Cal football JuCo recruiting: Bears try to upgrade with instant talent

Our most famous JuCo prospect! - Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Will Cal find the next Desmond Bishop or Aaron Rodgers somewhere in there?

Part 1 focused on our usual everyday high school recruiting madness. Part 2 takes us to the stable doldrums that is junior college recruiting.

With so many injuries, transfers and defections from the past season, Sonny Dykes stated one of his biggest focuses in recruiting would be to focus heavily on junior college recruiting this year. There really was no choice here. With Cal's miserable season, the buzz surrounding the program currently is frozen in a block of ice along with the Last Airbender. The Bears need to get better in a hurry or this coaching staff risks seeing the door in a year or two.

Junior college recruiting is always tricky. It can and has worked for Cal. We had some NFL-caliber talent from the JuCo ranks during the golden years of the Tedford era, from Hawkins to Bishop to Rodgers to Cross. But on the flip side, when we miss on a recruit, it just ends up wasting scholarships. The second half of the Tedford era is strewn with junior college talent that produced close to nothing for us and soon led to the talent deficit that we struggle with now.

Unfortunately, there's no choice this season. Cal probably isn't going to fill up their scholarships with enough capable high school players. At least several Bears will be here from the junior college ranks, and we'll have to make do with that until we make more drastic improvements. So we'll be mining the city and community colleges up and down the state.

Here's a look at the junior college transfers up for grabs.

Devon Blackmon, Fontana (Ca.) wide receiver at Riverside C.C.: Cal still seems to believe they need wide receivers, as they offered Blackmon just a month ago. The name Blackmon might sound familiar to you: He was a talented wide receiver that the Oregon Ducks landed, only to have him leave for junior college after things didn't work out. Blackmon hasn't really indicated his next move, but he does have offers from schools like Arkansas and Washington along with Cal.

Bobby Keenan, Sacramento (Ca.) offensive tackle at American River C.C.: An offer went out to Keenan a few months ago. Keenan has offers from schools like Colorado, Oregon State and San Diego State.

Sam Atoe, College of San Mateo (Ca.) safety: Atoe is visiting Cal this weekend, with Texas Tech up the week after and Fresno State also in hand. With Cal looking to stock up their secondary, expect Cal to try and land safety number three here.

Trevor Kelly
, defensive tackle from College of San Mateo: With Deandre Coleman heading to the draft and Mustafa Jalil constantly injury-prone, it'll be imperative for Cal to find big bodies up front. Kelly seems to be the best bet to provide that big body. At 6'2, 305 pounds he could be developed into difficult defender. Kelly has offers from Colorado, Fresno State, and Illinois and is visiting the Illini (11/29), Buffs (12/6) and the Bears in order (12/13).

Antonio Guy, defensive lineman from College of the Canyons: Both Cal and Oregon State have extended offers and Guy will trip to Corvallis in January. It remains to be seen if the Bears will get a word in.

Demetrius Hill, Fort Scott (Kansas) C.C. defensive end: Hill is a little light for a defensive end at 6'3, 260 pounds but appears to be aiming to gain a bit of weight at the program he decides to attend. Hill is also going through the visits. South Florida (11/29) comes first, then Baylor (12/6) and then Cal (12/13). Hill and plenty of offers from schools like Arizona, ASU, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Mississippi State, but it seems he's settled on a top five that includes Cal.


Dominic Granado, Huntington Beach (Ca.) offensive tackle at Golden West C.C.: Granado will visit Arkansas State but has definite interest from the Cal coaching staff. I'm not certain if he has an offer or not (conflicting reports from multiple sites), but if Cal needs more big uglies I imagine there will be a second look here.

Gabe Luna, Butler (Ks.) County C.C. defensive end. Luna visited Iowa State and got an offer. It remains to be seen what would come of a Cal visit.

David Davis, Long Beach (Ca.) defensive tackle: Again, conflicting reports about whether Davis has an offer or not, but the former Washington State Cougar has offers from powerhouses like New Mexico and Wyoming.

So there's your early look at what Cal has in store for them on the recruiting trail. There are maybe a handful of high school recruits Cal has a decent shot at before the JuCo mining operation commences, but I imagine the bulk of our commitments will be coming from either the group above or even greater unknown commodities than the ones I just mentioned.

It's not exactly exciting, but considering the results the heralded recruits have produced for us, I think I'd prefer more boring in recruiting and more excitement to start coming back to the field of play.

GO BEARS!


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