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With National Signing Day a little less than a month away, we've finally hit the t-one month mark, and the 2013 recruiting class is finally starting to take shape. Lots of new news this week in regards to prospective targets.
Let's begin with our most recent developments.
Shon Akins, CB, from Norcross High School in Georgia has decommitted.
I don't know all the details on Akins recruitment. I know he committed a while ago (April 1st of 2012), so it may have been the change in coaching staff which did it for him. Or perhaps Dykes and company didn't see him as a fit, and gave him the cold shoulder. Although he is a solid, gritty player, Shon's decommitment won't drastically impact Cal for next year. We were the only big school who offered him, his next best offers are probably Troy and Fresno State. We also have 2 solid CB commits already. It would have definitely been nice to add more depth to that with Akins, but oh well.
Slightly more disappointing-Jermaine Kelly, stud WR/DB from Salesian and former UCLA decommit-has pledged loyalty to the Northern Devil- Steve Sarkisian. It really hurts to know that he will be wearing purple and gold; any other school would have felt better than Washington.
"I just committed to Coach Sark at Washington, I’m a Dawg," Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian DB Jermaine Kelly, story on the way.— Greg Biggins (@GregBiggins) January 7, 2013
Commits this week:
Drake Whitehurst, receiver, CCSF
Whitehurst's high school highlights below.
Whitehurst is a a very under the radar recruit who seemed to be mostly drawing attention from smaller schools such as Hawaii, Towson, and Idaho, where he committed on December 19th. Whitehurst attended Lincoln High School in Portland Oregon, where he apparently wanted to pursue basketball at the next level.
Not sure why Whitehurst decided to focus on football instead, but he certainly seemed to make some noise this fall over at CCSF. Even though he only had less than 300 yards receiving this year, it seems like his height and jump ball ability was enough to garner the attention of a few big time programs. We know that Oregon offered him as a walk on, and that Dykes was apparently very happy to be able to land this guy.
Admittedly, I am no expert on the Air Raid offense. But I trust Dykes' offensive mind 100%, and trust that he knows which kind of players he needs to make Cal's air attack click in 2013. I am just curious to see what Dykes will do with this guy. I know that with both him and Cavil, the Bears will have some legitimate jump ball threats. As of now, I really like that Dykes has focused on adding more size to the receiving corps. If anything, it is nice seeing the CCSF pipeline opening up again.
J.D. Hinnant, offensive line, Fountain Valley.
As Avinash said in his previous post on Hinnant, Hinnant was one of the most sought after recruits in California prior to a devastating car accident. Despite the accident, all reports claim that Hinnant is on the road to a full recovery. As long as his recovery continues to go smoothly, I don't see why Hinnant couldn't be a major force on the offensive line. The amount of offers he has indicates how sought after he was prior to the incident: nearly every PAC-12 schools and some more random ones such as Nebraska. He was also being recruited by Harvard, which means he gets it done in the classroom; I believe Harvard doesn't give out scholarships, and has to choose their recruits selectively so that their teams will meet the school's academic requirements. Apparently Hinnant had an impressive 3.75 GPA, and scored an 1860 SAT.
ESPN has him as the 41st best offensive guard. Looks like he was between Cal, Oregon, and Nebraska. He took an unofficial to Cal on 9/8, then took an official to Nebraska on 9/29, and then to Oregon on 11/17, before committing to us last week.
Personally, I love this commit. I think he'll be a steal barring any setback with his injury. His commitment to academics tells me that he fits the mold of a Cal student athlete well. He also provides some much needed depth on the offensive line, giving us three solid OL commits for 2013. Nothing to really complain about here.
In other recruiting news:
Cal offered 3 star, DT Nick Terry this week.
Terry is a solid player from Pleasant Grove High School, measuring in at 6'4, 270. ESPN has him as the 86 best DT in the country. As of now, he his a solid Boise State commit, with offers from schools such as WSU, Colorado State, Fresno State, Nevada, and OSU.
"Terry is a D-Line prospect with the tools to develop into a stout run defender. A potential fit in a 3-4 or an interior player in a 4-3, he has solid size at this stage but needs to keep filling out his frame and work to add more good mass." ESPN Analyst, ESPN.com
He recently scheduled a visit to Berkeley for January 18th, and is apparently very high on the new coaching staff hires that we have had- especially Barry Sacks, our new D-line coach.
GM: Just got off the phone with 3-star DT Nick Terry. He was offered by #Cal coach Barry Sacks yesterday & will tentatively visit Jan 18th.— Cal Rivals (@CalRivals) January 6, 2013
Terry seems to be a solid prospect. If Chris Peterson is interested in him, then that's saying something in itself. I'll be impressed if Dykes is able to pull this off.
Another offensive linemen, Chris Borrayo, recently met with the Cal coaching staff and looks to be deciding soon.
"Borrayo is a developmental size prospect with the athleticism to adjust to quick change of direction movement. Is very efficient playing tackle however we feel his height is better suited for the offensive guard position at the major level of competition; his frame appears capable of supporting additional body mass." ESPN Analyst, ESPN.com
Borrayo is from Paramount High School, clocks in at 6'2, 270, and is the 77th best offensive guard according to ESPN. He's got a bunch of offers, mostly from PAC-12 schools.
