So with things slowing down in the football world, I guess we should turn our attention towards recruiting.
In case you didn’t know, this past weekend was Cal Football’s biggest recruiting weekend of the season. Cal brought in 12 recruits this past weekend. Everyone from the highly touted 5 star JUCO WR Carl Moore, to a few lesser known under-the-radar guys.
Of the 12 guys that came in this past weekend were a few recruits that had already committed to Cal such as: 3-star/4-star QB Beau Sweeney (Rivals profile, Scout profile), 4-star OT Tyler Rigsbee (Rivals profile, Scout profile), and 4-star WR Marvin Jones (Rivals profile, Scout profile). [Note: these profiles do require membership to see all the info and videos. I cannot copy/paste stuff from their articles either because that’d get us in trouble. Also, I’m not pumping up these websites in hopes you sign up for them or anything - I’m not working for them on commission or anything. I linked their profiles because I figure some of you guys probably just want to associate a face with a name.]
The measurables on these guys look pretty good. While Beau Sweeney might be slightly shorter than prototypical QB height - he’s listed as somewhere in the 6′1" range and in the 185-200 pound range, word is that he is pretty mobile. Now don’t get too hard. By mobile I mean like probably somewhere in the 4.6-4.7 range (40 yard dash time). Certainly he’s not Vick or Vince Young but I think he can move around pretty well.
Tyler Rigsbee is listed at around the 6′4-6′5" range and about 250 pounds or so. Obviously he’s going to need to bulk up for college ball, but being that weight for a high school kid isn’t underweight. I’m not sure what his 40 time is but that’s fairly irrelevant since OL never run 40 yards full speed.
Finally, Marvin Jones is listed at around 6′2" 175-185 pounds. Obviously he’s got the height going for him. He’s not as heavy as maybe Mike Williams but his lighter weight definitely helps him stay speedy. I think his 40 time is somewhere in the 4.5 range which is decent and will undoubtedly get better as he strengthens up with a college workout regimen and diet.
I mentioned Carl Moore earlier. He’s a 5-star WR from Roseville Sierra CC. He’s around 6′4" and 225 pounds or so and everyone and their mom wants him on their football team. Cal supposedly offered Mr. Moore but he’s going to Florida to play for Urban Meyer. This guy has definite NFL potential. Like 1st day NFL pick potential. He’s fast for his size and possesses great hands and route running ability. Enough compliments about him though since he’s not coming to Cal.
While Cal wasn’t able to sway Carl Moore to play WR for us next year - Cal was able to sway a few others.
Before I get to that though, let’s go over Cal’s WR situation next year. First, the obvious ones. Robert Jordan lost to graduation. Lavelle "The Hawk" or "Hawk" Hawkins, lost to graduation. Desean Jackson? Well, I already covered that in a previous post. Quite frankly, besides Jonathon Okanes hinting on his blog that what he’s seen and heard suggests that Desean Jackson is going pro early, what I’ve said in the previous post is the most concrete thing out there that suggests THA1 is leaving us. I mean, it all depends on whether you believe me. Whether I truly did have a class with THA1 (true), whether THA1 truly said what he said (true), and I heard what I heard (true). If you believe me, then heck, you know what I know: as of 1.75 years ago THA1 was wanted to go pro early. That was *1.75 years* ago though. It’s *possible* that THA1 has had a change in heart. It’s *possible* that THA1 might return to Cal next year. It’s also possible that THA1 hasn’t had a change in heart and carries with him today the very same thoughts on going pro early as he did 1.75 years ago. With that last statement, I’m going to assume THA1 is NFL bound.
[UPDATE: As of very recently and after I began writing this post, Carl Moore reported to the newspapers that he was told on his recruiting visit that THA1 was going pro early. Mr. Moore did not cite his source - whether it was THA1 himself or just 2nd/3rd/4th hand info, or mere assertion of speculation as fact. Without knowing who Mr. Moore’s source is, I don’t know how credible this information may be. I mean, did the guy behind the counter at Boston Market tell Mr. Moore this information or what? (BearInsider joke) Anyways, this situation is very similar to last year when James Montgomery told the media that Marshawn Lynch divulged to him his intentions on going pro early.]
Okay, so THA1 - gone. RJ - gone. Hawk - gone. Cal’s 4th WR? Desa - gone. 5th WR? Sean Young - gone.
Cal loses its top 5 WRs next year. HOLY HELL. Why this concerns me? Well, unless you’re named Michael Crabtree or Desean Jackson, WRs in college football really don’t have a substantial impact their freshman year.
