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Cal football recruiting commits, Friday night lights: Max Gilliam to enroll early in 2016

How did the Cal prospects perform to start their high school football campaigns? The future looks bright for the Bears as there were some great numbers put up by our current crop of commits.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jared Goff and Kenny Lawler ensured the Bears got off to a flying start this season against Grambling, but how have the future Golden Bears fared thus far during their high school football campaigns? Anywhere from one to three weeks of football are in the books, depending on where you play, and there have been some very impressive performances from the future Bears.

Let's start with our offensive prospects:

Zion Echols (RB)

The Covina (Ca.) Charter Oak athlete scored four touchdowns to lead his team to a 42-21 road victory over Henderson (Nv.) Green Valley. Echols rushed 12 times for 145 yards and three touchdowns to go along with a 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to begin the game.

What makes Echols' performance all the more impressive is the crazy heat experienced during the game in Nevada.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the temperature hit triple digits. Here's an excerpt from the piece:

While it might not have looked like it on the field, Echols had a hard time adjusting to the searing heat that did not drop into the high 90’s until the fourth quarter. He had a simple goal in the game, get off the field as quickly as possible.

"My mindset was the more I could score, the faster I could sit down and rest. I was trying not to pass out," Echols said.

You can check out highlights of Echols' performance against Green Valley here.

Echols failed to score a touchdown as his team slumped to a 35-14 defeat versus La Mirada (Ca.) during week two of the season.

Jordan Duncan (WR)

The four star wide receiver from Hattiesburg (Ms.) Oak Grove hauled in eight passes for 82 yards and a touchdown as his team grabbed a 34-33 win against Wayne County.

WJTV12 put up a short video with a soundbite from Duncan on why he committed to the Bears. Aside from the obvious reasons why someone would commit to Cal (we're not Stanford, awesome offense, great location, pro factory, etc.). I could go on for days.

"I feel like it was the place for me," Duncan said. "I went up there and it was everything I expected and more."

Duncan's head coach added that early in the process he had a feeling Duncan would commit to the Bears due to his relationship with the coaching staff and our suddenly abundant ties to Mississippi.

Duncan added his second touchdown in as many games during Oak Grove's 41-21 demolition of Laurel (Ms.) to bring their record to 2-0. Here's the video of his touchdown grab against Laurel.

Derrick Clark (RB)

The San Diego (Ca.) Mission Bay running back led his team to two victories to start the season. They beat Santee (Ca.) West Hills 36-13 and San Diego (Ca.) University City 43-13.

You'll have to settle for highlights, since scouring San Diego area newspapers for Mission Bay statistics produced nothing. Moving pictures are worth (more than?) a thousand words, right? has highlights of Clark's performance in both games and you can check those out here and here.

Max Gilliam (QB)

Gilliam is coming to Cal! More from

Cal head coach Sonny Dykes announced Thursday that current high school senior quarterback Max Gilliam (Thousand Oaks, CA/Thousand Oaks HS) has signed a financial aid agreement to join the Cal football program in January of 2016. Gilliam becomes the first member of the team's 2016 recruiting class.

"Max will be joining our football program in January and we're excited to have him be able to come here and start competing," Dykes said. "Max is exactly what we are looking for at the quarterback position. He has everything you want from a quarterback - size and strength, a big arm that allows him to make all the throws, and the ability to run, plus he's also a great student of the game. I am really impressed with everything about him as a student-athlete, football player and leader."

Gilliam combined for 3,545 yards of total offense and was responsible for 41 touchdowns in his first year as his team's starting quarterback as a 2014 junior when he led Thousand Oaks to a 7-4 overall record and a spot in the Northern Division Southern Section playoffs. Gilliam completed 211-of-305 passes (69.2%) for 2,920 yards with 29 touchdown and eight interceptions for a 120.4 quarterback rating, while adding 625 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on the ground on 158 carries. He also ran in one two-point conversion to finish with 74 points scored and 248 points responsible for. He threw for a career-high 437 yards and three touchdowns on 29-of-42 passing in a 45-44 win over Simi Valley. Gilliam twice tossed a season-high tying four touchdown passes in the team's 48-41 playoff loss to Atascadero when he also had career highs of 127 yards rushing and 30 carries and in a 48-0 regular-season win over Highland. He also had at least one scoring pass in each of his 11 games and two or more nine ti

The Thousand Oaks quarterback overcame two interceptions to carry his team to a 41-13 victory over Ventura. Gilliam completed 22 of 31 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns (two rushing).

The official website of Thousand Oaks football had some quotes from head coach Mike Leibin on what he told Gilliam at halftime. Here's an excerpt:

"I talked to him going into half about, ‘Hey, you don’t have to make a play with your arm every single time,’ " Leibin said. "Sometimes, let’s live to see another down. The spotlight is pretty bright, maybe a little unsettling. But he settled in and played great in the second half."

While it's always preferable that the quarterback avoids turnovers, it is good to see that Gilliam was able to overcome the interceptions and play a great game the rest of the way.

Click here for highlights of Gilliam leading Thousand Oaks to victory.

Gilliam put in a better performance from start to finish against Canyon Country (Ca.) Canyon as he completed 21 of 27 passes for 361 yards with 7 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. You can catch the highlights of Gilliam's performance during Thousand Oaks' 53-26 victory here.

