Before he even set foot onto the Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian turf on Sunday, Santa Ana (Calif.) Foothill defensive tackle Chris Yaghi told the California coaching staff that, if he earned a scholarship offer at camp that day, it wouldn’t be wasted.
On Friday, Yaghi made good on that promise, becoming the third commit for the Bears in three days, and the ninth commit over the last 19 days, joining cornerback Camryn Bynum and offensive lineman Paco Perez.
“It’s been my dream school, so right when I got the offer, I wanted to commit,” Yaghi says.
Yaghi becomes the 16th member of the 2016 class, and the second defensive tackle.
Yaghi – whose father, brother and cousin are all civil engineers – says that it was the top-three nationally-ranked engineering program at Berkeley that drew him in, as much as the football.
Initially interested in Cal right before his Junior Day visit to Berkeley, Yaghi has long seen Berkeley as the place he’s wanted to be, and worked his way towards that goal.
“At Junior Day, they didn’t really know who I was,” Yaghi says. “I just went, because I wanted to see the school. Honestly, coach [Art] Kaufman came to my school during the evaluation period, and then, he sent coach [Fred] Tate over to see me, then coach Tate gave me a call, maybe a couple weeks afterwards, and I told coach Tate that I wanted to go to school, and he said, ‘Come to camp.’ Then, I went to camp, and we know what happened from there.”
Yaghi and his mother were both quite taken with Tate’s coaching and personality during his workout at camp on Sunday.
“He’s a really good guy, and he’s a really great coach,” Yaghi says. “He’s always enthusiastic, on and off the field.”
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Yaghi will visit Berkeley again between the end of the dead period – July 12 – and July 22, after which he and his family will travel to Lebanon – the country from which Yaghi’s parents emigrated.
“My mom and I are going because all of our family is over there, so we’re just going to visit,” Yaghi says. “My mom came over when she was in eighth grade, I believe, and my dad came over when he was in college.”
Because of Yaghi’s international heritage, staying close to home wasn’t a big factor in his decision.
“It really didn’t play into that at all. My parents were going to let me go anywhere I wanted to go, so I could have gone to the East Coast, and it would have made no difference,” he says.
Yaghi has a 3.6 GPA, and last year was named the Crestview League Defensive Player of the Year, and was named as a Third-Team All-State Junior on the defensive side of the ball by Cal-Hi Sports.