Hey all. With Fall camps starting up for most high school football programs, recruiting news has been a little tougher to come by. Kids are focusing on their actual teams...rather than their prospective future teams. As a result, I figured there was little harm in skipping a GRW last week so that we could try to gather up enough recruiting tidbits this week to merit an actual post. Most of what I'll be covering below will not be news to some of you...especilly if you've been checking out and participating in our weekly recruiting discussion threads. PLUG: Here's the discussion thread for this week!
Still, it's nice to dump the info in one place with some of my thoughts sprinkled in. We've got a mix of good and bad news to cover below. The week could (SHOULD) end on a positive note though.
And if any of these names are foreign to you, remember to give the CGB Recruiting Board a look. It's all there. Tip of the cap to atomsareenough for fancying up the board and helping with the updates too.
Let's get to it!
Darius Allensworth, CB Heritage (Menifee, CA). Will announce his college decision tomorrow morning at 9AM. The one-time Arizona pledge lists Cal, UCLA, Wisconsin and Arizona among his final choices. After making his second unofficial visit to Berkeley a couple weeks back (this time with his father in tow), I'm feeling very good about our chances of landing Darius tomorrow. He's a dynamic athlete who saw his stock rise significantly thanks to strong showisng on the camp and 7-on-7 circuits. At 5'11/180, he has adequate size for a cornerback and the kind of ball skills and aggression that make him a tough matchup. Stay tuned to see if we get some good news on this front soon.
Luca Bruno, DE Oak Park (Oak Park, CA). Committed to Arizona on Saturday. Ugh. Cal was (relatively) late to the party with the 6'4/280 pound Bruno, but I felt reasonably sure that we could close the gap with more time and an official visit. Not sure the visit will happen now. This one is unfortunate for two reasons. Reason the first, Bruno was a good fit. We were recruiting him as a defensive end, and his motor and size would have been ideal in our 3-4. Reason the second, there really aren't very many good defensive line prospects out West this year. After missing on several other targets (Eddie V, Kenneth Clark, Scott Pagano, etc), Bruno looked to be attainable. Apparently not. With him off the board, expect DL recruiting to be quiet until after the season. I'd imagine Coach Howard will be working on committed guys or scouring other regions for talent. I also wonder if the staff will start taking a harder look at Sacramento prospects like Cosumnes Oaks' Sam Smith (academics still seem like an issue) or Grant's Misi Taifane. I'll keep you all updated as best I can. Pretty frustrating right now though.
X'avier Shepherd, WR Lakewood (Lakewood, CA). Committed to Utah on an unofficial visit two weeks ago. Welp. After mentioning Cal as the leader in his recruitment about a month ago, something changed apparently. With Shepherd off the board, it will be interesting to see where the staff goes from here. Unfortunate, as he's a skilled and speedy playmaker who would have been a nice fit. 2013 is not a great year for wide receivers, so it's a good thing the staff loaded up last year with 5 quality prospects. We'll see if Shepherd sticks with the Utes come Signing Day.
JD Hinnant, OT Fountain Valley (Fountain Valley, CA). Has Cal in his top 4, along with Duke, Oregon and Nebraska. Hinnant's stated importance of academics explains Duke's inclusion and also bodes well for us. Oregon has been on him a long time and likes his athleticism for their offensive schemes. Nebraska holds the allure of a football factory (at least it used to be) and tradition. Hinnant has a good relationship with Coach M and we should be in line for an official visit. Don't expect a decision before the end of the season, and my gut tells me Oregon may be in the drivers seat right now. We'll see though. I'm happy with our OL recruiting thus far. Big tip of the cap to Coach M for really working on building relationships with a bunch of these guys. Seems to be cited very often by OL recruits when they talk about Cal. I'm all for it.
Kight Dallas, LB Stephenson (Stone Mountain, GA). Cal extended an offer to the South Carolina verbal commit last week. The 6'2/220 pounder has a pretty impressive offer list, but I confess I haven't had an opportunity to check him out just yet. The fact that he's from the ATL makes me wonder if he's tight with Shon Akins or Trey Cheek. While he has stated that he's solid in his commitment to the Gamecocks, he has expressed a desire to take visits. He performed well at the USA All-Star Game in Texas, which also hosted fellow Cal recruits Dashon Hunt and Cameron Walker. We'll see if plans for a visit materialize soon. Linebacker is yet another area where I'm not too concerned and will defer to Coach Thompson and the staff as to where they put in their time and energy.
