Looking at the recruiting side of things, what type of players (Ex: Bigger linemen, faster safeties, stronger running backs?) do the Bears need most over this year and next to really return to the elite level of the Pac-12?
Norcalnick: Frankly, the type of player that Cal needs at the moment is the same type of player Cal fans have been dreaming about for the last decade, and the same type of players that were brought in over the last few years of the Tedford era: elite, highly rated defenders.
Unfortunately, this dilemma only reinforces how recruiting, although critical, is no guarantee of success. A combination of injuries, academics and unrealized talent has created a situation in which Cal has a statistically last place defense despite recruiting for that side of the ball better than almost everybody in the conference of late, at least by star rankings.
I don't really think there is a 'type' of player Cal needs. They just need talent and depth. If there was a magical way to recruit players who won't get hurt, that'd help too.
Atomsareenough: We need as many talented DBs as we can get. That's the top priority, obviously. I'd also like to see some strong, high caliber D-linemen who have the technique, skills, and motor to collapse the pocket and get to the opposing QB, which is something we haven't done well so far this season. I think those two areas are the biggest areas of need.
Getting quality o-linemen is also a priority, but I think we have enough big, strong young linemen who should be ready in the next year or so that short term, it's more a matter of coaching them up than addressing a lack of personnel. I'm particularly interested in seeing if the impressively sized Aaron Cochran and Erik Bunte can turn into quality players. We need to keep the pipeline flowing though, obviously.
At running back, I really like Watson and Enwere, but getting a commitment from Joe Mixon would surely be a very encouraging sign. This offense also needs receivers, but it shouldn't be too hard to convince elite wideouts that Cal is a place where you can get playing time and lots of passes thrown your way.
Sam Fielder: I want all the defensive monsters we can get both on the line and in the secondary. Our offense can clearly hold its own, but the D needs to be rebuilt from the line back. Second on my wish list is plenty of O-linemen. We need to be better in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
TwistNHook: I have no particular concern regarding the offensive side of the ball. I don't think that I can provide clear insight into specific players to come in on recruiting side for the D. But just in general, I think the entire D could use players who are able to pressure the QB and faster DBs. The problem I've seen in the first three games is a lack of QB pressure coupled with wide open players and explosive TDs (for the other team). It's easy for me to snap my fingers and go "FIND THOSE D-LINEMAN WHO CAN SACK THE QUARTERBACK!" Much tougher for it to happen in real life.
I have faith in Coach Dykes and his recruiting to bring in those types of players. Let's not forget that things are not quite as bleak as they seem. There have been a lot of unfortunate injuries on the D side. Some, like Avery Sebastian, are an all-year thing, sadly, but others will hopefully return to full health soon and then we can all GO BEARS.
Nam Le: The first priority has to be faster, more versatile safeties and linebackers. Against spread offenses and tempo teams, it is more and more important that players at these positions be able to cover, tackle in space and stop the run effectively - players who have all of these skills won't have to come out of the game as often, and as a bonus, act as Swiss army knives for defensive coordinators. I was making this point earlier on Twitter, but it's not like the staff doesn't know this - they've already added a whole host of defensive backs this class, and they're obviously talking to more. As far as other types of guys on defense? Big, athletic, disruptive linemen are also always in vogue. Bring all the linemen, goddamn it.