As of now, Borrayo has not been on any visits, and doesn't look to have any planned. I don't really know what the deal is with that; maybe he has gone on some unofficials? Other than that, not a lot of news has come out about this guy. Most recruiting services say that he is equally interested in both Cal and CU. Based on the above article though (the one I linked in), I would say that it looks like he is coming to Cal. Interesting to see two new PAC-12 coaches in Macintyre and Dykes square off against one another for this guy. Really comes down to who can sell the future of their program better.
In not so good news, Terrel Newby, running back from Chaminade College Prep in West Hills, CA, looks to be set on deciding between either Nebraska and UCLA this week. Newby is a very talented running back who would have provided some much needed depth to our RB corps. I know the RB position looks to be a position we will be extremely talented at next year-and I think this is the right assumption-but after Bigelow and Lasco, there is not much depth back there (which makes me very happy that Muhammad looks to be staying).
Interesting quote from the Justin Hopkins article in the tweet above.
"After convincing Newby not to commit to Cal, Nebraska was then able to get the back out to Lincoln for Big Red Weekend. The first visit proved to be a strong enough success that Newby came back for an official visit to see the Idaho State game."
I've never been heavily recruited by a major football school, but I always thought it was considered to be a bit of a dirty move to try to convince kids not to go to other schools. A little Tosh Lupoi-esque. What do you think?
For those of you who were watching, Austin Hooper, one of our main targets, a DE from De La Salle (who we have asked to play tightend), was a major performer in the Semper Fi game. I was not able to watch the game in its entirety, but I remember them saying that it was really down to Stanfurd or Cal for Hooper.
Stanford TE/DE recruit Austin Hooper tops list of 5 outstanding defensive performers from the Semper Fi Bowl: stanford.scout.com/2/1254995.html— David Lombardi (@DavidMLombardi) January 5, 2013
Those impressed by Austin Hooper's athleticism at Semper Fi: He's an East Bay kid who loves everything about Cal, but intrigued by Stanford— David Lombardi (@DavidMLombardi) January 5, 2013
As far as either Stanfurd or Cal, I really could see Hooper going either way . Stanfurd is undoubtedly enticing just because that team will win right away. Cal is much more uncertain, but Hooper has the opportunity to play either offense or defense in Berkeley (smart recruiting move by Dykes). If he's good enough, both schools will serve as adequate avenues to the NFL. We'll have to wait and see.
Something else pretty cool, we just offered Honolulu DL, Scott Pagano, a big time ESPN 300 recruit.
Pagano weighs in at 6'3, 279, and is from Moanalua High School. He is ranked as the 21st best DT by ESPN. As of now Pagano is committed to the Clemson Tigers (who seem to get every sexy commit that comes along these days), but oh my god is his offer list impressive.
Admittedly, its a long shot landing this guy, who seems to only exclusively take visits to SEC schools + Clemson. However, there are rumors of a visit in the works. My gut tells me-and maybe this is my unconditional love for Cal and our new beautiful stadium talking-that if we can get any recruit to come out and look at our facilities and our campus, then we have a chance at landing them. I don't see how you can simply be not interested after seeing what we have to offer. If that visit works out, then I think we have a shot-a very slight shot, but a shot nonetheless.
We also offered Zachary Green, running back from St. Bonaventura. He's an Arizona commit, and seems to be staying with that. Arizona looks to be making a push to become a premier running back school; they have an impressive list of RB recruits, and also produced the 2nd leading rusher in the NCAA this year.
Arizona running back commit Zachary Green says Cal and Washington have offered, but he is firm to Arizona— Jason Scheer (@JasonScheer) December 31, 2012
Aaron Cochran, OT, Atwater- there was speculation that he would announce after the Semper Fidelis game. That didn't happen, but he seems to be slowly narrowing down his choices. Oklahoma is definitely in the mix.
Cal is also definitely in the mix. He has also shown interest in Nebraska, and now Wisconsin and Michigan State.
Buhach Colony's massive OT Aaron Cochran (6-8, 350) is asking this question this morning: Visit Wisconsin or Michigan State? Cat that big— Richard T. Estrada (@BlackHatFootbal) January 6, 2013
I don't really know what to expect from Cochran at this point. He seems to be struggling with this decision, and hasn't shown any signs of leaning one way or another with a particular school. We don't need to stress how big of a recruit this would be if we got him. He would be the perfect addition to our already strong OL class.
That's all this week folks. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on how this class is shaping up. Admittedly I am an optimist-it's healthier for you-but I have to say that I am really happy to see all of the DL and OL recruits we are going after. I'd say Dykes is moving us in the right direction. As of now, the class sits at no. 26 on ESPN (I go by ESPN because it has the prettiest looking website). That's a marked jump from where we were several weeks ago, which was at no. 40. If all the commits come through that we seem to have a chance at landing-I'd say this is a top 20 class. That would be a remarkable turn around for a program that just went 3-9, and has had a massive coaching staff change. No Cal fan can complain about that. Dykes has gone to work in these last few weeks and there's no denying it.
Also, for easy access to the status of our current commits and prospective targets, just simply check out the spreadsheet we have put together. It's fully updated.