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2014 California Recruiting Class Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 7, 2014


California Golden Bears 2014 ... Head Coach: Sonny Dykes


California Golden Bears

2013 Record: 1-11
8/31 Northwestern L 44-30
9/7 Portland St W 37-30
9/14 Ohio State L 52-34
9/21 OPEN DATE
9/28 at Oregon L 55-16
10/5 Washington St L 44-22
10/12 at UCLA L 37-10
10/19 Oregon State L 49-17
10/26 at Washington L 41-17
11/2 Arizona L 33-28
11/9 USC L 62-28
11/16 at Colorado L 41-24
11/23 at Stanford L 63-13
11/30 OPEN DATE


California | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Defense, defense, defense. The Bears were an undisputed sieve in 2013, yielding more points per game than every FBS team except Idaho. The program lost a handful of starters to graduation and early entry into the NFL Draft, and Art Kaufman is replacing Andy Buh as the coordinator. In other words, it might be the second year of the Sonny Dykes regime, but it’s going to feel like the defense is starting over in many regards.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebacker. The Bears are desperate to start cranking up the defense, and while that might take a bit, steps were taken for 2014 with JUCO transfers Trevor Kelly and David Davis for the interior of the line and JUCO end Jonathan Johnson for the outside. Also from the JUCO ranks is Sam Atoe, a big-hitting safety, but the future is at linebacker with Alisea Tongilava and Noah Westfield surrounding Chandler Leniu in the middle. The offense will never be ignored under Sonny Dykes, signing quarterbacks Luke Rubenzer and Chase Forrest and getting a terrific prospect in receiver Erik Brown.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 26. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. So Sonny Dykes can't put together good defenses, huh? That remains to be seen, but he's getting his share of good prospect bringing in linebackers Chad Whitener, Ray Davison, Johnny Ragin and Edward Tandy along with corners Cameron Walker, Darius Allensworth and Travellous Cheek. The defensive line got a huge boost with JUCO transfer Sione Sina for the end along with prep prospect Takkarist McKinley and Garrett Hughes. However, it's Dykes, so offensive players are going to want to play for him. He needs the line to be in place to make it all go with J.D. Hinnant and Erik Bunte leading the way at tackle.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 25. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The work was done over the last few classes to improve the lines as much as possible, and now the payoff is about to come. The receiving corps is fine for this year, even with Marvin Jones gone to the NFL, but head coach Jeff Tedford is looking to make the big push now with a potentially special class of targets coming in. Landing Scout.com’s No. 1 safety Shaquille Thompson already makes the recruiting season a success for the defense.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 14. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Kyle Boehm, with some work, could be one of the better Cal quarterbacks in recent years, and Daniel Lasco is another fast Bear running back, but the stars are on defense. Stefan McClure is one of the nation’s top corner prospects and Jason Gibson might soon be the leader of the linebacking corps. The linemen are phenomenal with Viliami Moala, arguably the nation’s best tackle, a class-making pickup while Mustafa Jalil and Todd Barr aren’t far behind. Brennan Scarlett and Puka Lopa are could be terrors on the end with a little time to develop.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 22. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebacker. The Signing Day coup was getting Keenan Allen, Scout.com's No. 1 ranked safety, away from Alabama and Clemson. He was added to a class that was highlighted by Chris Martin, the nation's top-ranked outside linebacker prospect who chose the Bears over USC, Florida, and Oklahoma. Martin is the star, but Jeff Tedford also loaded up the linebacking corps with Cecil Whiteside, a top-shelf prospect for the middle, and Dave Wilkerson, a player who'd be the star of just about any other class.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 33. That Class Was Heavy On ... linemen. The Bears did not discriminate when it came to big bodies this year; they’re feeding both sides of the ball with an impressive array of linemen. The program was especially effective on the offensive line, going all the way to New Jersey to land top-ranked C Mark Brazinski and robbing Oregon of T Charles Siddoway. Both are the type of players who are capable of cracking the starting lineup by their second season.

