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Cal football golden recruiting wire: 2016 QB Brandon McIlwain to decide New Year's Eve

Cal is on the shortlist.

Mike Tedesco-USA TODAY Sports

Merry Christmas Eve! Here are some quick recruiting updates (here's the previous recruiting wire) before you head back to wrapping gifts and chatting with annoying relatives:

The big one is 2016 Newtown (Pa.) Council Rock North quarterback Brandon McIlwain, one of the top five dual threat quarterbacks in this class. He's the type of player you know could tear it up in the Tony Franklin System with his ability to run and pass, and Franklin offered him really early, way back in March. He has Cal in his final four, and will make his announcement on New Year's Eve.

McIlwain is a special talent who will probably have a top two of Penn State and South Carolina and pick between one of these programs, but it's good to see Cal starting to get back in the mix for top recruits.

Back to this year's prospects as we loom toward national signing day, where Cal's biggest issue is getting defensive backs of all sorts...

DePriest Turner (check out our commitment story)! It's a big flip by the coaching staff, who are doing work in the South the past few weeks. He obviously won't compete for quarterback this season, but if Cal starts building up defensive depth by next year, there's a good chance he could enter what figures to be a crowded quarterback race in the post-Goff era.



"I'm not coming out to California to sit on anybody's bench," Turner told BearTerritory on Monday. "They told me to come out here and train like I'm going to take somebody's job, like I'm going to start."

If you take a look at a tape, it's just crazy what Turner does in open space. It doesn't look like elite competition, but he is just smoking fellas. His speed will be so useful in a secondary that is starved for speed.

Another big piece of the defensive puzzle is Gainesville (Fl.) cornerback Chris Williamson, who is still deliberating. Williamson is starting to get a lot of late offers, including North Carolina last week. But Cal is in a good spot right now. Ryan Gorcey with Scout has more.

"Talking to some of the players, they really believe in the coaches, and what they’re doing, and they’ve got a lot of guys returning on both sides of the ball," said Williamson. "That’s the thing: There are a lot of guys returning on offense, and a lot of guys returning on the D-line and linebacking corps, but the secondary is where they need a lot of help, so a guy like me could come in and play there, if I do everything I’m supposed to and take advantage of my opportunities."

Another huge defensive back target is Crescent City (Ca.) Del Norte cornerback Quenton Meeks. Meeks is currently deliberating between making an early decision (which could be good for us) and taking more visits (which might be trouble).

More on the amazing Antoine Albert (CGB commitment story) via Gorcey.

This past semester at Diablo Valley College, Albert took a speech and debate class, and learned as much about himself and what he can do, as he did other people, and the art of debate itself.

"The hard thing about my speech class was actually – it wasn’t about talking; it was more about presentation," says Albert. "You still have to get up and talk, but I ain’t shy, about anything. On a project, I realized that there were people who were as scared as I was, or even more scared, more nervous than I was [to get up and speak]. I said, ‘Shoot, y’all are talking alright, and I’m the one who has a speech impediment.’"

For those who want to see what our recruits are up to, here's A.J. Greathouse (CGB scouting report) and Derron Brown (CGB scouting report) getting ready to be Bears!

That's all for now! We'll see you next week as all-star bowl games rev up! Happy Holidays! Go Bears!