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Golden Recruiting Wire: National Signing Day countdown begins

Several key recruits will be in Berkeley this weekend for a visit.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

With only three weeks left till National Signing Day, it's good that we are beginning to get group recruiting visits going. This weekend is going to be huge in terms of shaping this year's class.

Who's coming to town?

So far my list includes Marcus Griffin, Koa Farmer, Tre Watson, Aisea Tongilava, Dominic Granado, and Sully Wiefels. That list may or may not be entirely comprehensive. To me, it seems a bit strange that this group visit is scheduled at a time when no students will be on campus (I'm fairly certain Winter Break extends past the 20th of January this year). Generally speaking, you want recruits to be able to get a real "feel" for what a campus is like, and it's hard to do that when there's no students walking around.

Regardless, beggars can't be choosers, and with National Signing Day just a few weeks away it's better that we get these visits done sooner rather than later.

Marcus Griffin, DT:

Griffin would be a huge pick-up considering how weak our d-line is right now. If you examine truly bad defenses (like ours last year), one thing they all usually have in common is lack of a pass rush. For the most part, it's hard to argue that that was not the case for us last year. Maybe a few bright spots here and there, but most teams blocked our defensive linemen effectively. With Moala's unexpected departure, Griffin becomes an even more vital recruit.

Looking at the tape, you don't really need the little pointer arrow to pick out Griffin. He repeatedly gets penetration into the offensive backfield, and looks like he can play the run just as well as he can rush the passer. The main competitors for him are Wazzu and Mississippi State; I like to think we have the upper-hand here. Fingers crossed for a commitment from him.

Koa Farmer, S:

I know Koa has already been covered a lot by our site. However, I've been out of the mix for a few months, so I wanted to give my 2 cents on him. As you probably know, he's a "soft" commit to us; that is, there is a very real chance he could commit to another school, perhaps USC, in the coming weeks. It would be a shame to lose a talented player like this.

Also, Penn State has come calling now that James Franklin has changed homes

Clearly talented enough to play receiver at the next level, I think he made the right decision in committing to schools as a Safety. At six-foot, roughly 200 lbs, he possess the kind of big body you like to see in a strong safety. Although a bit smaller than Sean Cattouse, he still reminds me of him in terms of his physical build. I wish there were more defensive clips in the above videos, but regardless you still get a pretty good idea at just how athletic this guy really is (check the hurdle clip). Koa also appears to be pretty smart, having secured offers from Harvard and Yale as well. Hopefully he finds Berkeley to have the perfect balance between sports and school. Let's hope he enjoys his visit!

Tre Watson, RB:

We've talked a lot about Tre on this site already, and as I said last week, I believe he'll probably stay firm on his commit. Hopefully his visit this weekend is more of a "formality." I'm not counting my chickens before they hatch though.

Aisea Tongilava, LB:

Here are Aisea's Hudl highlights.

The San Jose Spartan commit is likely to jump ship in the coming weeks, and my money is on him becoming a Bear.

Aisea is a little on the smaller side, but boy do I like his tape. Nice speed and athleticism, but what stands out to me most is his motor. He never seems to give up on plays. He also plays well out in space, something that is key for an outside linebacker. Although Aisea hasn't gotten much attention in terms of recruitment, I think he could pay dividends down the road depending on how hard he's willing to work (in the classroom and on the field). As a team that's reeling from a 1-11 season, one of the keys to rebuilding is finding some guys who may not be the highest rated recruits, but work hard and have strong character. Hopefully Aisea fits this mold.

Dominic Granado OT:

A JC recruit who hasn't gotten much coverage, Granado looks to possess the physical tools to do well at the next level: he's about 6'5, and almost 300 lbs. Here are his Hudl highlights.

I'm not O-lineman expert, but fundamentally he looks fairly sound. He also looks like he has a bit of a mean streak to him (there's some pretty big hits in the highlight), which is something that's much valued in offensive tackles. He also looks pretty fast for a guys his size, getting around the outside on some pulling plays and laying some solid blocks on safeties and outside linebackers.

Sully Wiefels OT, OG:

Another JC lineman recruit, Wiefels looks dominate in his JC tape (as he should).

Not a lot of info out there on this guy, and he hasn't gotten much recruiting attention yet. Like Granado, he plays mean, finishing blocks off with pancakes and big hits. Another upside is that he looks equally good playing both tackle and guard. That's a pretty valuable characteristic to have as an offensive lineman, especially considering how prone to injuries our line has been over the last few seasons.

Finally, it's also rumored that Darius White, a JC cornerback, may be coming this weekend as well. Here's his Hudl tape.

That's not confirmed though.

In terms of non-visit news, USC wideout commit, Shay Fields, has said that he's going to re-open his recruitment back up.

Cal might actually might be in the mix here, since we were one of his choices before he initially committed to USC.

Also, firm BYU commit Tyler Cook just received a Cal offer. Apparently this was his dream school going into the recruitment process.

Hope we can snag him but I'm not confident as he seems set on sticking to his commitment.

That's all this week. Hope these visits go well.