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Cal Football Recruiting Commitment: Bears Land 3-Star Defensive End Trevor Howard

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Cal received their tenth commitment of the 2015 recruiting class from Westlake Village (Ca.) Oaks Christian defensive end Trevor Howard.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Weighing in at around 218-224 pounds and measuring 6'3", Howard figures to be a solid added weapon to help contain the outside edge and might be in the mold of being a successor to Brennan Scarlett and Todd Barr.

Howard visited Cal earlier this year ...

Good start to a good day at Cal
- Trevor Howard (@t_howard96) April 12, 2014

Here are the rankings from the major recruiting services.

Rivals: 3 stars, 88th best recruit in California
247Sports: 3 stars (87), 35th best weak side defensive end, 86th best recruit in California
Scout: 3 stars, 105th best outside linebacker

Interest was growing for this rising DE/TE as ASU, UCLA, and Fresno State were all knocking on his door this past spring.

However, these other programs were late to the party as Cal was the first school to offer back in May followed shortly by Nevada and Idaho.

After choosing to take his 3rd unofficial visit at Cal over the summer, Mr. Howard decided that Coach Dykes and the resurgent Golden Bears were where he wanted to be.

Although there is a highlight tape from a 7x7 camp showing him as a tight end, the stats suggest that he's being recruited as a defensive end;  after catching 31 balls as a frosh, he only had 9 receptions total over his sophomore and junior seasons.  If nothing else, the highlights show that he's got speed and athleticism to go with his 6'3, 224-lb frame.

This Hudl highlight tape from his junior year is more interesting because it focuses on his play from defensive end.  I'm no Nam, but since our head writer was otherwise engaged as the story broke, I'll give it a shot.

11s:  Left unblocked, but stays home and doesn't bite on fake-pitch.  Once he sees the QB is keeping, he closes quickly for the tackle.

32s:  Pancake block as part of the kick-off return unit.  He'll likely start his career at Cal on special teams.

1m02s:  Running play away from his side.  Fights off the initial block and disengages from the RT.  Stays with the playand pursues from the backside to force a fumble.  Shows a great burst after locating the tailback.

1m39s:  Uses his speed on an inside move and gets through the B gap before the LT can touch him.  Forces an early throw and incompletion.

2m:  Left unblocked as the QB tries to run a read-option.  It looks like an outside zone with a fullback using an arc block on the scraping linebacker.  Howard charges inside, but gets upfield so quickly that he's able to close on the tailback and bring him down before the outside run develops.

2m11s:  Another burst off the line of scrimmage on an inside move that prevents the RT from getting hands on him.  Looks a bit like Todd Barr's explosive 1st step off the snap and it results in a QB hurry.

3m3s:  My favorite sequence.  Most of his highlights show him using his speed to either avoid blocks or to burst upfield when unblocked.  The obvious concern for a 224-lb defensive end is whether he's physical enough to hold the edge.  Howard starts this down by fighting his way through a double-team.  His push is relentless and after defeating the two initial blockers, he gets hit by a third man yet still manages to pressure the quarterback and force a throw-away.

For a defensive scheme that favors speed over size and emphasizes upfield penetration, Defensive Coordinator Art Kaufman's system is a great fit for Trevor Howard's strengths.  Kudos to the Cal coaching staff for identifying what they wanted early and going after it before the SoCal schools started paying attention.

Welcome to Cal, Trevor.  Go Bears!