at Stanford 63, California 13
Basically … Kevin Hogan threw five touchdown passes and Ty Montgomery went off scoring on a 31-yard run and catching touchdown passes from 50, 12, 72 and nine yards out in the first half. Tyler Gaffney ran for a 58-yard score and Kelsey Young ran for a 27-yard score as the Cardinal pulled away with 28 unanswered points. Cal tied it at seven on a 15-yard Maurice Harris touchdown catch, but it only managed two Vincenzo D’Amato field goals the rest of the way.
- Stanford WR Ty Montgomery caught five passes for 160 yards and four scores, and he ran twice for 31 yards and a touchdown.
- Stanford QB Kevin Hogan completed 17-of-26 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns.
- Cal QB Jared Goff completed 10-of-19 passes for 194 yards and a score.
- Stanford converted 11-of-17 third down chances, and Cal converted 2-of-13 tries.

at Colorado 41, California 24
Basically … Sefo Liufau threw three touchdown passes with Kyle Slavin catching a ten-yarder in the second quarter and Michael Adkins taking one 63 yards to help the Buffs pull away in the fourth. Cal tied it at ten in the second on a 55-yard Khalfani Muhammad dash, but Colorado scored 24 straight points to take over. Cal stopped the run with a one-yard Brendan Bigelow touchdown run, but Colorado answered with a Nelson Spruce kickoff return for a score.
- Colorado QB Sefo Liufau completed 23-of-36 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns with a pick.
- Cal QB Jared Goff completed 23-of-45 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown with a pick. He also punted three times.
- Cal RB Brendan Bigelow ran 15 times for 107 yards and two touchdowns.
- Colorado WR Paul Richardson caught 11 passes for 140 yards.

Arizona 33 at Cal 28, Nov. 2
Basically … While Arizona led throughout the game, it had to hold on in the waning moments before finally putting away Cal. The Wildcats were in control over the final three quarters, getting three touchdown runs and a touchdown pass from QB B.J. Denker. However, the Bears pulled to within five on a Jared Goff to Kenny Lawler touchdown strike, the third time the pair hooked up for scores on the afternoon.
- Goff finished the day 34-of-56 for 289 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.
- Arizona RB Ka’Deem Carey led all rushers with 152 yards on 32 carries.
- Wildcat rookie LB Scooby Wright led his team with 8.5 stops, three of which were for minus yards.
- Lawler had six receptions for 72 yards and those three touchdown catches.

at Washington 41, California 17
Basically … Washington had no problems whatsoever scoring 17 first quarter points helped by a 68-yard Jaydon Mickens scoring play, and he added a 47-yard touchdown catch in the third. Bishop Sankey started out the scoring with a three-yard touchdown run, and he later added a 59-yarder in the blowout. Cal got in the end zone in the second quarter on a five-yard Chris Harper touchdown catch, but it was 38-7 in the fourth before Vincenzo D’Amato field goal and a 73-yard Khalfani Muhammad scoring dash.
- Once again, Cal put up lots of lots of passing yards that meant nothing. Jared Goff threw for 336 yards and a touchdown, but it took 54 throws to do it and the score came after the team was already down big. The defense wasn’t even close – Washington did whatever it wanted. There’s no pressure from the line, and there are too many running plays in the second level.
- Where’s the break going to come? The Bears have lost six straight in blowout fashion, and there’s no hope in sight with Arizona and USC up next before closing out with Colorado and Stanford on the road. Until the defense can come up with a meaningful stop, it’s not going to get better this year.

Oregon State 49, at California 17
Basically … Oregon State’s Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks were at it again, hooking up on second quarter touchdown passes from 14 and 34 yards out as part of a 35-3 run into the third quarter. Cal managed to get into the end zone on two Zach Kline touchdown passes, but the outcome was already decided. Storm Woods caught one of Mannion’s four touchdown passes, and Terron Ward ran for two one-yard scores.
- Soon, Oregon State will face some real competition, like next week against Stanford, and then we’ll get to see just how good Sean Mannion really is. The passing attack continues to be unstoppable, but Cal isn’t a fair test – the Bears give up massive yards to everyone. Mannion completed 35-of-45 passes for 481 yards and four touchdowns, and Brandin Cooks caught 13 passes for 232 yards and a score.
- Cal is supposed to be the one with the high-octane passing game, but Jared Goff didn’t get the Bears into the end zone, and even though he completed 21-of-31 passes for 220 yards with a pick, the O didn’t move. Zach Kline hit 11-of-16 passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.
- This isn’t going to work. Either the Cal defense has to get better, fast, of the offense has to start winning shootouts by being more dangerous and explosive. It’s not going to get any better with a trip to Washington next week.
- Give the Oregon State defense a little bit of credit, too, for coming up with four takeaways and keeping the Cal offense to 366 yards. This was never a game because of Mannion and the passing attack, but it was a blowout because the defense kept giving the ball back to Mannion.

