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Cal football 2015 recruiting class overview: Meet your new Bears!

With almost all the Letters of Intent in, here are the next set of gentlemen who signed to take their talents to Berkeley...


This year, my signing day explainer is built around shorter, easier to digest bits, but if you'd like to read some more about these players, the full scouting reports are still linked in the name, and above.

A few reminders:

  • There may be a few last second surprises, but this is the core of the class as we know it right now.
  • All #ShortTakes except for the one on Trevor Howard (which was written by Head Football Writer Scott Chong) and Dylan Klumph (written by kicking guru Chris Sailer) are my opinion based on tape review only, and should be taken as such; an opinion.
  • Some of #ShortTakes differ slightly from their original reports due to senior year film. I've indicated this where relevant.
  • This is intended to give some baseline expectations and introduce some familiarity to the player's style of play. You can compare the relative rankings from this class to the last one by hitting tab on the window. I plan on making this a living document.
  • Though I will support any thoughts with appropriate evidence for the claim, I am still not a professional talent evaluator.

Anyway, let's meet the class, shall we?

Austin Aaron - WR - Napa High (Napa, CA) | @austin__aaron

#ShortTake - Very talented tracking the ball in the air and in the red zone, fantastic hands and frame at 6'4, 200; due to physical development; in my opinion, he and Strickland have the best chances of the #NABSS of playing next year, and the staff will most likely be conservative as to how many of them they play, anyway.

Antoine Albert - CB - Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill, CA) | @aalbert_14

#ShortTake - Expected to give immediate CB rotation help if not start this fall, Albert has great man cover abilities and size on the outside to help in run support. I am fond of referring to him as The Lonely Island, for this reason, although he prefers Alcatraz, according to his profile. Notably bigger than almost all the corners on the roster already.

Greyson Bankhead - WR - Centennial (Corona, CA) | @greysonbankhead

#ShortTake - Needs to put on a ton of weight from a developmental standpoint, but he's the #NABSS equivalent of the now departed Chris Harper. Very, very shifty in the open field and knows how to get open on routes; shows ability to diagnose coverages on the fly and find space -- it's just the size that's a little troubling. Probably a little longer away than the rest of the WRs for that reason.

Luc Bequette - DT - Catholic For Boys (Little Rock, AR) | @bigbeq12

#ShortTake - A last minute flirtation with Florida aside, Bequette has some real strength in his frame already against the run. Not a bad athlete but does need further explosiveness. Probably won't be ready for a while, though -- expecting the staff to slide him into DT after he gets bigger. Hopefully one-tech?

Ross Bowers - QB - Bothell (Bothell, WA) | @r_bowers12

#ShortTake - Obvious redshirt, but an intriguing candidate for the Post Goff era. Bowers is already on campus throwing and getting reps. Good arm with many promising skills including quick release; very technically polished with pocket mobility and accuracy on the run, but not necessarily downfield run threat. Must continue to develop ability to look off defenders, etc, but do not sleep on Bowers.

Derron Brown - DB/S - Mesa Community College (Laveen, AZ) | @derronbrown_

#ShortTake - May factor into safety rotation this fall with open slot available post-Lowe; already on campus practicing. On tape: physical and pursues well from the middle of the field; competes well through the whole catch, meaning he will fight for the ball even once it's already in the receivers' hands. I'd personally like to see more to evaluate off of, though, especially as an athlete.

Ryan Gibson - C - St. Stanislaus (Bay Saint Louis, MS) | @ryan2818

#ShortTake - Played tackle in HS, reportedly recruited to play center first, Gibson combines all the traits that the TFS wants: great feet, mobility, drive, viciousness, motor. (That's not me talking, that's quoted from a cryptic, referential tweet of Coach Yenser's, back from when Gibson committed.) Like with all linemen, needs weight/strength, but projects as the center of the future.

