For many years during the Tedford era, securing the local talent was one of the team's biggest keys for success. What made Tedford so good was not only the fact that he could reel in all-world talent such as Marshawn and Desean, but he could take raw local athletes such as Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins and turn them into polished, NFL-quality receivers.
In my opinion, securing Bay Area first and foremost should always be the Bear's recruiting priority no. 1. Although the talent in LA has been on the rise, there are still a multitude of fine players that come out of this area every year. Here's who we're looking at so far for 2014.
Kirk Johnson, Valley Christian (San Jose), Running Back.
During my playing days, Valley Christian was known for producing some of the powerful running backs in Nor Cal- see Cameron Marshall if you don't believe me. Johnson does a good job of falling in line with that tradition. At just over 6'0, 200 lbs, Johnson possesses a unique combination of speed, power, and balance.
Although this back hasn't pulled in that many offers yet, I anticipate his recruitment heating up considerably in the coming months. I think Cal, if we play our cards right, has a great shot of landing this kid and adding some much needed depth and size into our current backfield. Johnson would be a great asset for goal-line situations as well as pass blocking. He also could be an early contributor on special teams.
The largest hurdle in terms of getting Johnson to commit are his ties to Texas. He's a UT legacy, and is apparently very interested in becoming a Long Horn.
Hopefully we can convince him otherwise!
Austin Aaron, WR, Napa.
Really, really stoked on this kid. Aaron possesses all the measurable qualities you want to see in a receiver. He's 6'5, probably weighs in realistically at around 210, and runs around a 4.6 40 yard dash. Our main competitors in recruiting him are the likes of Duke, Harvard, and Brown--which tells you that he's a strong student as well.
Aaron is also apparently very high on Cal, and I believe there's a strong chance that he ends up here. I'm happy to see that Cal was proactive and offered him early. Other schools such as UCLA are starting to express their interest in him, so I'm glad that we were able to make the first PAC-12 offer.
As you can see, Aaron has some great hands on him and is a jump ball machine. I'd be really excited to see what Goff or Rubenzer could do with a receiver like this.
Tyler Petite, Athlete, Campolindo High.
Petite is formally listed as an athlete on most recruiting sites, but played tight end in high school and was a dominant force. I couldn't find a good highlight tape of him, but here's a brief clip from his game against Miramonte. There's a Petite touchdown around the 00:35 mark, and it's a pretty impressive one.
Unfortunately, Petite is already heavily sought after in the PAC-12.
He already has offers from almost every program in our conference. Hopefully the local card will help us out here.
Je'vari Anderson, De La Salle, Athlete (Safety)
Now this is what I like to see. Cal has had hit and miss luck with De La Salle players over the past couple seasons. Although it doesn't really need to be said, turning De La Salle into a significant recruiting pipeline would be a major boon to our recruiting efforts. De La Salle produces some of the most well-coached, college level ready players in the country.
Anderson is an intriguing product. He's extremely athletic, and could likely play either corner or safety, or maybe even linebacker?? Because of his size, 6'1, just over 200, I like him a lot at safety.
As you can see from 00:40, he's big enough to play effectively down by the line of scrimmage, essentially filling a linebacker role on this particular play. What's more, he also looks pretty good at running back too, and may potentially even be recruited to play that side of the ball by particular schools (think of UCLA's Myles Jack). Overall a phenomenal athlete that we would be a major asset to us.
Jason Scrempos, Milpitas, DE
We've offered this recruit but there's not a whole lot of information out on him yet. All we really have to go on is the film, which is fine.
He's got an excellent get off for a guy his size (6'6, 240), and he also has a real knack for batting down balls at the line of scrimmage. Looks to be used more for his pass rushing capabilities rather than run defense, but that may also be a product of a lot of factors (e.g. the kind of offense he's playing against, as well as the plays he's selected to include in his highlight). Overall, a solid recruit who will likely see offers trickling in next season. I think the offer to him was justified given how our D-line played last season. I'm intrigued to learn more about this player in the coming weeks--hopefully the recruiting info on him is more comprehensive by then.
That's all the guys we're looking at this week. I'm left with one final question for you all. How essential do you believe it is that all this local talent commits to us? Is it as important as it used to be that we secure the bay area talent pool before worrying about LA and out of state commits? Has the bay area talent pool decreased in recent years? You know where I stand on this, now I'd like to hear from all of you.