Canyon head coach Rich Gutierrez had this to say about the Berkeley bound quarterback, courtesy of

"He moves really well," Gutierrez said of Gilliam. "He evades the pocket well, and he completes passes man. He’s a good quarterback."

Armani Rogers (QB)

Rogers and his Los Angeles (Ca.) Hamilton squad jumped out to a 14-0 lead versus Los Angeles (Ca.) Dorsey, but surrendered 33 unanswered points the rest of the game.

Hamilton defeated Los Angeles (Ca.) Marshall 34-7 during their second game of the season.

Gentle Williams (OL)

After a season opening 40-21 loss to Mendenhall (Ms.), Williams' Florence (Ms.) squad defeated Crystal Springs (Ms.) 41-13 and here are the highlights.

Florence picked up its second win of the season by putting 73 points on the board against Florence (Ms.) McLaurin during their third game of the season.

Drew Kobayashi (WR)

Kobayashi was coming off an injury and didn't feature much during Honolulu (Hi.) St. Louis' 55-6 season opening victory over Fagaitua, a powerhouse high school football program from American Samoa. He did throw a downfield block which helped spring a teammate for a long touchdown, though, and you can see it here.

The Hawaiian wide receiver hauled in five catches for 56 yards in a more expanded role as St. Louis defeated Henderson (Nv.) Liberty 43-16 to improve to 2-0 on the season. Highlights can be found here.

Jake Currhan (OL)

Here's what the offensive lineman had to say, courtesy of, after Larkspur (Ca.) Redwood's 17-7 loss to Santa Rosa (Ca.) Maria Carrillo.

"We started off on offense moving the ball real well," two-way senior lineman Jacob Curhan said. "We just made too many mistakes at crucial times. I think we just need to sort a few things out at practice the next two weeks and we’re going to be pretty good."

Logan Gamble (WR)

The Long Beach (Ca.) St. Anthony pass catcher hauled in seven receptions for 160 yards and two touchdowns during St. Anthony's 32-7 victory over Acton (Ca.) Vasquez. Check out the highlights of his game here. Gamble frequently high-points the football and he also shows off some downfield blocking. Good stuff!

Matt Laris (WR)

Laris contributed five catches for 76 yards to Sammamish (Wa.) Eastside Catholic's 49-13 victory over Oceanside (Ca.).

We'll move on to the future Bears playing on the defensive side of the ball:

Rusty Becker (DE)

The defensive end from Fergus Falls (Mn.) Community College tallied nine tackles and 2.5 sacks in a 28-0 loss to Minnesota State Community College.

Camryn Bynum (CB)

Bynum is a starting cornerback for one of the highest ranked high school football teams in the nation. Over the last few seasons the offense has been getting the pub at Corona (Ca.) Centennial, but the defense is looking to change that this season.

Here's a blurb on the Centennial defense, courtesy of The Press Enterprise:

Centennial has one of top secondaries in the area and one of the best in the state. Senior cornerbacks Camryn Bynum and Kentrell Love are Pac-12 bound, having committed to Cal and Washington, respectively, and senior safety Chacho Ulloa has more than a dozen college offers.

"They could be the best secondary we've ever had," Centennial coach Matt Logan said. "The important thing is getting them all play together. Their individual talent is great, but they need to be on the same page."

The defense started the season well as they defeated Salt Lake City (Ut.) East 49-13. Bynum made five tackles and picked off one pass. Bynum's interception came early during the third quarter and led to Centennial boosting its lead to 35-0. Highlights of the East game can be found here.

The Centennial defense put in another good performance during their second game of the season, a 52-13 blowout of Gardena (Ca.) Serra.

Josh Drayden (CB)

Drayden's Dallas (Tx.) Bishop Dunne football team defeated Dallas (Tx.) Christian 45-17. Here's a highlight of a nice tackle by Drayden on a short dump-off/screen pass.

Cameron Goode (LB)

Goode contributed at least one sack and another tackle for loss to Houston (Tx.) Klein Collins' 62-21 victory versus Cy-Woods.

Klein Collins defeated Kingwood (Tx.) 42-21 to open the season 2-0.

Tevin Paul (DE)

Paul tallied six tackles and one pass deflection during Austin (Tx.) Lake Travis' 48-24 victory against Waco (Tx.) Midway during the opening week of the season.

Paul added four tackles and 0.5 sacks during Lake Travis' 56-13 week two victory over Copperas Cove.

Here's a highlight of Paul's performance versus Midway.

Traveon Beck (CB)

Beck and his Bellflower (Ca.) St. John Bosco squad destroyed La Mirada 76-8 during week one of the football season and they followed it up with a 67-7 victory against Norwalk.

Beck had an interception against Norwalk and you can see it here.

Chris Yaghi (DT)

Yaghi's Santa Ana (Ca.) Foothill squad defeated Tustin (Ca.) 13-7 during their opening game of the season. Yaghi made a few good tackles and lost a fumble as a fullback. Call me crazy, but I don't think Yaghi will be carrying the ball for the Bears next season.

Here are the highlights.

Evan Weaver (DE)

Weaver was a disruptive force throughout Spokane (Wa.) Gonzaga Prep's matchup with Richland (Wa.). Gonzaga prep needed every bit of it as they narrowly defeated Richland 13-10. Here are the highlights of Weaver's game.

A lot of great performances from our future Golden Bears and there is a lot more to come from what looks set to be a very exciting high school football season.

Check back after this week's round of games to find out how the Cal commits followed up on their opening performances.