Not too long ago, the California football team scored six commits in a span of eight days. Now, a day after Corona (Calif.) Centennial cornerback Camryn Bynum made the call for the Bears, Baldwin Park (Calif.) offensive guard Francisco Perez made it two in two days for Sonny Dykes and his crew, committing to become the third offensive lineman in this class.
“The coaches are really mellow, and they have great academics. It’s the No. 1 public school in the nation. We treat each other like family. We are family,” Perez said. “The coaches have been recruiting me really hard, so I know they really want me.”
At Sunday’s satellite camp at Riverside (Calif.) Riverside City College, Perez was greeted warmly by coaches and players alike, including Daniel Juarez -- Bynum’s teammate at Centennial, and the second commit in this class – the first offensive lineman, to boot.
“Me and Daniel, we’re like brothers,” said Perez, who met Juarez while both were participating in the Los Angeles Regional for The Opening. “We treat each other like family. He’s so enthusiastic, and that’s what I like about him. I know that I can talk to him about whatever I want. If I have any questions about Cal, he’s the one to go to. I trust him. We’ve built a great relationship. Really, we’re buddies.
“At the NIKE Opening, we just stumbled into each other. I think we bumped into each other, started talking – ‘What school do you go to?’, stuff like that – and then, he messaged me saying, ‘Congrats on the Cal offer,’ and I said, ‘Thank you,’ and he asked if I was considering Cal, and I said I was. We just kept talking.”
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Perez becomes the third offensive lineman to join the class, including tackles Juarez and Jake Curhan, collectively breaking the 900-pound mark.
Perez – who has aunts, uncles and cousins in Stockton, Calif., and Lodi, Calif. – will come up and visit Cal after the dead period lifts on July 12. He said having family close by was also a big factor in his commitment.
“My grandmother’s coming into town, and we’re going to drive her up to Lodi, which is right there, and my family’s right there, so we might as well go visit,” said Perez. “I think it’s really important, because when I end up going to Cal, if I ever end up being homesick and miss some home-cooked Mexican food, I told my dad, if we do go to Cal, I’d be driving down every so often just to get a home-cooked meal, some soup or whatever.”
Perez – son of Francisco, Sr., and Olga Perez, who emigrated from Mexico before “Paco” was born – said that he will miss his mother’s menudo soup and posole most of all.
“I’m not sure what’s in it. It’s just so good,” Perez gushed. “Also, I’d say her carne asada.”
That’s certainly one way to build a lineman, one who will slot in at guard, but will take some snaps at center, the Cal staff has told him.
“They said what they like about me is that I’m athletic, I run downhill and I’m powerful," Perez said. “I like how [offensive line coach Brandon Jones] treats his guys. He’s straight up with his guys. He wouldn’t lie to me. If I need help on certain things, with my technique, I know he could help me a lot.”
Perez – who had an academic awakening as a freshman, when his offensive line coach told him he could play at the next level, if he got his grades in order -- ended his fall semester with a 3.6 GPA, and, he said, disappointedly, a 3.3 in the spring. He has a 3.03 GPA overall, and is buckling down to elevate that mark.
Stay tuned for more, as we go Beyond the Commitment with Cal’s latest pledge.