6'5/260 and a frame that can plenty of good weight, he's an intriguing guy who has the technique and nasty streak already. As previously noted, he also has the genes; his dad Pat was an OL at SC who also played in the NFL. For whatever reason, I confess that I don't LOVE our chances of landing him. But I do feel we're doing pretty well with OL recruiting. An interesting paradigm shift this year.
Luca Bruno, DE Oak Park (Oak Park, CA). Also took an unofficial visit to Cal on Friday. No information has come out about Bruno's visit yet, but I'm hoping for some positive reviews. In a weak year for DL out West and few quality guys still on the board, the 6'4/280 pounder has become a pretty important target for us. I like Bruno's versatility and he's got a hell of a motor, as his 133 tackles last year attest to. He would also be a great fit in our 3-4 defensive front, and could be a strongside defensive end or a disruptive nose tackle should he be able to adequately strengthen his lower body and keep his pad level lower. Prior to his visit to Cal, Bruno listed a top 3 of Arizona, SMU and Washington State, with Ariozna leading at this point. Oregon State has also been mentioned as afactor in his recuritment. Considering our proximity and success developing DL's, I'd hope we could crack into that top 3. This is one that should be monitored. Rest assured, I'll keep you posted.
JD Hinnant, OT Fountain Valley (Fountain Valley, CA). Took an unofficial visit to Cal on Sunday. Sounds like the visit went very well. He'll continue his tour of schools, but we look to be in good shape to get an official visit. Hinnant likes the campus and Coach M, and see himself as a good fit in Cal's offensive line scheme. He's also a smart kid, so academics should factor into his decision...that's good for us. We are recruiting the 6'5/265 pounder as an offensive guard, rather than a tackle. He's good, very similar to Cameron Hunt in size and athleticism. Oregon and Nebraska could be the heaviest competition. I think we'll be a factor with Hinnant until the end. Another guy I really like.
Darius Allensworth, CB Heritage (Menifee, CA). The Arizona soft verbal commit was offered by Cal a couple weeks ago. He took an unofficial visit to Wisconsin last weekend (another school he is heavily considering) and will be visiting Cal this weekend. The 5'11/180 pound cornerback has been turning heads throughout the Spring and Summer and really raised his stock with an impressive showing at the Rivals 5-Star Showcase in Atlanta. He's a playmaker with the ball in his hands and has very good burst and instincts in coverage. He caught 30 balls for 395 yards and 5 touchdowns for Heritage last season on offense, while recording 64 tackles and 4 interceptions on defense. While he is still committed to Arizona, the offer from Cal seems to be a big one. Stay tuned on his recruitment as this may be a serious candidate to flip. With the news that Serra CB and 2012 Cal signee Raymond Ford won't be making it to Cal, DB depth just becamse that much more important.
NOT GOOD NEWS
Cole Luke, CB Hamilton (Chandler, AZ). Announced a new top 4, and Cal was not amongst the programs listed. Luke's newest top 4 includes Texas, SC, Oklahoma and Notre Dame. Vernon Hargreaves looking unlikely for SC probably helped them considerably with Luke. I still think Texas could be the team to beat though. Too bad, as Luke is one of my favorite cornerback prospects in this class. Fortunately, I think we're doing okay in DB recruiting right now. This one was always a tad unlikely. My hope now is that Luke heads to Big 12 country rather than Watts.
Hatari Byrd, S Central East (Fresno, CA). Will likely be committing this week or soon after, and it won't be to Cal. This hasn't looked too likely for a couple weeks, and I'd be surprised if it was anyone other than UCLA at this juncture. They'd be getting a good player though. Byrd has great size and is a quality safety prospect. Like Central East teammate LJ Moore, he showed well at both the Rivals 5-Star Challenge in Atlanta and The Opening in Oregon. Time to focus our energies elsewhere IMO. A guy like Tyler Foreman doesn't have the physical presence that Byrd does, but he's better in coverage.
Josh McNeil, TE Hillside (Durham, NC). Committed to Alabama on Saturday, Cal eliminated. Granted, this was always going to be a longshot, but McNeil did list Cal among his top 10 schools for a while. Anyhoo, figured this was just noteworthy enough to pass along.
Vernon Hargreaves III, CB Wharton (Tampa, FL). Announced a top 5 of FLorida, Vanderbilt, Miami, Clemson, and Notre Dame. Like McNeil, this was never going to happen. But again, just noteworthy enough to pass along. Hey, at least he's not going to SC.
Scott Pagano, DT Moanalua (Honolulu, HI). Committed to Clemson on Tuesday, Cal eliminated. To be fair, it's hard to be eliminated when you were never under serious consideration to begin with. Pagano's other finalists were LSU, Florida and Alabama. It was pretty clear from the start that the West Coast didn't hold much appeal for him, and the fact that his finalists were all geographically focused in the Southeast would support that. Good player, and probably not one worth thinking about any more. But as I've stated, it's not a deep year for DL out West. We're going to need a few, and they have to come from somewhere.
That's pretty much it for news in the Cal recruiting world this week. Apologies for a somewhat brief GRW, but further discussion on these guys and other recruiting targets can be found in the aforementioned Recruiting Discussion Thread we've got going. For what it's worth, I'm headed out of town tomorrow for a bachelor party, so plenty of crazy shit will probably happen once I'm off the grid. Luckys!
Any thoughts? I sure hope so. Go Bears!