Cal has been looking to stockpile recruits on the defensive side of the ball after two years of struggles. We are going to take a look at others who might join the 2016 recruiting class (last week we looked at the offensive side).
DJ Morgan: S, St. John Bosco (Bellflower)
Overview: DJ Morgan is a 4-star safety (Rivals) out of St. John Bosco. Morgan has recently opened his recruitment by decommitting from ASU, and Cal is pushing hard to get Morgan to join their class which is depleted of safeties. Morgan is close friends with Traveon Beck, another Bosco product who is a current Cal commit, and even announced his initial commitment with him.
Significance: Getting Morgan on board would also be important for future recruiting classes, as Cal has been trying to create a pipeline to Bosco, which fosters some of the highest rated talent in California. The last time that Cal was able to get a recruit from Bosco was Bryce Treggs (He turned out pretty well). Chandler Leniu signed in 2014, but grades kept him from ever making it to campus. Getting Beck and Morgan could be a huge step towards keeping Bosco talent in California for future classes.
Fit: DJ Morgan would fill a huge void that has been left by the departure of Shurod Thompson and Marquel Dismuke. Morgan is almost as highly touted as the other two, as he has four stars from Rivals and is a high three-star prospect on the other sites. Morgan is 6' 3'' 200 lbs and runs a 4.8 40 yard dash, which brings good size to a Cal secondary that has been looking to emphasize length and physicality. Morgan is also a good run stopper, which is important if Cal wants to keep its success stopping the run. However, Morgan will have to step up in the passing game if he wants to be a factor in a conference that is heavily pass-dominated.
Lukas Mckenzie: S, Reno (Nv.)
Overview: Mckenzie is currently a Nevada commit, but he has recently picked up a Cal offer that he is fond of. Mckenzie's rankings may not turn heads, given that he is only given two stars by most recruiting websites. However, he does have similar measurables to DJ Morgan as well as a faster 40 time. Mckenzie is the type of "under the radar" talent that Cal looks at every year, as he is in the same category as Markus Wright and Chase Forrest. While two-star talents generally aren't as successful as four-star talents, there is no reason to think that we have not found a diamond in the rough.
Significance: Virtually every good recruiting news on this site has been followed by a, "Are the Safeties here yet," (I'm looking at you Auricursine). Anyways, scoring a safety commit would be extremely helpful to a defense who has had to start walk-ons because of horrible injury luck. The thing Cal has taught us most is that we can never have enough defensive backs. Getting Mckenzie to Cal would ensure that we have enough scholarship Safeties in case everything goes awry. (Even though the odds of it happening three years in a row are slim)
Fit: Similar to Morgan, Mckenzie is good at stopping the run from the safety position, but he can also contribute to the pass rush. As a two way player (He plays RB for his team) he has the speed and instincts to get into the backfield and disrupt plays. (Similar to Su'a Cravens' role in the USC defense) The only concern for Mckenzie is that he did not face tough competition in Nevada, and there aren't many clips of him defending the pass. However, with good size and speed (6'3" 200 lbs, 4.6 40) he could develop into a good cover safety with the right coaching.
Alec Simpson: ILB, Pacific Palisades (CA)
Overview: Alec Simpson is also a Nevada commit, and is a solid three-star prospect out of California. Simpson has yet to receive an offer from Cal, but there is apparently mutual interest between the two. If Simpson were to receive an offer, the odds Cal could land him are good, and it would give Cal another solid linebacker prospect. Simpson is a lanky (for a linebacker) at 6'3" 205 lbs and would need to put on some weight during the offseason, but that hasn't seemed to be a problem in years prior.
Significance: Considering the current linebacker depth we have brought in the last two years, Simpson likely wouldn't contribute his first couple of years. That said, he would be a welcome addition to this year's class, as he has good speed for a linebacker (4.7 40 time) and could potentially develop into a good coverage linebacker. Simpson also has the size and speed to play the safety position if worst comes to worst, however it could be a difficult adjustment from inside linebacker.
Fit: Anyone who could potentially help out on defense for Cal will be welcomed with open arms, and Simpson could do just that. Simpson is extremely versatile and can both drop back into coverage and defend against the run. Simpson could help continue Cal's success against the run in the future. Provided he gets an offer, Simpson could join Cal has an intriguing prospect who could help every facet of Cal's defense.