The dynamic duo of Cal running back commits, Zion Echols and Derrick Clark, have returned from their bye weeks and both had a huge impact on their team's victories this week.
Meanwhile, quarterback Max Gilliam uncharacteristically struggled in a showdown of undefeated teams, while a pair of offensive line commits, Gentle Williams and Jake Curhan, also suffered defeats.
On a brighter note, all but one of the Bears' defensive commits emerged victorious during this weekend of high school football.
Let's start with the offense:
Zion Echols: RB, Covina (Ca.) Charter Oak (5-1)
Echols is fast becoming perhaps my favorite commit in the entire class. Charter Oak demolished Chino (Ca.) Chino by a score of 42-14 and Echols scored each of his team's six touchdowns. Echols rushed 17 times for 158 yards and five touchdowns. He rounded it off with a 98-yard kick return for a touchdown.
While I do not think he is as fast as Desean Jackson, Echols does share his effortless running style. In the highlight Echols gives off the appearance that he is not even close to running as fast as he can. He is just so quick that he does not have to hit top gear to outrun his opponents.
Echols should be a very dangerous player in Berkeley.
Jordan Duncan: WR, Hattiesburg (Ms.) Oak Grove (6-1)
Duncan has been a pleasure to watch all season. He has a good combination of size and speed, he has great leaping ability and knows how to high-point the football.
He is supremely talented and often times explodes for great performances, but other times he puts together some pedestrian stat lines. Oak Grove's matchup with Meridian (Ms.) Meridian resulted in a 24-21 victory, but Duncan registered just 32 yards on six receptions. Without the benefit of seeing the entire game it is difficult to gauge just why this occurs
Whatever the reason, Duncan is a phenomenal talent and should be fun to watch when he arrives at Cal.
Derrick Clark: RB, San Diego (Ca.) Mission Bay (6-0)
Clark contributed 108 rushing yards and the game-winning touchdown to Mission Bay's 14-13 triumph against La Jolla (Ca.) La Jolla. Clark is rated as a 3-star recruit by the major recruiting services, but I think he has a chance to be a successful under-the-radar prospect for the Bears.
Max Gilliam: QB, Thousand Oaks (Ca.) Thousand Oaks (6-1)
Gilliam and Thousand Oaks had a rough day at the office against their private school rivals from Westlake Village (Ca.) Oaks Christian.
Thousand Oaks lost 48-7 and Gilliam was sacked four times.
Drew Kobayashi: WR, Honolulu (Hi.) St. Louis (6-1)
Kobayashi and St. Louis pummeled Honolulu (Hi.) Iolani 31-7 with the receiver hauling in three passes for 42 yards.
Jake Curhan: OL, Larkspur (Ca.) Redwood (3-3)
Redwood lossed 41-7 to Novato (Ca.) San Marin and Curhan was able to put together a few tackles in the San Marin backfield along with a nice pancake block at the second level.
Logan Gamble: WR, Long Beach (Ca.) St. Anthony (4-2)
St. Anthony picked up a 35-9 victory against Panorama City (Ca.) St. Genevieve. Gamble notched eight receptions for 101 yards.
Gamble shows some shiftiness, but I do not see a ton of top-end speed from him. He is a bigger receiver at 6-5 and around 190 pounds, so if he bulks up he could play a similar role to Stephen Anderson as a tight end in the Cal offense.
Matt Laris: WR, Sammamish (Wa.) Eastside Catholic (6-0)
Laris put together his best performance of the season with six receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns as Eastside Catholic scored a savage 54-6 victory against Seattle (Wa.) Bishop Blanchet.
Laris, at 6-4 and 210 pounds, is yet another big bodied receiver who will bolster the Cal receiving corps in the coming years.
Francisco Perez: OL, Baldwin Park (Ca.) Baldwin Park (3-3)
Perez and Baldwin Park won their intra-city rivalry game with Baldwin Park (Ca.) Sierra Vista 35-8. Perez put together a couple of good blocks that made it into his highlight video for this game.
The first play shows Perez hop outside a bit and still be able to block the defensive end. It worked for Perez this time, but a quicker defensive end would more than likely be able to split that gap and pressure the quarterback.
The second play from the video is much better for Perez as he gets his hands on the defensive player and is able to take him out of the play completely, which allowed his quarterback the time to throw a touchdown pass.
Now for the defensive commits:
Josh Drayden: CB, Dallas (Tx.) Bishop Dunne (6-0)
Bishop Dunne had to fight for a 28-21 victory in what was a rare close game against Plano (Tx.) Prestonwood Christian.
Drayden made a huge impact on the outcome of the game with two pass breakups, at least one tackle and a late game interception.
Drayden looks like such a good tackling press-man corner that I cannot wait for him to arrive at Cal. He might not play right away, but I would be stunned if he did not end up being a very capable starting cornerback for the Bears at some point during his career.
Tevin Paul: DE, Austin (Tx.) Lake Travis (6-0)
Lake Travis continued its dominance this season with a 60-3 defeat of Austin (Tx.) Anderson. Paul notched one sack, three tackles, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hurry. Paul is a two-star recruit on Rivals, but Texas kids are scrappy. I think he will outperform his rating at Cal.
Chris Yaghi: DT, Santa Ana (Ca.) Foothill (4-2)
Yaghi registered three tackles for loss, one sack and a tipped pass during Foothill's 34-7 clobbering of Placentia (Ca.) El Dorado.
Yaghi is definitely strong as he almost exclusively utilized a bull rush to beat his blocker, but he needs to stock his arsenal with other pass rush moves if he wants to consistently make plays in the backfield at the next level.
Markus Wright: LB, Columbus (Ga.) Jordan (2-5)
I cannot get enough of watching Wright play linebacker. He plays for a bad team but you can tell that he gives maximum effort on every play. His two-star rating on Rivals baffles me because he looks like a smart, fundamentally sound player. I especially like Wright's ability to quickly diagnose run plays and consistently charge after the ball carrier.
During Jordan's 42-21 loss to Macon (Ga.) Westside, Wright registered at least six tackles, one tackle for loss, a forced fumble and an interception which he returned for a touchdown.
Evan Weaver: DE, Spokane (Wa.) Gonzaga Prep (6-0)
Gonzaga Prep continues to easily pick up victories this season. Their latest victim, Spokane (Wa.) University, kept it reasonably close (28-6) compared to what opponents usually do against Gonzaga Prep.
Weaver had two rushing touchdowns and made several downfield tackles.