We've been graced with quite a few recruits in the early going of the 2016 cycle. So far we have six commits, with four on the offensive side. More recruits are being drawn to Cal in the early going, which is a good sign for the future of the program. Daniel Juarez, a guard from Centennial High School in Corona, adds to the offensive line, a unit that has made some big leaps this spring under Coach Brandon Jones. Juarez joins fellow Bears Tre Watson and Greyson Bankshead in coming to Cal from Centennial.
Juarez is listed at 6'5" and 285 on his Hudl page, and plays in an offense that runs similar concepts to the Tony Franklin System. The splits that Centennial uses are similar to Mike Leach's Air Raid, and they use a bit of vertical pass blocking akin to the TFS when they don't utilize play action. The difference between vertical pass blocking and traditional slide blocking is all within the first second and a half. With both techniques, you are responsible for an area, but as a lineman in the vertical system, there is an initial dropback of three yards, to make it a longer path to the quarterback in the shotgun set. It doesn't look like much, but having the extra experience with a specific technique on the line can help with development of a player to greater heights at the next level.
Some notes on his tape:
- In this tape, Juarez plays at both tackle spots with a little guard mixed in, but he definitely has the build of a guard, and has the potential to add another 30 pounds in the weight room within a year or two. He's about to be a senior in high school, so we still haven't seen him reach his full high school potential.
- One thing that may not be as much of an issue when he comes to Cal is his tipping in his stance. Juarez hasn't quite figured out how to completely balance his weight in his stance so he doesn't give away the run or pass. That comes from having more flexibility in the hips, but it won't be as much of an issue here, where the offensive line uses more two point stances than three point stances. Plus, flexibility is a big part of weight training, and will be stressed when he arrives in Berkeley.
- Juarez looks to be a solid run blocker at certain points during his tape when he uses good technique.1:49 in is a good example of this. He gets off the line low, and with leverage so can make a great kick out block on the defensive end. When Juarez gets to the point where he has leverage with his hips, he can push a guy downfield pretty well, getting locked in to the defender's shoulder pads. When he gets that leverage, as seen at 3:52, he can get some pancakes pretty easily.
- Juarez is part of an offense that used a lot of play action looks. He helped sell those very well along with the rest of the line before sliding and not getting called for an illegal man downfield penalty. In his school's offense, he doesn't have to worry about picking up the outermost rusher due to the quick throws that his quarterback makes. That will carry over to the TFS at Cal, when we throw a number of slip screens after faking the zone read.
- Speaking of screens, Centennial runs a lot of them, and Juarez is usually the lineman to get downfield and block. At 2:00 and 2:22 especially, Juarez gets out to the corner and demolishes them like that scene in Varsity Blues with Billy-Bob. That bodes well for the future tunnel screens Juarez will be a part of. This skill also will transfer when he moves to guard, as pulling is similar technique-wise.
- Juarez's pass blocking is more aggressive than most, mainly due to the use of play action. A few times in the tape, at 4:00 being an example, Juarez gets a pancake on the defensive lineman, which is pretty sweet. He will have to adjust to having the vertical drop a lot more often.
- One issue that I saw most notably in Aaron Cochran's tape a couple years ago is when Juarez's technique is off. When he doesn't get low, he's still bigger than 95% of the opponents at the high school level and can push them around. That doesn't fly at the college level with everyone being his size, and Coach Jones will fix that fast.
- Juarez does have some excellent feet in the protection game. A clip at 4:34 shows this against a player closer to his size. The end is Juarez's responsibility and he washes him out and mirrors the end to give the quarterback the needed time to throw. Quick, choppy steps are the key to this, and Juarez shows that he's pretty nimble.
Juarez could definitely start at the guard position for the Bears. I could see him red-shirting and coming in to possibly take the spot vacated by Chris Borrayo in 2017. This is a long way away, but Juarez is definitely a good add for an area where more depth has been needed.