Anyways. Cal has 5 WRs spots to fill. Needless to say, if you’re a highschool WR recruit looking for a chance to compete for playing time and a chance to see the field as a freshman, then Cal’s the place to be. With so many WR spots opening up on the roster, Tedford & Co., hasn’t had much trouble getting kids to commit.
As I said earlier before this (much longer than anticipated interlude), Cal was able to snag a few commits this past weekend.
The first is WR Jarrett Sparks from Merced (Rivals profile, Scout profile). He’s about 6′2" and 215 pounds or so. Obviously a taller WR with a very thick/muscular body. He apparently is fairly fast too despite his heavier weight and runs a very acceptable 4.5. I watched his videos and here are my thoughts. First, he’s a WR that doesn’t seem to mind going over the middle. Tons of the plays on his film are of him going over the middle for passes. He doesn’t seem scared to do it either (although going over the middle in highschool is a tad different than in college). He has a good ability to go up for the ball (high bullet throws and lobs) and will move upfield quickly. Sparks does have decent vision and can find the cutback lanes after the catch, but his biggest asset is his ability to get YAC (yards after catch) with his big body. He doesn’t dance after the catch and just plows away at the defense with his big body. Sparks also played some RB in highschool so he does know how to utilize his blockers and wait patiently for a hole. Also he’s a hand-catcher (as opposed to a body catcher). Overall, I think Sparks provides an excellent total package of ball-catching prowness, size, and speed. It’s hard to see his route running ability on the videos (b/c they focus on the QB and don’t follow the WR down the field) so I can’t comment on that. I think what intrigues me the most about Sparks is that he can be one of those throw-it-up WRs. As in, if the QB is in trouble you can just put the ball up high and so either Sparks catches it or it goes out of bounds (think "The Catch"). Also with that tall thick frame he can easily out-muscle smaller DBs as well as provide a decent YAC threat too.
The other WR that committed this past weekend is L.J. Washington from Stockton’s Stagg Highschool (Rivals profile, Scout profile). Well, another recruit from Stockton, my home town. The other Cal players from Stockton being Lavelle Hawkins and Tad Smith. Anyways, L.J. Washington is listed at 6′0 and 180 pounds. He’s another decent sized WR but not on the heavier side like Jarrett Sparks. Nevertheless, he runs a great 40 time and can definitely fall under the "speedy WR" label. Unfortunately, neither recruiting service offers video on L.J. Washington just yet. Actually, he’s unrated by both services right now. What does this mean? He’s sort of under-the-radar. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean he’s not good. Some guys just get more exposure than others, thus get rated earlier/faster, and thus more offers. This might be the case of a guy not getting enough exposure. Obviously though, the Cal staff found him and were impressed enough by his tapes to offer him a scholarship. L.J. Washington does have a pair of offers from two other respectable west coast football programs neither of which are anything to snuff at. So it does appear as if a few other programs are onto L.J.
So between L.J. Washington, Marvin Jones, and Jarrett Sparks, there will be plenty of freshman competition for playing time. But not to get lost in the shuffle is also the already-committed WR Verran Tucker from El Camino Community College (Rivals profile, Scout profile). A 6-2 180 pound player, Tucker has exceptional size and speed. While watching his videos, what really shined out the most was his speed. Great speed on the routes and after the catch. He also appeared to be very athletic showing the ability to go up for balls while at top speed and stretch out for the deep ones. Overall, Tucker provides high-energy and a speedy threat within a tall frame.
Cal currently has 4 WR commits this year. It is uncertain as to how many Tedford will take total. I would assume Tedford would take 1 more to at least fill all the spots that will open. Taking 2 more would mean a total of 6 WRs this year which is a lot (although by taking a few JUCOs they won’t all leave by graduation at the same time). I doubt JT will take 6 WRs unless JT gets another WR commit AND Deion Walker commits to Cal (Rivals profile, Scout profile). Deion Walker is pretty much a consensus top-50 recruit and has offers from just about every major college football program including Cal.
Anyways, the offensive recruiting looks pretty good so far. Watching the WRs battle for those top 3 spots should be very interesting and make for a fun summer and fall camp.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention. All the WRs that Cal is recruiting this year are all 6′1"+ (with the exception of L.J. Washington but he’s only 18 or so and is still growing). I think it’s quite obvious that JT & Co. are moving in the big WR direction. Not like there is anything wrong with smaller WRs, but if you can recruit bigger guys that are just as fast and talented, then they’re even more of a threat due to their size and strength.