Our first guest is 3-star tackle out of Redwood High school Jake Curhan, who just signed a financial aid agreement (along with Max Gilliam and Jordan Duncan) with Cal to potentially enroll early next winter!
What do you want to accomplish as a senior in your last season before you head off to Cal?
The biggest thing is that I want to have a winning season. I have been playing football for four years, I started freshman year on the freshman team, and I went 6-4, but the next two years on varsity we went 4-6. Before I graduate high school I would like to have one winning season under my belt.
What areas are you looking to improve upon before you suit up in blue and gold? Is there anything in particular that you need to improve before you are ready to play in college?
The biggest thing I need to work on are lateral quickness and always making sure my feet are moving when I am in pass protection. I can pass protect against anyone in my league and it is not too difficult, but I know that at the next level the defensive ends are gonna be a lot more athletic, quicker, faster, stronger. Lateral quickness is the thing that I need to work on the most, and I get that from a lot of coaches as well. Every time I'm on the field it is something that I focus on.
Why do you love the game so much? What have you gotten out of it?
I kind of just started playing freshman year because I had always wanted to play, but I was too big for the pop warner leagues and what not. So, I started playing freshman year and was just awful, got moved up to varsity my sophomore year sheerly because of how large I was. Then, I learned how to play during sophomore year and still wasn't very good. Junior year, things started to click and it gets fun. People think that offensive line isn't very fun, but those plays where you completely dominate your opponent is an awesome feeling. There is nothing more manly than that. I enjoy playing football even though it's a super hard sport. When you do your job correctly it's rewarding. The aspect of being on a team is great, everybody on the team has to do their job correctly to get a touchdown on offense. There is not very much like that.
Brian Farley is graduating after this year but there are a lot of tackles on Cal's depth chart, including this year's starter Steven Moore, Aaron Cochran and Kamryn Bennett. In addition, three other tackles in the 2016 class (Juarez, WIlliams, Perez). Even though you are leaving high school to arrive at campus for spring ball, would you be opposed to redshirting your freshman year.
I don't necessarily have a preference of whether I play my freshman year or I redshirt. Whatever the coaches want for me, I'll stick to their plan because they know what's going on. The tackle depth is partially why I chose Cal, because I will have the opportunity to play quicker. After the next two years, there won' be many tackles, because right now, of the five linemen that are committed, me and Daniel (Juarez) are the only ones who they are planning on using as tackles. The tackle depth is going to be shallow so I will have opportunities to play quickly. However they end up seeing it for me is what I am going to do. I know going in early will definitely help.
How do you feel about having to leave high school a semester early? Do you think that will be a hard transition?
I think it is going to to be a hard transition no matter what going into college football. I don't think that going early is particularly challenging. When I was deciding, I made a pros and cons list, and the only real con was missing second semester of my senior year, where everyone is just trying to have fun. Which, for a lot of people is a really big thing, but it doesn't bother me that much, because it was the only real con to going early. I talked to Coach Dykes too, and he told me that it is easier to come in during spring because spring isn't as hard as summer practice. There are a lot of reasons why I decided to go early, but I don't think that there is much that I am missing on the other hand.
How do you see yourself contributing to Cal in the long run?
Whatever is going to get me on the field is what I want to do. I know initially Coach Jones asked me if I was more comfortable on the right side or the left side, and I am more comfortable on the right side. When I first come in, I will likely be on the right side, but at the same time I want to be versatile so I can get on the field in whatever way possible. I'll do whatever I need to do, I just want to be on the field.
What was the primary reason you chose Cal over a host of other schools? Why did Cal stand out to you?
There were a lot of reasons I chose Cal. There isn't a lot of depth on the depth chart, so I will have a chance to move up and make my mark quickly. A lot of the schools who were recruiting me had already taken five linemen last recruiting cycle, which meant that I would enter already behind a lot of guys. Mainly though, I chose Cal for the same reason almost anyone who chooses Cal does, being that it is the number one public university. Education is important to me and my family. Another thing that contributed was that it was close to home. I know some people don't want to go to college close to home, but as an athlete, you have so little time off that it is nice to be able to go home and chill for a day. Also, being able to have all the people who I grew up around come to games is something I look forward to.
Internally how do you feel about going to play College football? Any nerves? Explain what's going through your head right now? (Ease, excitement, fear)
It is a big mixture of nerves and excitement. I've been pretty anxious lately. I know it is going to be really hard, but at the same time I don't know what to expect. I will see what happens when I get out there.
What do you think of Cal's quarterback situation given that you will be tasked with blocking for them over your four years at Cal?
I think that it is going to be an interesting situation to watch. I know that right now Chase Forrest is second on the depth chart and has gotten some playing time, and Ross Bowers is third. But I think that Max (Gilliam) could come in early during spring camp and challenge some of those guys for playing time.
Why is it that you drive a Mini Cooper at your size?
Funny story, my car battery died in my nice Mercedes sedan, so it had to go into the shop because it is really old, and I just got it back after a week. I'm back to driving the Mercedes now but the only other car we had was a Mini Cooper.
Prediction for Saturday's game?
Cal is going to win no doubt. Texas hasn't looked very good on offense. The one huge advantage that they have is that the game is being played in Texas, but at Notre Dame they didn't look very good at all. I'm going to go with 42-28 Cal.