I speak of those Cal commits who have remained resolute in their commitment to our fine university. For them, we give thanks. We've seen two new coaching hires that will hopefully help right the ship, but much credit must also be given to the members of the class who have worked hard to keep everything together. Oh, and they all happen to be very good football players too.
Below is a summary of the committed players in the 2012 class, and where they're at with their commitments.
Zach Kline, QB (Cal) San Ramon Valley (San Ramon, CA). Enrolled at Cal and started classes in the midst of Toshageddon. It was probably an interesting few days on campus as Zach saw two coaches depart and his fellow Cal commits questioning their loyalty to the school and the program. A bummer, no doubt. Bear Insider had these comments from Zach in a nice article summarizing what many of the commits were feeling as news of Tosh's departure broke:
"I talked to Bryce and everyone and it sucks but we're all here for a much bigger reason than just one coach," said Kline. "We're here to play ball for Coach Tedford. We're here to play ball for the university. We're here because we made the best decisions for ourself.
"Coach Lupoi was a hell of a coach and we'll miss him but it's not going to change our goals with where we want to be in the future."
The maturity with which Zach handled the news was refreshing. And his sentiments are echoed by many of his future teammates. Great to have him on campus and enjoying what Cal has to offer!
Christian Okafor, OT (Cal) Westbury (Houston, TX). Also enrolled at Cal and started classes. I wasn't able to find any comments from Okafor on the coaching turmoil, but his commitment to Cal was never about Tosh or Kiesau. From a Rivals commitment story in December:
"It was coach (Jeff) Tedford. He's a great head coach. He wants to know his players and he wants to make sure his players do well after college. That was the main thing I was worried about, life after football.
"I knew I could do something in football and everything but what about after that? Cal demonstrated they do care about what happens after football."
Okafor is smart dude (wanting to major in a science...one of his primary reasons for enrolling early). He also is a very good football player and will provide a much needed boost at the tackle spots. Great guy to have in the fold. Welcome to Cal, big fella!
Good news. There's a lot of guys in this category!
Matt Cochran, OL (Cal) Buhach (Atwater, CA). Not only remained firm in his commitment but also worked to keep the class together. Cochran is another clear leader of this class, and he handled his commitment with the maturity you'd expect from a High School class president. Below quotes from the same BI article where Kline was quoted:
"At first I was shocked and I had a like a 30 minute period wondering what I was going to do, like some other recruits," said Cochran. "But after talking to Coach Tedford and Coach M (offensive line coach Jim Michalczik), I'm confident in my decision and I don't think I have anything to worry about.
"After a while, I had to realize why I committed in the first place and I didn't commit because of Coach Tosh, even though I was close to him. That's what a lot of recruits are saying the same thing right now, too.
"It kind of hurts, but again, I didn't make just a purely football decision to choose Cal. It wasn't just because of one coach. It was a lot of the coaches and all the great guys we'll be playing with.
"Football's a business and changes happen. This is just the first of many changes in years to come."
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Matt is one of my favorite recruits in this class. He's going to be a great player for us, but he's also a great person who comes from a good family. We're very lucky to have him.
"I'm still all Cal,...Coming from a player's perspective, a personal perspective, it's kind of a shocker, because the way he recruited was '#CalGang, we're all family, we're all this,' and I talked to him not too long ago, and it was the same thing. Come today, it's a big shock. But, on the other hand, I mean, to provide for his family and what needs to be done, there has to be perspective. If they offered him more money for his family, his family comes first, so he had to do what he had to do."
"What everybody's thinking about is that it's a specific coach, but when you commit, you've got to think beyond the coach, beyond the school, beyond the recruiter. And that's what did it for me. It's upsetting that [Lupoi] had to leave, but overall, Cal's where I belong."
Steven Moore, OL Elk Grove (Elk Grove, CA). Like his OL colleagues, Steven remained firm in his commitment to Cal. Perhaps Coach M needs to be given a bit more credit for his recruiting skills? Again, critical piece to keep in the fold. Very glad to have Steven staying strong in his commitment. Tweetage courtesy of Mr. Moore himself:
@stevenmoore73: Rule #1: Cant pick a school just on coaching, have to love the school. Coaches are always moving around.
@stevenmoore73: Im still 100% to cal.
Darius Powe, WR (Cal) Lakewood (Lakewood, CA). Darius affirmed his commitment...twice. Once after Tosh left, and once again after Kiesau left. Awesome. He's a guy with great size, range, hands...and upside! Love that Darius has stayed committed. Once again, he chose Cal for the right reasons and I thank him for it.
@powe10pow: Thats why they say dont pick college on coaches cuz they come and go !!!
Chris Harper, WR (Cal) Crespi (Encino, CA). (twitter link and quote). Harper stayed true to us and had good things to say about our new WR coach, Wes Chandler. It had to be tough on our WR commits to see their future position coach bail. A good hire and their patience in allowing the hire to be made were very pleasant. Chris will be a solid addition to our WR corps and brings some nice deep threat potential that we haven't seen much of as of late. He stayed solid, and is ready to do some recruiting for our Bears this weekend!
