So with Cal losing two defensive tackles and a bunch of linebackers to every place that isn't Berkeley, the Bears need to find some more recruits to shore up their front seven. And by "some more" I mean "A LOT MORE". Could help come from two former Cougar verbals?
Cal currently has four defensive line recruits in David Davis, Trevor Kelly, Jonathan Johnson and Kennedy Emesibe. However, three of them are junior college players and only stop-gap measures, so getting four-year players onto campus would be a big help for the Bears.
With both Vei Moala and DeAndre Coleman out the door, Cal returns Mustafa Jalil and Jacobi Hunter next year as potential defensive tackles, with maybe a dose of Austin Clark and Tony Mekari somewhere in there. That's not exactly promising.
So Cal is trying to get a marquee defensive tackle for their class, and it could come in the form of former WSU commit Marcus Griffin. The Bellevue (Wa.) defensive tackle will be visiting Cal along with Mississippi State sometime in the next month. Griffin has had Cal on his short list for quite some time, so it could come down to who Cal ends up hiring as their new defensive line coach.
Meanwhile, when it comes to linebackers in this class, Cal currently has Devante Downs ... and that's it. Considering the Bears are losing THREE of their potential rotation players for various reasons (Khairi Fortt, Johnny Ragin III, Chad Whitener).
So the Bears could use a solid prospect, and St. John Bosco (Ca.) linebacker Chandler Leniu may be just what the doctor ordered. Leniu decommitted from Washington State yesterday and the Bears are solidly in the mix.
Although the 4-star linebacker committed to WSU in early September, he has been at best a soft verbal for a while. He hasn't been shy about his interest in California and will take official visits to Cal and Fresno State. WSU remains in the running as well, with Leniu's father telling Gorney the Cougars are still in the top three.
Leniu is from Southern California and according to Gorney, location could be a deciding factor. He participated in the Semper Fi All-Star game last week and said he was "still up in the air" between Cal and WSU. He's planning to visit the Bears on Jan. 24 and will reportedly take an official to Fresno State the week after. There obviously isn't much time between those visits and signing day, so Leniu's status could come down to the wire.
It should go without saying that Cal needs to replenish the linebacker coffers in a hurry if the new defense is to have any chance of recovering within the next few years. Leniu would definitely help with that.