The California backfield is in a bit of an uncertain state as of now. Brendan Bigelow has been penciled in as the starter whenever it is he returns from knee surgery, but he has all of 50 career carries, and presumed backup Daniel Lasco has only six. Freshman speedster Khalfani Muhammad will likely see playing time too, but none of the backs behind them - Darren Ervin, Jeffrey Coprich, Jonah Hodges - appear poised to make a splash any time soon.
Well, earlier tonight, the Bears took their first step in addressing that uncertainty, securing a commitment from Centennial (Corona, CA.) running back Tre Watson. The 5'10, 184 pound Watson chose the Bears over suitors like BYU, Washington State, and Nevada.
On Sunday, Corona (Calif) Centennial RB Tre Watson said he could commit 'sooner than later,' he wasn't lying, nice pickup for #Cal— Greg Biggins (@GregBiggins) May 21, 2013
I'm a HAPPY Running Back coach at this moment ! I can go to sleep knowing our program is getting better !!!!!!!!!!! #GoBears— COACH INGRAM (@PIngram1) May 21, 2013
Rivals: 3 star, unranked
247Sports: 3 star (84), 82nd ranked RB
A link to Watson's Hudl highlights can be found here.
On tape, Tre Watson is plenty fast, but appears to lack that turbo gear that say, Khalfani Muhammad or Jahvid Best have. Still, what he may not have in top end speed, he does have make up for in lateral movement and vision - on many of these highlights, Watson is tasked with choosing which hole to run through, and does so, quickly and decisively. In situations when the defenders manage to get to him in time, he more often than not, finds a way to wriggle out of it with well-timed cuts. Don't confuse that to mean that he shifts around too much - Watson has a smooth way of maneuvering just enough to get to where he needs to go. There's also a decent spin move that he throws in from time to time, too.
Another plus - there's a lot zone-read run in these highlights, which can only help him once he comes to the Bear Raid.
For those worried that this means the Bears are out of the running for Joe Mixon, that's not the case just yet. There has been much talk of the Bears adding a second running back to the class, and they are still hot in pursuit of the five star back. Beyond him, though, is there anyone else you'd like to see them sign? What do you think of Watson?