On this edition of "Too Many 'Cruits," Matthew Laris becomes the latest receiver to commit to Cal, and he continues the trend of bigger wide receivers committing for the class of 2016. Laris stands at 6'4" and 210 lbs, and if Hudl is to be trusted, runs a 4.47 40. He had a monster Junior season at Eastside Catholic in Washington, totaling 77 receptions for 1492 yards and 16 TDs. For a comparison, Geoff McArthur holds the Cal record for receiving yards in a season with 1504. While it's a little easier to put up monstrous numbers playing in high school, this is still an impressive feat, considering McArthur accomplished that feat with Aaron Rodgers throwing him passes. Laris will probably play at the Z, considering his Kenny Lawler-like size. He'll be another tall target for the next Bear Raid commander to throw to in 2016 and beyond
- Right off the bat, Laris shows that he can take advantage of the cushion he's being given on the outside (at :04), running a quick slant, staying separated from the corner and making the easy catch. He's too big for the corner tackle, making it an easy TD. The cut needs to be a little sharper, but it's a good route.
- For the route at :14, which appears to be some sort of skinny post-corner, Laris gets open in the midst of two defenders, making a catch with arms outstretched with the two defenders behind him. He takes it to the house from there, showing where his 19.6 yards per reception come from.
- At :30, Laris catches a quick screen and is off and running. He takes the step back behind the line, and follows his blocks to take it the 35 yards to the end zone. His acceleration on this screen is excellent, and I like the idea of having someone who's already that accomplished in running screens. Our best screen guy last year, Chris Harper, has gone to the NFL, and our next two, Bryce Treggs and Trevor Davis, will be gone after this year. Laris will be able to fill that gap, which is an important piece of the Bear Raid.
- Around :58 in, the outside release that Laris gets is picture perfect, getting around the corner quickly. The corner's attempt at press coverage looks silly compared to Laris's speed on the outside. Laris makes a lot of catches with outstretched arms, which means he's catching his passes in stride. Hopefully he can carry this on to Cal, since for the first time in a number of years, we have a stable of solid backup QBs who can lead us into the future.
- A lot of this highlight tape is Laris running by the corner assigned to guard him. Putting him in a one on one situation seems to guarantee an open receiver deep. I could see him and Austin Aaron playing similar roles, along with Carlos Strickland. All of those guys can be big deep threats. Laris is especially intriguing in this respect. He's got the same smoothness in his acceleration that Kanawai Noa has, along with the size of Strickland and Aaron.
- At 2:33, you can see Laris run something other than a deep route, running a comeback instead. This is a timing route, which occasionally is seen in the TFS. I think that Laris is going to need a bit of work on his intermediate routes when he gets to Berkeley. His cuts aren't quite as sharp as they could be. Considering his acceleration, I think he'll be able to accomplish this. He will get a lot of run due to his speed, but his route tree will need to diversify for sustained success at the college level.
- At 2:46, there's a stop and go. My favorite route. Laris runs it beautifully and gets more open than a 24-hour diner. Though the man coverage that this route exploits is getting a little less common, this is a route that every receiver should be able to run well. It works perfectly at least once a game.
- My final assessment is that this guy is an excellent deep threat. He can catch the back shoulder fade, as well as catching the quick slant route. He will excel if he develops his intermediate route running. Otherwise, this guy has the speed to be something special. I'd be excited.