Jaylinn Hawkins - WR/ATH - Buena Park (Buena Park, CA)

#ShortTake - With all the wide receivers already signed on and Keith Washington's last minute decommitment, I'd guess for Hawkins -- who is listed as anywhere between 5'10 and 6'1 by recruiting services -- to get his first look at defense. There's no senior tape listed on his HUDL page so I can't get a good read on him, but from the limited Youtube clips, I'm seeing a guy who can do very similar things to Washington -- good mover in space, good footwork with deep downfield speed. The only thing is that we already have two wide receivers with those exact skills in this class (Singleton, Strickland), which is why I'm figuring he's slated for defense first...but let's see once he gets to campus.

It should be noted that Hawkins' commitment interview indicated he'd be playing WR, and Ingram seems awfully excited to coach him up. I could be way off here.

Trevor Howard - DL - Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, CA) | @t_howard96

#ShortTake - Has the speed/athleticism to play tight end, projected at Cal to be a defensive end. May not have otherworldly top end speed, but has a good initial burst reminiscent of a healthy Todd Barr. At 6'3, 224 lbs, would benefit from getting Damon'ized for a year. However, might contribute early because of his ability to play both ways on special teams.

Zeandae Johnson - DE - Central East (Fresno, CA) | @zeandaej

#ShortTake - A WR/TE convert, still clearly learning the DE position but solid size/athleticism/strength combination that bodes promise. Probably a few years off from seeing the field due to conversion and continued development.

Dylan Klumph - K - Golden West Community College (Huntington Beach, CA) | @dylan_klumph

#ShortTake - He kicks the ball.

Okay, but seriously, here's Chris Sailer on the 6th ranked kicker in the 2015 class:

#HisTake - Dylan is an outstanding punter. He is big, tall, strong and athletic. One of the best junior college punting prospects in the nation. Punts for great distance and hang time. He has shown huge improvement over the years. Does very well under pressure. The sky is the limit for Dylan. Has a great attitude and work ethic. Dylan has a bright college future. Big time D1 prospect.

Patrick Mekari - OL/T - Westlake (Westlake Village, CA) | @pattm5997

#ShortTake - Limited looks at mobility prove promising, tenacious motor, solid size that will continue to be molded in S&C, but needs technical polish, from what I can tell. Further coaching and refinement needed, check back after redshirt and a few more seasons. Continues long tradition of having linemen brothers in Berkeley. Projects at tackle by some services, which is where I do think he'll be looked at first for Cal.

Billy McCrary III - ATH - Rouse (Leander, TX) | @billymccrary3

#ShortTake - A complete mystery as to where he fits right now, but I'm assuming he's likely arriving as a safety, since there are so many other receivers. Barring special teams duties, a position switch probably means it will be a bit before we hear from him significantly, as McCrary has never played defense. Blisteringly fast with a laser timed 4.3 40; intriguing potential as an FS for that reason - would provide a trait there we have not had. A few inches shorter than we would like, but very, very intriguing speed.

Kanawai Noa - WR - Punahou (Honolulu, HI)

#ShortTake - May have benefitted playing from a smaller pool of competition in Hawaii, but tape shows impressive combination of strength, shiftiness, and instinct in the open field. Not afraid to get physical at all. Reminds of Bryce Treggs.

Lonny Powell - RB - Sacramento High (Sacramento, CA)

#ShortTake - Already on campus, nearly everyone expects the Legged Steamroller, the Human Jaeger, Lonny Powell to factor in this season with some snaps on offense and at the minimum, special teams. Owns a destructive, violent quality to his game; leaves bodies in his wake, wherever he goes with a genuine Man Among Boys quality. General freak. Another under the radar guy who blew up after he committed to Cal -- relative unknown to consensus 4-star.

Malik Psalms - CB - Ayala (Chino Hills, CA) | @malikpsalms

#ShortTake - A multi-year starter potential with the ideal kind of length and height you want in a corner, Cal got on him early as a junior and kept him locked down even after he blew up on the camp circuit. Developed quite a bit, athletically as a senior; had not projected him having the foot speed to remain at CB long-term, now retract that opinion. Stud. While I feel very good about his chances in the long run, I'm not sure myself if he gets into the mix this year, but if none of the existing corners show drastic improvement...

