[BEYOND THE COMMITMENT: Curhan Studies Up]
It’s been quite some time coming, but on Friday, Larkspur (Calif.) Redwood offensive tackle Jake Curhan committed to California, making him the second offensive lineman in the 2016 class, following Daniel Juarez. Curhan committed on an unofficial visit Friday.
“I kind of decided I wanted to commit on the spot, one, because it was so possible – Cal’s a 40-minute drive from where I live right now – and I wanted to get my brother up there to see everything," Curhan told BearTerritory. "I kind of decided about a week ago that I was going to commit on this visit. Coach [Jacob] Peeler had a pretty good idea. Coach [Brandon] Jones had a pretty good idea, and they left the surprise to coach Dykes. I wanted to be there because I could, and I thought it would be a special experience to be there for such a big moment.”
The 6-foot-7 Curhan – who had offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Idaho, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Vanderbilt and Washington State – scored an offer from Virginia on the morning of his commitment.
Curhan visited the Bears during spring practice, and has meshed well with new offensive line coach Jones.
That first trip in spring was Curhan’s second trip to Berkeley, after being toured around the facility by Zach Yenser after a June prospect camp. It wasn’t until Jones came aboard, though, that Curhan scored a Cal offer – his third, after the Cougars and Rams – back on Feb. 10. He came to Berkeley twice this spring with his family.
During the spring, Curhan also visited Boise, Oregon and UCLA and Oregon, with the intention of making his choice before the end of summer. Turns out, he made it long before summer even started.
Education was a big factor for Curhan in his decision. He has a 3.86 unweighted GPA, and both of his parents went to Ivy League institutions.
There’s a lot to like about Curhan, who has agile feet for such a big body, and a penchant for downfield blocks. Curhan is a bit top-heavy, and needs to work on leg strength, but he does have a nimble lower half.
“My lower body strength, going through this process, that’s the one thing that has been a question point with everyone I’ve talked to," said Curhan. "It’s evident, from watching the film, that my lower body strength isn’t what it needs to be. It’s something I’m definitely working on, and hopefully, I’ll be able to get it up for this season, and going into college. If it’s not where it needs to be by the time I’m in college, I’m pretty sure that Damon Harrington can get it there. He’s the real deal, as far as strength coaches go.”
His height and length make him an ideal tackle, and he really holds his blocks and keeps his defenders engaged from whistle to whistle. His run blocking is superb, showing that he really fires off the ball and can keep running lanes open toward the middle of the field.
There aren’t a whole lot of passing plays on his highlight tape, nor are there a variety of pass rushing moves he’s faced in those passing plays, so it’s difficult to tell just how good he is when it comes to dropping back a few steps, rather than firing forward. There is a play at 3:15 in his Hudl film that shows him making two blocks to spring a scrambling quarterback, and that play alone shows off all his strengths, and his potential, particularly in this system.
“That was a play, where, in the game, I was glad I recognized that he was running out, so I could get the guy in front of him, and get the guy that was chasing behind him," said Curhan, who assembled his own highlight tape (more on that in our upcoming Beyond the Commitment story). "It’s stuff like that, watching all the film of myself, it helps me recognize what’s happening in each situation. There were definitely times where I needed to adjust better to stuff like that. There were actually some other fits that stuck out more in my mind than that, but that’s the play everyone talks about. In the game, I was doing a good job. There were some plays in there where I thought I was just making a decent block, and I go back and look at tape, and my footwork’s really good, and my steps were really good. It helps me to flow to the play. That play, it’s me flowing to the play. A lot of watching film helps me in general, but right after that happened, that was one that stuck out to me.”
Another thing you don’t see in his highlight tape is the two-point stance. Redwood’s line plays in a three-point stance, so he’ll have to adjust to the way the Bear Raid sets up, though playing in a spread system already will make that adjustment easier for Curhan.
Towards the latter third of his highlight film, we finally see Curhan’s kick step and his pass protection abilities. He shows good punch, keeps his knees bent, but does play a little high. Not a whole lot of plays to go on, but there are definitely elements of Cal’s offensive line action in his skill set.