So let's take a quick look back at both sides of our recruiting class from 2013. We start with the offensive side of the football.
Jared Goff is pretty solid as you can get for a Cal recruiting prize. Goff is a solid quarterback with good fundamentals, a decent set of wheels, and great ability to carry himself in the pocket. The fact that he was able to carry a decent but not fortified team to a state championship berth two years running had to come in handy. He comes in fresh and will have plenty of time to adjust to being a potential Bearraid quarterback.
He certainly doesn't come fully polished. There are things he has to work on, like getting into physical shape. But he's already here and ready to rock. Ultimately very satisfied with how we performed here, and I'm guessing the majority of Cal fans are too.
What are your thoughts on Goff?
An area of concern for Cal, they did okay. They only got one running back, had to let another one go due to being a certain academic casualty, and lost out on the services of a few others. But the running back they did get is pretty special. Khalfani Muhammad leans toward the tiny side but he is as imposing as a bowling ball rolling toward the pins. Muhammad is tough on contact and has the quickness to execute within the system. He could be a very solid running back in this attack.
Obviously Cal would like more running backs in this class, but it didn't happen quite that way. Terrell Newby ended up at Nebraska. Jamal Morrow didn't work out and stuck with Washington State. Other possibilities fizzled out. All in all Cal should have plenty of depth come the fall if everyone gets healthy, but right now the Bears are just...well, bare at the tailback spot.
What are your thoughts on running back recruiting?
Cal did land several high quality wide receivers, but also had to jettison some when Sonny Dykes took over due to academic concerns (A.J. Richardson ended up at Boise State, Torry McTyer at UNLV). Additionally, they lost Dannon Cavil thanks to an eleventh hour bid from Oklahoma. The ones that remain figure to be better fits for the Bear profile, which should hopefully lead to greater success down the road.
Caleb Coleman stuck the whole way and is the only remaining receiver pledge from this class from the Tedford era. Coleman is a great student who also has potential to develop on the field is a speed threat on the outside. Bears could use some speed threats; they've been lacking since DeSean Jackson was here and the field seems like it's shrunk at times.
Drake Whitehurst is probably going to need a year to develop, but his physical potential is pretty fascinating given his frame. 6-6, 215 pounds is something you don't see much of at the collegiate level, but there appears to go Whitehurst, a man who has plenty of potential to cause cornerbacks all sorts of headaches. He is going to be a real interesting receiver to track to see if he becomes a matchup nightmare on the outside. Also there's a chance he sees some action early because he's here, and the wide receivers could use a little depth on them.
Boise picked up a Cal recruit, so it's only fitting that Cal did the same back. Grabbing the underrated Jack Austin could be a huge signing down the road. His speed is not great, but his body control is impressive and he can make a bid for almost every catch thanks to his solid frame and technique.
This isn't an overwhelming group of wideouts (and might have been better with the addition of Dannon Cavil or Devin Lauderdale but it didn't work out), but you have the option of a strong body, a tall option and a speed demon. Plenty of potential here, and Cal already has three starters lined up from last year.
What are your thoughts on the receivers?
Ray Hudson might not operate as a standard tight end since Dykes tends to split his tight ends out wide or put them in the backfield as an extra blocker, but Hudson definitely has the versatility to excel within that system. There's lots of different things that he's capable of doing, but I really like his ability to play in space and really operate as an extra weapon that the offense has to account for. It'll be interesting to see how quickly Hudson gets used considering the dearth of quality H-backs/tight ends.
Once Cal got Hudson, they were pretty much done with tight ends (Dykes had already commented on roster imbalances at his introductory press conference). Expect at most one a year going forward.
What things does Hudson do on tape that really stand out to you?
Lots of big guys. We kinda need all of them, particularly with Cameron Hunt heading up to Eugene. I still like the guys we've got, although it might be at least a year before we see them contribute.
Chris Borrayo is one of those players you don't think of much on the recruiting trail, but once you get him you're happy to have him. Borrayo plays from snap to whistle and can be relentless with the way he blocks on the line. He's one of those players who you figure will really be tough to handle in practice and should steadily develop over time.
Erik Bunte is simply a big dude. Bunte really can put guys on the ground and figures to be a load to deal with once he's all set to go. He primarily overpowers his men so he'll have to work more on understanding more of the fundamentals, but he's definitely looking pretty imposing as a finished product.
Aaron Cochran undoubtedly has the most potential of anyone in this class. He's a massive human being who knows how to handle. The biggest issue is conditioning and how long of a project it'll be to get him ready to contribute, because it's clear the physical talent is waiting to be unleashed.
J.D. Hinnant is very technically sound and has all the potential to be a real quick study in this system. The big question is how long it'll take for him to recover from the hideous vehicular accident he got in last fall.
Vincent Johnson is a sleeper simply because he already knows the Tony Franklin offense, which gives him a step ahead of the competition this summer. He can operate the system and is also solid and athletic. Johnson might be the quickest to go of all these guys even if he's the most unheralded.
This is a pretty solid group of offensive linemen that should go a long way toward cleaning up the rot of the small classes that plagued the Tedford era year after year.
All in all, the players that Sonny Dykes managed to bring in to come to Cal seemed like a good fit for the program and have a lot of potential to develop into something special over the next year or two. No one really stands out as an immediate contributor (so the road back to prosperity might be tougher than we'd like) but it builds up stability for the long-term. There are so many good guys in this class you figure that many of them will end up being big-time Bears.
What do you think about the offensive linemen? Moreover, what do you think about our offensive recruits?