at UCLA 37, California 10
Basically … Brett Hundley threw for 410 yards with three touchdown passes as UCLA went in streaks to win easily. The Bruins got out to a 17-0 lead with Hundley hitting Devin Fuller for an 18-yard score and Paul Perkins running for a one-yard touchdown. Cal scored ten straight points with Daniel Lasco running for a six-yard touchdown, and then it was all UCLA as it scored 20 unanswered points as Hundley fount Thomas Duarte and Shaquelle Evans for touchdowns and Ka’imi Fairbairn hit two of his three field goals.
- UCLA might have been in for a little bit of a battle in the second quarter, but it did what it wanted to on both sides of the ball. Brett Hundley was in total command, completing 31-of-41 passes and being razor sharp on third downs. There were a few drives that ended in field goals deep in Cal territory – this could’ve been really ugly – but the Bruins didn’t have any problems.
- Once again, the Cal secondary didn’t have any chance. The Bear defense is going to be a problem on a consistent basis, so the offense has to keep up. Jared Goff only threw for 215 yards on 43 passes with no touchdown passes and one pick. UCLA bottled up just about everything, especially after the first half.
- Anthony Barr only came up with three sacks, but he generated a sack with two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. On the other side, Myles Jack came up with 12 tackles and crushed any semblance of a Cal running game. There was decent pressure from the UCLA D with three sacks.
- Where’s Cal’s win going to come? It has to go to Colorado and the home games – Oregon State, Arizona and USC – aren’t going to be easy. The Bears are clearly the worst team in the Pac-12, and unless the pass defense improves by leaps and bounds in a hurry, this could be an utterly disastrous season.

Washington State 44, at California 22
Basically … The two teams combined for 1,042 passing yards with Washington State’s Connor Halliday bombing away for 521 yards and three touchdowns with two to Vince Mayle from 35 and 72 yards out. Cal tried to keep up pace with 504 yards from Jared Goff with scoring passes from 89 yards out to Chris Harper and 53 to James Grison, but the offense turned it over five times. The Cougars settled for three Andrew Furner field goals in the fourth quarter after part of a 23-7 second half scoring run.
- Cal keeps on making too many mistakes. The Bears committed 11 penalties and turned it over five times with three fumbles. The two passing games were equal, and both quarterbacks played well, but the difference was in the errors.
- Connor Halliday spread the ball around better than Jared Goff did. The overall production was roughly the same, but Marcus Mason and Vince Mayle each caught four passes for over 100 yards, hitting on big plays against the awful Cal secondary. 12 different Cougars caught passes.
- Chris Harper was unstoppable. The Bears might have a slew of good weapons, but it’s Harper who’s the signature star catching 13 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown as Goff’s main man. Washington State didn’t have an answer.
- Both defenses were picked apart, but Washington State’s was far more disruptive, generating better pressure on Goff led by Ionae Gauta’s two sacks. Kalafitoni Poe recovered two fumbles and Deone Bucannon came up with 12 tackles and a pick.

at Oregon 55, California 16
Basically … In the rain, Oregon’s offense was just fine, rolling up 41 first quarter points before Cal finally got on the board with a 46-yard Vincenzo D’Amato field goal at the end of the first half. Marcus Mariota threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score, while Byron Marshall ran for two touchdowns in the in the first quarter. The Oregon punt return game was unstoppable, with Bralon Addison taking a kick 75 yards for a score in the second quarter and one 67 yards for a touchdown in the third. Down 55-3, Cal scored two late touchdowns.
- Oregon kept on being Oregon with pop, explosion, and a terrific came from Bralon Addison and the punt return game, but De’Anthony Thomas was lost early on to an apparent ankle injury. The offense was just fine without him, with Byron Marshall running 19 times for 130 yards and two scores.
- Jared Goff completed just 3-of-6 passes for 11 yards before getting replaced. It wasn’t made known early on whether or not he was hurt, but it was Zach Kline who had to try to make the offense go in the poor conditions. He completed 18-of-37 passes for 165 yards and a score with a pick.
- Don’t get into a twist over Marcus Mariota completing just 11-of-25 passes for 114 yards with two scores. He ran for 33 yards and a touchdown, and he wasn’t needed much. In the rain and weather, the conditions weren’t exactly prime for a top passing game.
- The Bears were struggling enough to handle the Oregon offense, and it didn’t help that they made mistake after mistake. The five turnovers were slightly forgivable because of the rain – Oregon lost two fumbles – but the 11 penalties didn’t help.

