California Football Adds 26 Newcomers for 2007
Feb. 7, 2007
BEREKLEY - Eight high school All-Americans highlight a 26-player signing class for the University of California football program. The Golden Bears have added 21 high-school stars, three junior-college transfers, one prep school standout and one four-year transfer, head coach Jeff Tedford announced on Wednesday.
'I am very excited about this class,' Tedford said. 'It addresses a lot of our needs. Not only are they very good players, but they are great people and students. I feel like we have added great speed in this group. We feel like our offensive and defensive line classes are very strong as well.'
The 2007 class is ranked No. 12 in the nation by Scout.com (as of Monday morning), the fifth straight year that Cal has had a top 20 recruiting class. While the eight All-Americans lead the class, 12 other players were all-region selections. Thirteen of Cal's signees are rated in the top-100 in California by Rivals.com.
This year's class includes 14 offensive players, 11 defensive players and one specialist. Defensively, the Bears have added four linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs. On offense, the signees include one quarterback, three running backs, three wide receivers and five offensive linemen.
The All-American signees are led by local products Jahvid Best (Richmond, CA/Salesian HS), the top running back in the Bay Area, and Matt Summers-Gavin (San Francisco, CA/St. Ignatius HS), who is rated as the 11th-best offensive lineman in the country. Both were rated among the top 100 players in the nation. Southern California's Shane Vereen, (Valencia, CA/Valencia HS), joins Best as one of the fastest running backs in the nation, while wide receiver Michael Calvin (San Lorenzo, CA/San Lorenzo HS) was rated as the 25th best wide receiver in the nation by Scout.com. Sam DeMartinis (Sherman Oaks, CA/Notre Dame HS) is another powerful, highly-recruited offensive lineman while linebacker D.J. Holt (Encino, CA/Crespi Carmelite HS) was the L.A. Daily News Defensive Player of the Year. Strong-armed quarterback Brock Mansion (Dallas, TX/Episcopal School) is the lone out-of-state All-American in the class, as he hails from Texas, while Bryan Anger (Camarillo, CA/Camarillo HS) rounds out the All-Americans as a top-rated punter.
'All of these players have earned a lot of personal awards and recognition,' Tedford said. 'They have had great high school careers. We are looking forward to them bringing the same success that they have had on the field, as well as in the classroom, to our program.'
Cal's class includes a group of five players that have been touted by many as the top offensive line signees in the nation. Joining All-Americans DeMartinis and Summers-Gavin in the offensive line class are Justin Cheadle (Bakersfield, CA/Bakersfield HS), Todd Huber (Rolling Hills, CA/Palos Verdes Peninsula HS) and Mitchell Schwartz (Pacific Palisades, CA/Palisades Charter). All five players are ranked among the top 65 recruits in California by Rivals.com, which has nine offensive linemen ranked in its top 65 players in the state.
'We obviously went after offensive linemen, where we feel like we signed five quality student-athletes,' Tedford said. 'They all have a lot in common and should bring us continuity and should solidify our offensive line for a long time to come.'
The Bears again focused their efforts in California (16 in-state signees, including 14 high school players) while collecting much of the top talent in the Bay Area with players such as Best and Summers-Gavin, but this year's class also features 10 players from outside the state. In Tedford's previous five signing classes, he inked a total of 12 out-of-state players.
'Our success on the field over the last few years has built our reputation on the national level, which has helped us in recruiting and is a credit to our previous teams and players,' Tedford said. 'I want to give credit to my assistant coaches for their efforts in building this class nationally. At the same time, we are very proud of our continued success in California and the Bay Area.'
The Bears have added three more players from Hawaii: tight end Savai'i Eselu (Honolulu, HI/Moanalua HS) and defensive linemen Solomona Aigamaua and Scott Smith - both from St. Louis High School in Honolulu, the alma mater of current Bear defensive lineman Tyson Alualu. Cal had three Hawaiian products on the roster in 2006 with two returning for 2007. Mansion, from Texas, joins senior running back Justin Forsett as the only Texas high school products on the roster, though signee Alex Cook (Seminole, FL) from Florida was a junior-college All-American at Blinn Community College in Texas. Cornerback Sean Cattouse (Chicago, IL/Hubbard HS) and defensive end Ernest Owusu (Nashville, TN/The Hun School) are the first signees from Illinois and Tennessee, respectively, in the Tedford era at Cal. Nyan Boateng (Brooklyn, NY/Lincoln HS), a transfer from Florida, is a New York product who will be eligible for action in 2008. Rounding out the out-of-staters are safety D.J. Campbell (North Las Vegas, NV/Cheyenne HS) and defensive end Cameron Jordan (Chandler, AZ/Chandler HS), the son of former NFL tight end Steve Jordan.
Tedford continued his success in Southern California as well in 2007, signing eight players from the region including cornerback Chris Conte (Los Angeles, CA/Loyola HS) and linebacker Robert Mullins (Los Angeles, CA/Dorsey HS), as well as Anger, DeMartinis, Holt, Huber, Schwartz and Vereen.
The Bears' Northern California haul includes wide receiver Alex Lagemann (Saratoga, CA/Saratoga HS), as well as Best, Calvin and Summers-Gavin. Best is the No. 1-rated player in the Contra Costa Times 'Cream of the Crop,' the third straight year that Cal has signed the top area player (Derrick Hill in 2006 and Kyle Reed in 2005). Fullback John Tyndall (Pacific Grove, CA/Pacific Grove HS) is a Central Coast product.
Two of this year's junior-college signees have roots to the Cal program. Devin Bishop (San Francisco, CA/San Francisco CC), an All-American linebacker at San Francisco City College, is following in the footsteps of older brother Desmond Bishop, who also played at SFCC before attending Cal and leading the Pac-10 in tackles last season. Tight end Skylar Curran (Woodland, CA/Butte CC), who is already enrolled at Cal, was a standout at Butte Community College, the same school that developed quarterback Aaron Rodgers prior to his arrival in Berkeley.
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