Riley Sorenson, OL Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA). Has Cal and Washington in front right now. Sorenson has been relatively quiet in his recruitment thus far, but it's worth noting that his Santa Margarita teammates Dane Crane (center) and Connor O'Brien (safety/linebacker) are already committed to UW. The fact that Sorenson hasn't committed to the Huskies already speak to the fact that he's making his own decision. It also speaks to the fact that the Cal staff has clearly done a nice job in his recruitment. Sorenson is a monster at 6'5/320, and would be a road-grading guard most likely in college. I like his game. He'll likely take official visits to both Cal and Washington before making a decision. Don't sleep on UCLA either.
Dashon Hunt, CB Westlake (Westlake Village, CA). Has Cal in his top 5 along with Arizona, Oregon State, Nebraska and Washington. I've made no secret here of how much I like Hunt. Given our DB needs in this class, he'd be an awesome get. He has a terrific nose for the ball and makes things happen when he's around it. Given the fact that he decommitted from UCLA, he'll be taking his time this go-round. Expect Hunt to take all of his official visits and make a decision after that. I like where we stand and I hope we get him.
Brandon Arnold, S Crespi (Encino, CA). Has a top 2 of Cal and Michigan State. While he holds over a dozen offers, it's looking like it'll be us or the Spartans at this point. Arnold plans to take an official visit to both campuses early in the Fall and will then likely make a decision. While I've been very bullish on his Crespi teammate Tyler Foreman, Arnold is a quality safety prospect as well. While not quite as big as Foreman (arnold's a shade over 6 feet and about 185 pounds), he has very good instincts and plays the run well. He's not afraid to hit and can get to the ball quickly. I like our chances if it comes down to which place a Southern California kid could see himself living for the next 4 or so years. Take, that East Lansing! In a perfect world, I'd like to see us snag BOTH Crespi safeties. We'll see.
Kanyia Anderson, OLB Oscar Smith (Chesapeke, VA). Has a top 2 of Cal and Old Dominion. We offered Anderson back in March, and this is the first time I've heard us mentioned as a serious factor in his recruitment. Without sounding arrogant, I think this speaks more to the quality of his other offers and the fact that there's nary a major BCS conference program in the bunch besides us. Also, my gut tells me that Anderson would be reluctant to go to school across the country, and the first offer from an ACC school would see him jump on it. He's a good prospect, if still a bit raw. Those 22 sacks and the fact that he's a major player for the Virginia state champs speaks to that. If he chooses to commit somewhere in the next couple weeks, I'd consider it pretty soft. He has yet to visit, so we'll see if that happens as well. I like him, but I like the DLS OLB prospects (Hooper and Egu more).
Demorea Stringfellow, WR Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, CA). The Washington verbal commit has stated that he will take all of his official visits, and Cal will get one them. The others- Washington (duh), Ohio State, UCLA, and Ole Miss. Stringfellow is a tremendous talent and it's nice that we'll be getting a visit. Considering we have one receiver commit in the fold in Narbonne's AJ Richardson and the aforementioned X'avier Shepherd is committed to Utah, we should be looking to grab one more WR in this class. Getting a guy like Stringfellow would be a major coup. But let's not get ahead of ourselves...a flip would be a surprise. The visit is good news, but nothing more as of now.
Scott Quessenberry, OL La Costa Canyon (Encinitas, CA). Lists a top 7 of Cal, Nebraska, UCLA, San Diego State, Arkansas, and Utah. On top of that, he has Cal and Nebraska on top followed by UCLA. He does intend to take all of his official visits and then hopefully make a decision around the holidays. While he's played every position on the line for La Costa and he'll play tackle this season, he'll play center in college. He performed very well at center at The Opening and will be playing there for the Under Armour All-American Game as well (along with Cal commit Cameron Hunt...hmm). While he's content to let the process play out, I really like where we're at with Quessenberry. He'd be a really nice get. Strong kid who plays hard and nasty.
What sayest you, commenters? Go Bears!