Ohio State 52, at California 34, Sept. 14
Basically … With Braxton Miller sitting out, Kenny Guiton made the offense fly with four touchdown passes including home runs of 90 and 47 yards out to Devin Smith in the first five minutes. Cal kept bombing away with Jared Goff throwing 53 passes with three scoring throws hitting James Grison for a 61-yarder and Chris Harper for a 42-yard play, but Ohio State’s running game was too much with 332 yards and three Jordan Hall touchdowns to keep the Cal offense on the sidelines.
- How would Kenny Guiton do as a starter instead of a relief pitcher? 21-of-32 passes for 276 yards and four scores, and 14 carries for 92 yards. He didn’t make any mistakes, throwing with accuracy and confidence.
- The Cal offense might not be consistent quite yet, but Jared Goff looks like a keeper. He keeps pressing and he keeps pushing the ball down the field. He handled the pressure well.
- The Ohio State defense was on its heels, but it came up with the stops it needed to stay comfortably ahead. Ryan Shazier made 11 tackles with a sack and a forced fumble.
- The Cal running game works, but the offense is pass-happy with Goff. Daniel Lasco was effective late, running ten times for 64 yards and a score.

at California 37, Portland State 30, Sept. 7
Basically … Down 30-27 in the second half, Cal scored ten unanswered points on a 75-yard Richard Rogers touchdown catch and Vincenzo D’Amato’s third field goal of the game. In a shootout, Portland State started things off in the first minute on a 81-yard Kasey Closs touchdown catch, but Cal kept on pushing thanks to 485 passing yards, and a one-yard scoring run, from freshman quarterback Jared Goff.
- Welcome to the Sonny Dykes era. The defense is going to be a huge, huge problem all season long – it is a Sonny Dykes team – but the offense will have to bomb its way into wins. Jared Goff was terrific in just his second game, completing 33-of-51 passes for 465 yards and two scores.
- The defense might have been a problem, but it created timely plays and a few key takeaways. There were plays in the backfield, but there were only two sacks. On the other side, the offensive line had a huge problem keeping Goff upright allowing five sacks.
- There has to be a running game. It came up with 179 yards, and it wasn’t a liability, but for this to work, the ground attack has to average more than three yards per pop. The sacks had something to do with the problem.

Northwestern 44, at California 30, Aug. 31
Basically … It was a grind for a Northwestern defense that seemed to always be on the field, but the big plays came late as linebacker Collin Ellis came up with two interceptions for second half scores from 56 and 40 yards out. The Wildcat offense finally found its groove late, putting the game away on a six-yard Treyvon Green touchdown run. Cal got two third quarter touchdown catches from Chris Harper, but only managed two field goals in the fourth.
- Northwestern lost starting quarterback Kain Colter to a concussion and running back Venric Mark to an injury. Trevor Siemian threw two picks, but he also came up with 276 yards and a touchdown. Treyvon Green carried the rushing workload with 129 yards and two scores helped by a 55-yard dash.
- Here’s the problem. The Cal offense came up 99 plays, but the sped up style didn’t help in time of possession. The attack didn’t control the game like it should’ve, partly because Northwestern always seemed to have someone down and banged up.
- Jared Goff threw the ball 63 times in his Cal debut for 445 yards and two scores, and while he threw three picks, they weren’t all his fault. Chris Harper exploded for 11 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Bryce Treggs caught 13 passes for 145 yards.
- The two teams combined for 1,056 yards of total offense, six turnovers and 15 penalties with Cal committing ten of them.

Spring Analysis

Why To Get Excited … there are few guarantees with Sonny Dykes and his staff, other than the fact that they’re going to install a high-flying, up-tempo offense that eventually challenges defenses in all directions. Jeff Tedford took the Bears about as far as they could; the hope is that Dykes can elevate the program, much the way he did with Louisiana Tech last season.

