Wednesday’s national signing day for football is less than a week away, and Cal coach Sonny Dykes has received verbal commitments from 17 players since he was hired on Dec. 6, though none is what you would classify as a can’t-miss star.
In fact, the highest rated of the 27 players committed to Cal is still the first one to commit – quarterback Jared Goff, who made his decision last March, long before Jeff Tedford was fired.
Goff, a former Marin Catholic star, is not just a commitment anymore because he is already enrolled at Cal.
Ranked as the nation’s 140th prospect in the class of 2013 by Rivals.com and 234th by Scott.com, Goff is one of just two Cal commits ranked among Scout.com’s top 300 prospects, and the other – offensive guard Cameron Hunt – is considered a “soft” commit. He is still considering Oregon after committing to the Golden Bears in July.
Compare Cal’s haul to USC, which has only 14 commits, but nine of them are ranked among Scout.com’s top 100 prospects and 11 are among Rivals.com’s top 100 recruits, including four among top 12.
In fact, the Los Angeles schools seem to have the best recruiting classes in the Pac-12. The Bruins’ class is ranked ninth nationally by Rivals and sixth by Scout, while the Trojans are seventh according to Ricals and 10th according to Scout. USC would be considerably higher if it were able to recruit a full class. Six of its recruits are rated as five-star prospects by Rivals.com, and Notre Dame, with three, is the only other school in the country with more than two five-star recruits.
The Golden Bears’ class is ranked 23rd in the country by Rivals.com and 22nd by Scout.com, and the quantity of their recruits probably has more to do with their ranking than the quality. Stanford’s class, by the way, is ranked 58th in the country by Rivals.com and 53rd by Scout.com, although that may be due to the fact that the Cardinal has only 12 verbal commitments.
Utah, with 29 commitments, is the only Pac-12 school with more verbal commitments than the Bears.
Three junior college players – defensive ends Kyle Kragen (Diablo Valley Community College) and Sione Sina (College of San Mateo) and wide receiver Drake Whitehurst (City College of San Francisco) – have already enrolled at Cal for the spring term, as have Goff and place-kicker Matt Anderson.
Interestingly Whitehurst is one of just two wide receivers who have committed to Cal since the hiring of Dykes, who made his reputation with a wide-open passing game based on having four and five wide receivers on the field.
Only three wide receivers and one quarterback are among the Bears’ 27 commits.
Ten of the 17 players who committed to Cal since Dykes was hired are defensive players, which is interesting because Louisiana Tech led the nation in total offense last season under Dykes but were last among the 120 Division I colleges in total defense.
None of the 14 high school players who committed to Cal since Dykes’ arrival is from the Bay Area, although 11 are from California. None of the 14 is ranked among Scout.com’s top 300 prospects in the country.
Of course, recruiting rankings are often not reflective of the team’s success in the ensuing seasons. Oregon State, for example, has not had a recruiting class ranked higher than 40th in the country in any of the past eight years, but the Beavers have finished with a worse conference record than UCLA only once in the past seven years and has finished ahead of Cal in five of those seven seasons.