How well do you think Cal filled positions of need in this class? Are there any places they came up short?
JahvidKnowsBest: Well obviously I thought Dykes did a really nice job with both the offensive and defensive lines. Although we didn't land any real prized talent, history has shown that some of the best linemen are not highly
recruited out of high school. With the way last season turned out, I think Dykes did the best he could in terms of addressing last year's glaring issues.
These new linemen recruits may not play immediately, but what they will do is push the upper classmen to work harder, and flat out perform better. No individual, especially big time college football players, wants to get replaced by younger, less experienced guys. I think our line play will improve dramatically over the next few seasons specifically because of this initial class.
Areas where we came up short. It would have been nice to land another safety. I am not too concerned about this though. At the college level I think a lot of corners can adequately play safety if need be. We can always move guys around. Sebastian should also have a dominant year, so I actually think this will be one of our better positions. Another RB would have also been nice, but again, I think we may have two of the better backs in the conference. There are still some capable runners on the roster besides Lasco and Bigs. Dasarte Yarnway still has one more year of eligibility I believe. I always thought he could be a force if healthy.
blueandgold15: Cal snagged a total of 13 linemen on offense and defense - considering that the former unit performed horrendously last season and the latter is amidst a transition to the 4-3, the Bears look to have addressed both needs quite adequately. In terms of coming up short, though, many hoped that Cal could've brought in a second running back to shore up the losses of C.J. Anderson and Isi Sofele, but Sonny Dykes said that there weren't any backs left that were great fits there. One other area the Bears didn't have any luck with was safety, as they swung and missed with L.J. Moore, Tyler Foreman and Patrick Enewally heading up to signing day.
atomsareenough: Well, first and foremost, we got a lot of bodies on the two lines, which was a big need. Even with the loss of Hunt to the Ducks, I like our OL class. The guys we got seem very physically impressive, humble and ready to work hard. Bunte and Cochran especially have the kind of size you like to see. Johnson and Borrayo need to put on some weight, and Hinnant needs to recover from his accident, but they all look like they can contribute down the road. If a couple of guys from last year's OL class pan out, then hopefully by 2014 we will look at this unit as a strength instead of the weakness it's been. We also got EIGHT defensive linemen, which has been a pretty thin unit for the Bears for the past couple of years, even as we've had some good players there like Cameron Jordan and Aaron Tipoti.
Last year we had a lot of injuries at this position as well, so adding a couple of JC guys like Sina and Kragen should give us immediate depth. I especially liked Sina's tape, as he seems like he could be an explosive pass-rusher. However, he's coming off an ACL injury, so who knows how ready he will be. Kragen also looked better than I was expecting. He's raw, but he seems to have good instincts and gets to the ball pretty well. Doesn't give up on plays.
As for the high school recruits, obviously Takkarist McKinley jumps out at you with his incredible athleticism. He has the potential to be a real star at some point. Hughes seems like a solid all-around athlete as well, and Mekari, Davison, Hunter, and Manley all seem like active, high-motor trench warriors. I also think we did well at QB, RB (even though we only got 1, I'm really excited about Khalfani Muhammad), LB, and K, and I really like every single guy we got at those positions.
Places we came up short: Obviously, the safety position, where we rolled a big, fat zero. It's been bad luck that we keep striking out with key safety recruits, but that trend needs to stop next year. We got a few corners though. Allensworth looks legit, but he's coming off an ACL as well, I believe. Walker and Cheek seem solid, and I'm glad we got those guys, but we need more depth at DB, and I would have loved to have gotten Moore and Enewally as well. Another quality RB would have been nice, so losing Newby to Nebraska was disappointing.
I think the WRs we got are intriguing; Coleman's a speed guy and Austin is a big, smart hands guy, and they're both underrated. It's possible that Austin's polish could allow him to play immediately, especially with the 4-receiver sets that Dykes uses. I like Whitehurst's size at 6'6", but he seems pretty slow and kind of raw, so he may need to develop a bit more. So, we might have some diamonds in the rough here, but that's not quite as exciting as a talent that just jumps off the page at you. Getting Cavil would have been really nice. All in all, I'm not worried though. We had a great WR class last year, as obviously Harper and Treggs contributed right off the bat. I'm particularly excited to see Kenny Lawler on the field, as I think he could be pretty special. We're fine at WR.
So overall, we got lots of linemen and hopefully rebalanced the roster a bit. We got some good new talent at almost every position. I think we're going to have to concentrate on getting more DBs and RBs next year.
Who would you say is the biggest impact Cal recruit in this class?
JahvidKnowsBest: I'm going to go out on a limb and say Cochran. I thought his tape looked great, and that he was underrated by most recruiting services. I could see him being an NFL prospect in 3 years with his size. As soon as the line starts playing better (hopefully spearheaded by Cochran), the Bears will start playing better.
blueandgold15: In a few years, the answer to that question will likely be Jared Goff, if he lives up to his billing at quarterback. Other guys who could be huge difference makers: Aaron Cochran and Takkarist McKinley.
atomsareenough: In terms of long term impact? It's hard to pick just one guy with any degree of certainty, so I'm going to guess one of Ragin, McKinley, or Goff. Ragin is the complete package, McKinley's got absolutely freakish athleticism, and if Goff ever makes it to become our starting QB (which he has a legit chance to be in a couple years), then obviously that's a huge impact on the program.