Why To Be Grouchy … Dykes didn’t exactly inherit a championship-caliber roster in Berkeley. The Bears need to anoint a new quarterback, replace last season’s top runner and receiver and fix a defense that gave up 181 points over the final four games. It’s entirely possible that Cal will take a step back before even thinking about moving forward. A lot of pivotal openings will be up for grabs in the spring and summer.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … fix the O-line so that the new quarterback has a prayer of not being annihilated in the pocket. Zach Maynard was bounced around last year as much as any passer in the country. Enter unproven contenders Zach Kline, Allan Bridgford and Jared Goff, who will be protected by a blocking unit that’s missing three starters, including All-Pac-12 C Brian Schwenke.

Non-Conference Games: Northwestern, Portland State, Ohio State
Games Against The South: Arizona, at Colorado, at UCLA, USC
Realistic Best Case Record: 8-4
Worst Case Record: 3-9
Likely Finish: 5-7

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Portland State, Washington State, Oregon State, Arizona, at Colorado

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: Northwestern, Ohio State, at Oregon, at UCLA, at Washington, USC, at Stanford

Schedule Analysis: It’s probably going to take an upset or three to get to six wins, and with nine games against teams that went bowling last season, it’s not going to be easy. The Sonny Dykes era starts out with a bang with Northwestern and Ohio State coming to Berkeley in the first three weeks, and with Portland State in between, going 2-1 is a must before getting a week off to prepare for a road trip to Oregon. There aren’t many breaks in the Pac-12 schedule outside of getting Colorado from the South. Arizona, UCLA and USC are the three other interdivisional games, and the toughest North games – Oregon, Stanford and Washington – are all on the road.

The only slight breather is at home against Washington State, but that’s sandwiched in between the road games at Oregon and UCLA. Taking advantage of home games against Oregon State and Arizona is a must, and any reasonable hope of going bowling is gone without a win at Colorado.

Team Concerns For 2013: The Bears have plenty of work to do under new head coach Sonny Dykes, and it's not a plus that the guy who led Louisiana Tech's nation-worst defense inherits a group that has to be far more physical and far stronger in the secondary against the big play. The secondary had an awful year, and now it has to replace two starters. The offense has to convert yards into points - that's what Dykes should be able to help with - but holding on the ball is a must after giving it away 30 times. It will all start with a porous offensive line that couldn't pass protect.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive linemen. So Sonny Dykes can't put together good defenses, huh? That remains to be seen, but he's getting his share of good prospect bringing in linebackers Chad Whitener, Ray Davison, Johnny Ragin and Edward Tandy along with corners Cameron Walker, Darius Allensworth and Travellous Cheek. The defensive line got a huge boost with JUCO transfer Sione Sina for the end along with prep prospect Takkarist McKinley and Garrett Hughes. However, it's Dykes, so offensive players are going to want to play for him. He needs the line to be in place to make it all go with J.D. Hinnant and Erik Bunte leading the way at tackle.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 25. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. The work was done over the last few classes to improve the lines as much as possible, and now the payoff is about to come. The receiving corps is fine for this year, even with Marvin Jones gone to the NFL, but head coach Jeff Tedford is looking to make the big push now with a potentially special class of targets coming in. Landing Scout.com’s No. 1 safety Shaquille Thompson already makes the recruiting season a success for the defense.

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 14. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. Kyle Boehm, with some work, could be one of the better Cal quarterbacks in recent years, and Daniel Lasco is another fast Bear running back, but the stars are on defense. Stefan McClure is one of the nation’s top corner prospects and Jason Gibson might soon be the leader of the linebacking corps. The linemen are phenomenal with Viliami Moala, arguably the nation’s best tackle, a class-making pickup while Mustafa Jalil and Todd Barr aren’t far behind. Brennan Scarlett and Puka Lopa are could be terrors on the end with a little time to develop.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 22. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebacker. The Signing Day coup was getting Keenan Allen, Scout.com's No. 1 ranked safety, away from Alabama and Clemson. He was added to a class that was highlighted by Chris Martin, the nation's top-ranked outside linebacker prospect who chose the Bears over USC, Florida, and Oklahoma. Martin is the star, but Jeff Tedford also loaded up the linebacking corps with Cecil Whiteside, a top-shelf prospect for the middle, and Dave Wilkerson, a player who'd be the star of just about any other class.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 33. That Class Was Heavy On ... linemen. The Bears did not discriminate when it came to big bodies this year; they’re feeding both sides of the ball with an impressive array of linemen. The program was especially effective on the offensive line, going all the way to New Jersey to land top-ranked C Mark Brazinski and robbing Oregon of T Charles Siddoway. Both are the type of players who are capable of cracking the starting lineup by their second season.

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