Four-star Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O’Dowd linebacker Camilo Eifler is a lucky young man. In a college football world where many athletes have just one parent in their lives, Eifler has three – his adoptive mother and father, Rachel Morello-Frosch and David Eifler, and his birth mother, Casey Williams.
About 14,000 to 18,000 infant American children are put up for adoption each year, and 55 percent of those are fully open. That was the case with Eifler. Williams knew Morello-Frosch before Eifler was born, and, unlike many adoptees, Eifler sees his birth mother fairly regularly, he says.
“I talk with them all the time, on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, and they come out every few months,” Eifler says. “We try to get them out for holidays and other things. [Williams] came out for a game last year, which was pretty exciting. It was against Castro Valley, and we got a win, and she got to see that, so that was pretty cool.”
One of those visits happened this week, when Williams and Denise – Eifler’s maternal grandmother – paid a visit to the Bay Area from their native Ohio (Eifler was born in Columbus).
When Eifler told his new primary recruiter from California – Burl Toler III, who took over for Pierre Ingram on the recruiting trail when the now-former wide receivers coach was suspended due to his involvement in solicitation – that his family was visiting, Toler had an idea.
“He’s a great guy, probably one of my favorite coaches, because he’s from Bishop O’Dowd, so he’s got an O’Dowd background, he’s from the Bay, he’s a real cool guy, really humble, loves his family,” says Eifler. “He loves being around the team, and I love that vibe. Even though he’s an offensive coach, he’s really cool. My birth mom and my grandma were out here to celebrate my birth mom’s birthday this past weekend, so we threw a little party, and they flew out here.
“They were checking out the Bay Area, and coach Toler came through today, to my school. After school, I was doing track practice, and I was pretty happy to see him. I told him that my birth mother was in town, and he said that I could come through and show them Cal a little bit. We scheduled something for later today, so I went there with my mom and my grandma.”
Eifler’s adoptive mother Morello-Frosch – a PhD in Environmental Health Science who got all three of her degrees from Berkeley -- is a professor at Cal, so she knows plenty about the school, but the opportunity for the other women in Eifler’s life to see the school that he could be attending two years from now was too good to pass up.
“I’ve built such strong relationships there, and I feel really comfortable there,” says Eifler. “Obviously, there are a ton of alumni from O’Dowd that are there, and the coaching staff is great. I feel like the coaches are going to be there for a while, because it’s an up-and-coming program. Berkeley, I’ve lived here, so I feel like it’s in my backyard. Cal’s an overall great fit. I think I can fit in pretty well in the defense.
“Coach [Art] has done a great job over there, same with coach [Garret] Chachere. I feel really comfortable with him. Overall, Cal has everything to offer. I just don’t know what exactly I’m looking for. I’m still in that stage of, staying at home is a good thing to do, but going away, I could experience something new. I’m most definitely keeping Cal in the schools that I’ll be picking from.”
Eifler – who has a GPA between 3.2 and 3.3 – says that he wouldn’t need to take an official to Cal, but he will “most definitely” be up at Memorial Stadium for games this season.
“I want to see my friend De’Zhon [Grace] and see Hardy [Nickerson, Jr.] play, just to support them and see how they do,” Eifler says. “They have kind of a tough schedule. I saw that they scheduled Texas, and a couple other schools. I’m looking at who else comes in for the 2016 class.”
The Bears took the first step in perhaps landing Eifler with the commitment of Brentwood (Calif.) Liberty safety Shurod Thompson just over a week ago. Keeping the four-star defender in the Bay Area said a lot about how much this staff is determined to put a fence around the Bay Area.
“I want to see if some guys in my class want to come here,” Eifler says. “I want to have a group that has the mindset of bringing all the Bay Area guys back to Cal. That’s the main key. If you lose a lot of NorCal recruits, it hurts. You see all the NorCal recruits going other places, and that hurts Cal’s recruiting, as well as all the other Bay Area schools. I’m trying to reach out to some guys that I know can play at the next level, and see what they’re thinking.
“[Thompson’s commitment] was big. He was considering a lot of schools, and I thought he was going to go to Arizona State, or USC. Him committing to Cal, that was big, because he’s a pretty good player. We know each other, but I’m closer with Jordan Parker. I was trying to talk to [Thompson] to see what’s up. He has some strong connections here. If you want to play at the next level, you can go to any college, and prove that you’re worthy of going to the NFL. That’s what some kids don’t really understand. They’re trying to go to a school that promotes their all-time NFL numbers, but that doesn’t always work out so great. I feel like Shurod is going to do really well at Cal.
“Defense-wise, he’s going to play safety or corner or wherever they put him at, and he’s going to flourish, just because he’ll get some exposure against the top receivers, and the Pac-12 has some offensive weapons, so he’ll always be going against some good players. The Pac-12 is one of the toughest conferences, with the SEC, because all the teams are good.”
Thompson could very well be the first Bay Area domino to fall, and his commitment certainly helps the Bears in Eifler’s mind.
“I just want to see who else goes there,” Eifler says. “I really want Boss and Devin to come.”
Boss and Devin, of course, are four-star defensive tackle Boss Tagaloa and his Concord (Calif.) De La Salle teammate Devin Asiasi -- also a four-star.
“I feel like those guys could make an impact,” Eifler says. “I have some SoCal friends, too -- Javon McKinley out of Centennial, he’s a beast, but I feel like he’s favoring Notre Dame a lot; and Caleb Kelly. I hit him up almost every other day. Probably some other guys that I’m missing. My friend from Campolindo -- Sterling Strother -- he’s a cool dude. He’s a pretty good player, and a smart guy. He’s got a four-point-something GPA, a 29 ACT, so he’s a great guy. I thought Jordan Parker was going to go with Shurod, but he’s doing his own thing, and I respect him for that.”
Eifler will travel down to Los Angeles to check out USC and Parker’s choice – UCLA – this summer, and starts spring ball next week.