So far we've done a couple of posts regarding some of the offensive skill position players Cal is going after. As you all know though, no matter how many impressive backs and receivers we get, those guys won't be effective without a strong O-line upfront.
The O-Line has been a source of frustration over the past several seasons. While we have had talented players, injuries and a major coaching change-in my opinion-have made it difficult to solidify any sort of strong and consistent O-Line play. Landing a few major recruits at this vital position will go along way, and hopefully will allow our talented backs and receivers to make plays.
Zach Robertson, St. John Bosco, Tackle
Top 300 ESPN recruit and a legit 4 star prospect, Robertson is the Bear's top target for 2014.
#Georgia and many others showing new interest in 2015 OL Zach Robertson— Adam Gorney (@adamgorney) December 27, 2013
With his stock continuing to rise, it will be tough for the Bears to snag a commitment from a player of this caliber. That being said, I think we generally do better at Bosco than most other Pac-12 schools, so I am relatively optimistic.
As you can see from the first couple of plays, Bosco likes to pull this guy a lot for running plays, and with good reason. He's athletic enough to get outside and track down outside linebacker and the occasional defensive back. I love him as a run blocker. It's hard to say now how effective he will be in the passing game, and generally that's the more difficult skill to develop. If he does end up coming to Cal, I hope that by then, we will be more devoted to the run game so that he will have a chance to showcase his pulling skills. No offensive lineman likes to sit back and pass protect, which is unfortunately what ours had to do during the second half of most of our games last year.
Bar Milo, Chaminade, Tackle.
Our top target at tackle, Bar Milo is also a consensus 4 star, ESPN top 300 recruit. He hasn't demonstrated any leanings towards one particular school, and currently is sitting with offers from the bulk of the Pac-12.
Here are his Hudl highlgihts. They're not the best because sometimes he highlights himself after the play has begun. I won't pretend to be the biggest expert on offensive line play and technique, but from my experience as a running back, he definitely looks like someone I'd want to have blocking for me. He's great at finishing blocks, and more often than not it seems that his man winds up on the ground beneath him.
Dominic Fredrickson, Oakley, Guard.
A local player who I personally believe will end up a Cal Bear. Fredrickson is yet to be rated officially by ESPN, but I predict him eventually getting a 3, perhaps even a 4 star rating. It's early in recruiting season and he already has a handful of offers (the top three being us, ASU, and UCLA).
One of Joe Mixon's linemen, Fredrickson is a player who has all of the measurables you'd look for in an offensive guard. He's got size, speed, and nastiness, and isn't shy about ear-holing defensive players on long running plays. Most encouraging about watching this tape is that Fredrickson blocks in a scheme very similar to our own, for both pass and running plays. In my opinion, there's a very good chance that this kid will be wearing blue and gold in the future so get ready to be hearing more and more about him from us as recruiting season goes on.
Cody Creason, Folsom, Guard.
Another recruit who is yet to get an official rating from ESPN (those don't really matter anyway). Regardless, this kid already has a handful of great offers from Pac-12 schools, including us and Oregon.
Again, I think we have a really good shot here, and I'm glad we offered early before the other offers starting coming in for this guy.
My favorite play is at 00:35 when Creason gets outside for a screen play. Let's break down that sequence. He fakes the pass block effectively, sucking the defense in. He then releases outside in tandem with another linemen. He identifies the most dangerous defender in front of him and effectively pancakes him, allowing the ball carrier to get a healthy gain. For any O-Linemen, especially the guys on the bigger side like Creason is (he's about 6'5, almost 300), it's pretty difficult getting out in open space and being able to actually effectively block a usually much more agile defensive back or linebacker. Creason does a great job of this here.
Nick Capella, St. Bonaventure, Tackle.
Talented player that hasn't gotten much attention yet. We're his only offer so far. His GPA and class rank are a promising sign though. The only real drawback I see (again I'm not expert at O-Line play), is that he blocks in a much more traditional offense. You see a lot of I formation sets, with the QB under center. I'm not sure how much of an adjustment it will be for him in our system. I would imagine that pulling the guard is pretty much the same in every offense.
Johnny Capra, Auburn, Tackle
A more of the under the radar kid, but I like his tape a lot. Very, very big (over 6'6, probably close to 300 lbs). He plays in a smashmouth offense and does a whole lot of run blocking. Definitely plays with a bit of a mean-streak and doesn't mind the contact (that's an understatement). These kids from Placer County were always known for their physical play--this guy lives up to it. Last year's no. 1 DT was from his high school I believe, so Johnny Capra probably had to practice against him for the last three years. I think this would be a great steal if we could get a commitment from him early.