@ItsChrisHarper: Time to get all these people committed to the #1 public school...in the world.
Bryce Treggs, WR (Cal) St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA). I'm considering Bryce as solid, but he's still having a look around. After a good official visit to UCLA last weekend, he'll be visiting USC on an official today and tomorrow before heading up to Cal for an unofficial. If there's any threat at all, it'll be UCLA. His buddy Ish Adams has been putting in solid recruiting work for the Bruins, and its possible childhood friend and fellow WR Kodi Whitfeld may flip from Stanford to UCLA. Still, Treggs is all Cal in his heart. We need him too. He'll be able to make an immediate impact next year. Here's some quotes about his in-home with Coach Chandler, courtesy of Bear Territory ($):
"The visit with him was great," Bryce said. "He has a bit of a different style than coach [Eric] Kiesau, because he's an older, more laid-back guy, but he's a very knowledgeable guy."
"He has a great passion for the game," Bryce said. "He can help me reach my full potential as a wide receiver."
"I'm still solidly committed,"
Michael Barton, LB (Cal) De La Salle (Concord, CA). The second 2012 recruit to verbally commit to the Bears affirmed his commitment in full this week. Thank God. Barton is a tackling machine and future star. he showed out in his senior season and again during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. He spoke to Bear Terrirotory about his reasons for staying with Cal. Article here($), one tidbit below:
"The program, I chose Cal for the rich tradition it has there, and of course, the location; I'm a Bay Area kid," Barton said. "Going back up to the school, seeing everybody, being in that atmosphere again, it just made me feel comfortable, and made me realize what I wanted to do. I think, just going up there and re-affirming with the coaches that Cal is still Cal -- regardless of who's there -- really helped me, as well."
Hardy Nickerson Jr, LB (Cal) Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, CA). Hardy Jr never wavered, announcing he was firm in his commitment quickly following the news of the coaching departures. Good thing, too. Hardy will be a real hammer in the middle of the defense in the coming years. No doubt, his dad is proud that his son will be a Bear as well. You want a tweet that leaves no doubt? BAM:
NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS?
Haven't found anything newsworthy (good or bad) about the commitment status of Junior Espitia (FB) or Cole Leininger (P), but I think any news at this juncture would just be bad. We can assume they're solid until we hear otherwise.
Zach Hoffpauir, S (Cal) Centennial (Peoria, AZ). Took an OV to ASU, and may have been admitted to Stanford. Claiming to be solid to Cal, but threats are imminent. Anyone who watched the Semper Fi game knows this is not a guy we want to see elsewhere in the PAC-12. If Hoff was, in fact, admitted to Stanford, his decision may get a bit tougher. Quotes come from this Rivals article:
"I am committed to Cal right now. I'm waiting to get admitted to Stanford and then after that I don't know what's going on. I'm committed to Cal right now and that's where I'm looking."
Cedric Dozier, WR (Cal) Lakes (Lakewood, WA). Took an OV to Wazzu and was rumored to be staying with Cal. News has since spread that Cedric will be visiting UW after speaking to Coach Kiesau and that UW is pursuing him as a WR now, rather than a DB as they initially were. Uh oh! Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweeted the news yesterday:
Kenny Walker, WR (Cal) Kennedy (Richmond, CA). Took an OV to UCLA, and is planning an OV to Washington. Despite conflicting reports, Kenny seems to be keeping his options open. One article even claimed Kenny was close to committing to UCLA last weekend on his visit. Don't you have to de-commit first? I'd like to think the allure of staying close to home and the education Cal can offer make the difference here, but its only normal that a guy who just lost his position coach would want to look around. We'll see if Kiesau and the seal-clubbers can turn him.
ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM:
Shaq Thompson, S (Cal) Grant (Sacramento, CA). Supposedly, Shaq is now considering holding off until after National Signing Day before making his decision. He currently has a top three of Cal, UW, and UCLA, with Oregon slightly behind. Frankly, the longer this plays out, the better I think it is for us. I don't need to tell anyone how important Shaq is to this class and this team. If he needs time to see that Cal is still the place for him, I'm okay with that. This is not a sure thing by any means though.
Jordan Payton, WR (Cal) Oaks Christian (Westlake, CA). Took an OV to Washington and apparently loved it. Looking like it will be us or the Huskies, with Payton planning to announce on a SoCal sport channel next Tuesday. Despite all the turmoil of the last week, I think we have a pretty good shot of holding onto him. On the flipside, he does seem like the commit we're most likely to lose at this point (McCarthy doesn't count any more).
So...we're actually doing okay. This class has a very good chance of remaining pretty much intact, and that doesn't include some of the big fish that we're still in it for. DJ Foster is announcing tomorrow at 11:45am AZ time. We've got a good shot at him. Armstead is still a very real possibility. Brandon Beaver will be visiting this weekend. That's big.
We're gonna be alright. Be thankful for the guys who we have and let's show some appreciation for the maturity with which many of these guys have handled this. They've certainly been more mature than me. That's not hard though.
ALL IS WELL!