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Cal football recruiting National Signing Day preview! A.J. Brown, Paco Perez, Zion Echols decide

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Which recruits are making a decision today? Where are they going to end up?

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Brown:

One of the crown jewels of a deep wide receiver class, A.J. Brown would deeply elevate the level of Cal's recruiting class. A superb athlete who has garnered a Julio Jones comparison from Nick Saban, Brown would help to instantly fill a void left behind by the departures of Cal's revered senior receiving core. It looks as if Alabama will add another receiver to put along Calvin Ridley, but Brown could surprise the world and choose the dark horse candidate in Cal.

Dykes would surely benefit from this recruiting coup, as it would prove his ability to recruit at a high enough level to compete with the other California schools. Additionally, it would prove that Cal has almost cleared the hurdle of the academic dumpster fire left behind by Tedford. The other Mississippi schools are also firmly in the mix, but all signs point to Brown picking one of Alabama, Cal or Ole Miss.

It appears as if Brown enjoys the idea of playing in a spread offense like the Bear Raid, and he must also like the prospect of being the top option in an offense that heavily relies on the passing game in the redzone. If Brown paired with Duncan, the Mississippi duo would quickly dissolve the fears of Cal fans about the inexperience in the receiving core.

Paco Perez:

Once a verbal commit to Cal, Perez opened his recruitment and has grown extremely fond of UCLA. His decision will be between the two UCs, and it would look good if Cal can hold onto one of its own, as they have struggled to recruit against Jim Mora and the baby bears (Jaleel Wadood comes to mind). Perez is a physical lineman who would fill a need by providing guard depth.

Dykes and Coach Jones could benefit from Perez's style of play. Cal has a lot of upperclassmen on its offensive line, and they would surely stand to benefit from more competition when players leave for graduation. Granted, Cal is pretty set at the lineman position with commits such as Jake Curhan, Daniel Juarez, Dwayne Wallace, and Gentle Williams, so they are well-equipped even if Perez spurns Cal for UCLA.

Perez enjoyed his UCLA visit, and it wouldn't be shocking if he went that route, however, there is obvious reason for optimism, as Perez has kept Cal at the top of his list for months, and it is clear that he is fond of the school.

Zion Echols:

Also a past verbal to Cal, Echols decommitted among speculation that Dykes was going to leave Cal and had a turbulent relationship with the AD. However, now that Dykes is locked in with an extension, there is a very good chance that Echols sticks with Cal. Washington State and Mike Leach are also in the mix to land Echols, but all indications are that WSU is on the outside looking in.

A jack of all trades, Echols will probably take a ton of reps out of the backfield, and would likely benefit from Dykes' iteration of the Air Raid (the Bear Raid), which uses the tailback much more than Leach's. Nonetheless, Luke Falk is a good sell to recruits. Echols would be a monster in any position he played, and would revitalize the return game along with Melquise Stovall.

While he was committed, Echols quickly became a fan favorite because of his quickness and ability in open space. With the Goff-era officially behind us, having weapons in open space is going to be key to offensive success moving forward. A combo of Echols and Stovall would surely provide that.

Nate Herbig:

Herbig has had an interesting decision process to say the least. He originally committed from Stanford back in June, only to decommit in early January after he thought he would not be cleared to go to Stanford. It was just 20 days later that he recommitted to Stanford. Just four days ago, he visited Washington, and it seems as if a final decision is looming.

Pretty much a given he sticks with Stanford at this point, and the odds of Herbig ending up in a Cal uniform are pretty slim. Nonetheless, if Cal can pick up one more offensive lineman between Herbig and Perez they should be just fine.

Demetris Robertson:

Clearly the most exciting prospect seriously considering Cal, Robertson could probably start at any position for Cal next year (OK maybe not ANY position, but seriously this kid can ball). Another situation where the term "Dark Horse" can be applied to Cal. Coach Peeler recently had a visit with Robertson, and Cal is somewhere in the mix.

It isn't much of a secret that Robertson is a huge Stanford lean, but whether or not he will be cleared academically is the big question. Regardless, it is clear that academics is a huge preference for Robertson, which means that Cal could definitely be a player assuming he does not get cleared for Stanford. Robertson is an extremely talented two-way player who could contribute as either a wide receiver or a defensive back (or both a la Myles Jack as a linebacker and a running back).

No matter where he plays, Robertson would be a difference maker and one of the best players on campus. Robertson might not even make a decision tomorrow (a luxury available to blue-chip recruits), but it is definitely worth it to keep an eye out for him.

Victor Viramontes

Viramontes visited this last weekend, and the Norco athlete could be the second quarterback Sonny Dykes recruits for this season. Pairing up with the traditional pocket passer Max Gilliam, Viramontes could provide an athletic option that can both run and pass and be an intriguing option at quarterback down the line.

Greg Biggins from Scout has more.

"Cal was great, I loved it there," Viramontes said. "They have a great combination of athletics and academics and a degree is a big deal there. I want to play football for as long as I can but if something happens and you get hurt, having that Cal degree to fall back on is pretty big.

Viramontes decommitted from Michigan, and it's unclear if the Wolverines have been totally put out of the picture. So Michigan is a school to watch, as are the Arizona Wildcats, who he visited the week before he came to Cal. Utah also is somewhere in there.