As we wind down from spring practice, we take a look back at Golden Bears recruiting and some of the players we'll be adding from this class. Who better to talk to than Ryan Gorcey of Scout, who is the go-to source for all things Cal football recruiting?
Check out Ryan's coverage of spring practice by looking at the links to all his content via Scout. If you missed our first Q&A you can check out answers #1-5 in the first part of our interview.
6. Compare Cal's 2013 recruiting class to the rest of the Pac-12. Where would you rank them?
Well, we had the Bears ranked sixth out of the 12 teams in the conference, and frankly, given the realities of this recruiting cycle, it's hard to argue that point. I think the remarkable fall of USC from the top spot overall is notable, but they still did pretty damned well for a team with limited slots. Cal was essentially forced into a situation where it could not take any academic risks, whereas the other programs were not, particularly Washington. I don't think I'm going to shock anyone when I say that the top-flight athletes and the top-flight scholars generally don't overlap. There are, of course, counters to that argument, but at the end, this class was back-loaded with big brains attached to projectable bodies. I'm a baseball guy, and in that world, "projectable" is a very, very broad term. You can see the makings of a contributor - of a "dude" instead of a "donkey" - but nothing's proven. I think we saw that throughout this past year as Garrett Hughes developed into a Semper Fidelis All-American, and his body sort of settled into itself. ‘Projectable' also puts a lot on the player himself. It means he has to put in the work. Some do, and some don't. For every Justin Forsett, there's a guy like Gabe King, who has only now just begun to tap into his potential.
7. What are your thoughts on Jared Goff and how he fits into the overall Bearraid scheme?
I honestly think he fits best out of the quarterbacks still on the roster, as does our West Coast recruiting guru Brandon Huffman. When I look at the top three QBs in spring ball right now - Goff, Austin Hinder and Zach Kline - there's a bit of a Venn Diagram thing going on. Hinder has the best touch out of the three and can run. Kline has by far the best arm strength, but isn't that mobile unless Mustafa Jalil is chasing him. Goff doesn't have Kline's Kannon, but his arm strength is better than Hinder's. He's not as intuitive on the run as Hinder, but he's notably more mobile than Kline. He's that shaded area of the Venn Diagram, and that's what will make him a perfect fit for this offense.
The one knock on Goff is that he's a bit skinny. As he joked at the Elite 11 finals down in So Cal, he has his father's height, and his mother's metabolism. His dad, by the way, is of course former Cal corner infielder Jerry Goff, who spent parts of six seasons as a Major League catcher, and to be honest, the guy looks like he could still play today. That's what a career as a firefighter will get you, I guess. But, back on topic: I think Kline gives Cal the best chance to win over the next two-plus years. All three guys are very elite leaders and have boatloads of charisma and intangibles, but Kline is the vocal, rah-rah guy of the bunch, and as we saw at last year's spring game, he has the rare ability to whip the sideline into a frenzy. He also has a year in a college weight program.
While Goff and Hinder took to the new offense very quickly, Kline - who's been an under-center, drop-back guy his whole life - took about 10 practices to get into his groove, and now that he's feeling more comfortable, his talent is starting to shine through. Both Kline and Goff can get the ball out quickly, but Kline's velocity is going to be more befitting of an offense that is based on timing. Now, once Kline is done - and I love me some Zach Kline, as many know - I honestly think that Goff can take this offense to new heights because of his extra dimension. Once he puts some meat on his bones, he'll be that much more effective running the ball, which gives this offense yet another curveball to throw at opposing defenses.
8. Do you think Cal needed two running backs in this class or will Khalfani Muhammad be more than enough?
I don't just think they do, I know they do. Pierre Ingram and I have had a lot of conversations about that very fact, and the Bears are gunning for some of the top backs out west, and really across the country. Guys like Kurt Scoby, Joe Mixon, Arizona commit Nick Wilson, Devante Downs, Royce Freeman, Myles Autry and five-star Racean Thomas.
That said, this is going to be a small class, anywhere from 15-20 guys, so spots will be limited. The Bears, though, are intent on taking two true tailbacks, and maybe one fullback-type like John Porchivinia if he blows them away at camps or on the field.