For California defensive end commit Cameron Saffle, just about everything on his official visit this weekend exceeded his expectations, starting with the weather.
“When we landed, the first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t Washington,” Saffle said. “We left 32-degree weather in Washington, and came to 60-degree weather. That definitely stood out … We went through the whole academic day [on Saturday], got a chance to see the whole program at Cal, the weight room and all that different stuff. That blew my expectations out of the park.
“I know I talked it up before I came down here, how much of a good place it was, but just going there myself totally beat whatever I thought. The weight room was awesome, the academics were even better, the school of business – I actually got to meet a business school professor over breakfast on Saturday morning, and that guy was definitely someone I like a lot.”
What blew Saffle away the most his first time setting foot on campus? “It’s a tie. Everything,” Saffle said.
“The campus, in terms of academic buildings, was very impressive,” he continued. “It just didn’t seem real. The coaches, I’ve never had coaches who don’t treat the football program like a business. The coaches here, having a meeting with coach [Fred] Tate, you can tell that he loves to get down to business, when it comes to football, and he’ll get down and dirty and work hard, but they don’t pressure on you. You know when to work, and when the right time is to work, and when the right time is to relax and have fun. That was the best part about it. They made everyone feel so welcome. That and the academics, nothing can beat those.”
Also blowing away Saffle’s expectations? Doe Library.
“The library was massive. The library, it’s the fourth-biggest in the country,” Saffle marveled. “And, we got to see the business school, which was cool to see. The stadium, standing out in the middle of the field, I pictured myself playing, and that was exciting. Gosh, I can’t wait until I see that place filled up. I’ve heard the fan base is really cool.”
As if to drive that point home, at the Cal-Arizona basketball game on Saturday night, Saffle, the hosts and other recruits got to sit in the Cal student section behind the basket.
“The whole fan base was really fun, and the student section, just for the basketball game, was crazy, man,” Saffle said. “Even when Cal was losing, the fans were still rallying, which was awesome to see.”
Echoing fellow defensive end commit Russell Ude, Saffle said that the coaching staff made Berkeley feel like he belonged. It made him feel like he was coming home.
“Overall, the coaches, they made it feel like home, just like one, big, happy family,” Saffle said. “Coaches made me feel like I’d known them for months, and I’d only met them a day ago. They did everything we asked of them, and we didn’t even have to ask for much, because they were doing so much. Everything was awesome. Hopefully, I can go back before I get to school, because everything was just crazy awesome.”
Defensive line coach Fred Tate had made an in-home visit with head coach Sonny Dykes a week ago, setting the stage for this weekend’s trip.
“I was just excited to meet coach Dykes,” Saffle said. “I’d heard so much about him. I’d called coach Dykes, too, and I know how prestigious his dad is at Texas Tech, and I’d heard about his dad and all these wins, and I knew, before I even met coach Dykes, he definitely had some of the characteristics that his dad had. Meeting him was awesome. He was a lot taller than I thought. I heard about his background, and it’s cool that he played college baseball, as well. And, I love coach Tate. He’s definitely a funny guy. He and I get along very well. He’s just excited to have me on the squad, and I told him I was very excited to get down to work.”
During the trip to a Pier 39 arcade, Saffle spent most of the time just as a “spectator,” he said, having fun watching the coaches and recruits go head-to-head.
Saffle said that he will try to make it out for the spring game on April 18. “I don’t see why not,” he said.