Evan Rambo - S - La Salle (Pasadena, CA) | @boknows96

#ShortTake - Plays with great positioning and aggressiveness on the edge, stations himself with proper leverage to force cutbacks or prevent players from turning the corner. Displays some skills and awareness of himself playing defense and coverage in a team setting. Can't get a great sense of his athleticism on tape, though -- would want to see more of him in person to determine that.

Cameron Saffle - DE/LB - Skyline (Sammamish, WA) | @cameronsaffle

#ShortTake - Biggest plus on his tape is a very advanced ability to leverage and use his hands, especially in the pass rush, but slight frame and weight currently, by all indications. Not sure exactly where he fits yet on defense.

Brandon Singleton - WR - Hahnville (Boutte, LA) | @bsingleton19

#ShortTake - - The fastest receiver in this class to me, Singleton finds daylight and somehow weaves his way there with very little wasted motion. Spots gap, gets there quickly for more yards. Good leaper and very willing blocker from an option offense, but thin frame and must gain mass. My guess is a redshirt is due. Very high on him after that, although I don't yet know how I rank the guys as a whole.

Carlos Strickland - WR - Skyline (Dallas, TX)

#ShortTake - Polished, solid skillset: size, good but not transcendent speed, toughness, hands, smoothness in the open field, could slide in at the slot or outside; reminds me very much of Kenny Lawler but already bigger. Good chance of having an immediate impact and holding it down once the top tier graduates...and wants to play now, too. EDITOR'S NOTE: OH MY GOD HE'S LISTED AT 6'5, 200

DePriest Turner - ATH/S - Murphy (Mobile, AL) | @_murphyQB_5

#ShortTake - Turner is in the same predicament as Billy McCrary, except taller and lengthier. Personally can't get a great read on any of the three, but Turner does does show one play with directly applicable safety skills: after his team fumbles the ball, Turner chases the defender down the field at a great angle and knocks him out of bounds, which is very interesting. Still, likely to need some development. Fine, fluid athlete, though.

Russell Ude - DL - Westminster (Atlanta, GA) | @russude5

#ShortTake - The most highly sought after player in this class in terms of offer list, the 6'3, 251 pound Ude appears to have plenty of room to continue filling out his body, and should be a force to come over the next few years. Already ridiculously strong. Assumed to be playing strong side defensive end as a run stuffer at first, what impresses me is how he plays when lined up inside at DT, where his quickness and his hands -- very violent hands -- overwhelm opposing guards. Wondering if he can continue this at the next level, eventually moving inside to three tech..but that would be a few years and close to 40-45 pounds away. Looks a little stiff and awkward in space, in my opinion. Still has the most immediately ready to contribute body of any of the young DL.

Semisi Uluave - OL - Punahou (Honolulu, HI) | @suluave15

#ShortTake - Kanawai Noa's teammate, Uluave was a last minute snatch and grab, which makes the loss of Buchanan much easier to swallow. SPARQ verified at 6'5, 326, so he's probably a little big for our system currently. Monstrous power, pretty good mobility at that size. Played everywhere up front, but of note: Punahou also stationed him in the backfield ala Rigsbee/Borrayo at times last year, having him lead block. Guard is his projected position by most recruiting services. May take an LDS mission, though.

DeVante Wilson - DE - Riverside Community College (Riverside, CA) | @bigdwill_11

#ShortTake - Capable of three down versatility at DE and an upgrade over most of the guys already on the roster; not a solution to our pass rush woes but will help take some pressure off of Jonathan Johnson to produce alone. Athletic but not as explosive off the line as Johnson; already Brennan Scarlett sized. Wilson was reported at 260 by recruiting services, but the Cal roster announced him at 225, which is a huge, huge damper. I realize that the reports are rarely accurate, but by 35 pounds? Expect to You still will probably get to know this name in the fall, but there's a lot less excitement on my end now.