Cal head coach Sonny Dykes did his yearly state of the Bears on National Signing Day! Dykes recapped the recruits and talked about numerous other topics involving the team. Today, we take a look at the recruiting side of National Signing Day and what these new freshmen are all about!
If you want to watch the whole Sonny Dykes press conference, the video is above. Here are the bullet points of where to go next.
On Getting Early Commits:
- Better idea of the type of recruits that he wants to sign.
- Coaching staff did a good job of getting on recruits early.
- Signed everyone that they expected to, no surprises.
- Class is once again an improvement, which has been the case each year.
- Nine early entries, a significant number, can participate in Spring ball.
On Filling Needs:
- Improved length of offensive line and defensive line.
- Getting bigger recruits, the kind of guys that they must recruit for the program.
- Must win in the trenches to compete in the Pac-12,
- Come along way in the type of players they can recruit.
On Replacing the Wide Receiver Corps:
- Grayson Bankhead is a quick, talented receiver who delayed his enrollment until this year.
- Jordan Veasy is a big and physical player that they are excited about. One of those guys that blossomed late, grew five or six inches before senior year of high school, tape jumped out to him. Stephen Anderson type of kid.
- Jordan Duncan, very heavily recruited, physically mature and will have the opportunity to play early.
- Group will be much better than people think, a lot of steady backups will see increased roles this year, in addition to the added depth of this year's class.
- Melquise Stovall is what they needed, a home-run hitter. Zion Echols can also be that guy. Needed breakaway type athletes, something they haven't had in the past.
On Victor Viramontes:
- Victor will be a quarterback.
- Tape jumped out to him, a great leader with a big arm at 240 pounds. Has a lot of upside and is an interesting prospect.
- Will be able to get three yards when they need three yards, needed among championship-caliber teams. Quarterback run game to equalize the number of guys in the box in a similar mold to Cam Newton and Cardale Jones. Adds a new dimension to the offense.
- Can develop passing game, likes both of their quarterbacks.
On Max Gilliam:
- He is a winner. Most of their recruits have come from teams that have had winning seasons. Very tough and athletic but can throw the ball very well.
- Will be in Berkeley for Spring ball.
- Can find ways to help win the football game.
On Potential Quarterback Competition:
- Gilliam will have a head-start because of the opportunity to compete in Spring ball.
- A robust competition, looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
- Hopefully will come out of Spring with a starter, or two or three guys that stand out.
- Sooner they can find a quarterback, the sooner they can develop him.
- Want it to happen naturally, not to force a QB decision.
On Marloshawn Franklin:
- Finishing up a class, but won't be able to participate in Spring ball.
On Only Having Cornerbacks Signed:
- Signed a bunch of safeties last year, more safety-type bodies available.
- Some guys have the body to transition to safety (Marloshawn Franklin, Camryn Bynum, and Nygel Edmonds)
- More corners means a higher level of athleticism.
- Wanted to improve athleticism.
On Rusty Becker:
- A little bit of a project, but his best football is in front of him.
- Hopefully can develop into an athletic defensive tackle.
On Offensive Coordinator:
- Getting relatively close to naming an offensive coordinator, hopefully within the next week.
- Talked to a lot of people with different experiences, all have been successful.
- Fit is the most important, don't want to start over from square one.
- Excited about returning players, feel like they have a good base on offense.
- Whoever they hire will bring new ideas, but the offensive philosophy will remain intact. Opportunity to get better.
- Some assistants may be reshuffled. A lot of good and young football coaches.
On Only Signing One Linebacker:
- On paper they haven't signed many linebackers, but they need guys who can fit into Nickel and Dime packages, not a huge need to sign so many linebackers. They have a lot of kids who can be linebackers, they just needed to improve the athleticism.
- Next year, linebacker will be a huge need for them, will have to sign at least three to four next year.
On Recruiting Locally:
- Always start locally, then branch out to California, then branch out nationally.
- Want to get as many local kids as they can.
- Must fit an academic profile, some highly recruited kids were taken off the list because they didn't fit the academic profile that was needed.
- Program won't get to the place that they want it to be unless they start getting the local kids that they need.
- You arrive as a program when you can recruit in your own backyard, and they haven't arrived there yet, but confident that they will.
On Derrick Clark and Running Backs:
- Try to recruit guys who are different. Big back with Vic, speed back in Khalfani, a bit of a mix in Tre Watson, a versatile home-run hitter in Zion Echols. Derrick is a complete back in the Tre Watson mold, can make people miss and is very productive. Running back position is all about productivity.
- Anticipate Derrick will be a "four-tool" back who can do a bit of everything.
On Melquise Stovall's Size:
- Shorter guys have to be really good at what they do. People are often versatile because of their size, but shorter guys have to be very special because there are not a lot of places they can play. Stovall is fast and explosive, can play multiple positions and catch the ball.
- Need smaller faster guys to make people miss.
On Evan Weaver:
- Interesting prospect who is incredibly competitive. Played running back and defensive line, one of the best high-school football players he saw this year.
- Very versatile in his skill set, will bring his all every day, will have a chance to play early.
On Dwayne Wallace:
- Will be competing with a bunch of other guys.
On Big Receivers:
- A bunch of long guys who are also bigger and stronger.
- Have had really good receivers, but the receivers were on the smaller side (165-185 range). A lot of the guys they have are 200+ pounds. Wanted to be more physical on the outside. General trend of NCAAF and NFL is having bigger and stronger guys on the outside who can stay healthy.
- Brandon Singleton and Carlos Strickland developing well.
- Athleticism and big-play capabilities are there, but the group as a whole will be raw.
- Vic Wharton will play Spring ball after finally getting past injury problems. Played a lot as a freshman at Tennessee.
- Kanawai Noa was very valuable last year, and will continue to grown into a bigger role, has a bright future.
- Chad Hansen had a great year as well, caps off an interesting and exciting group of receivers.
On Chris Yaghi:
- A big guy who is a good athlete, reminds him of Rusty Becker, can develop into an athletic tackle. Want some longer guys who can put on weight in college to get stronger up front. Have been disadvantaged up front for the last few years, making it hard to have an efficient pass rush.