California quarterback commit Max Gilliam has officially signed a financial aid agreement with the University of California, and will enroll early to start school this spring. Like Ross Bowers and Jared Goff before him, he will see his first action in blue and gold during spring practices.
"We really like him," said Cal head coach Sonny Dykes after practice on Thursday. "We think he's a really good player. He's one of those guys, we put the film on, and thought he was as good as any quarterback out there. He's what we're looking for. He's a very good athlete, he can run, he's got a good arm, he's got the intangible part of it, he's a great leader, he's a really good student, he's a bright guy. He's going to be a big guy."
The 6-foot-2, 197-pound dual-threat quarterback out of Thousand Oaks (Calif.) was welcomed officially just after 2 p.m. by Dykes via Twitter:
"We started recruiting him, and then we had a chance to see him at a camp this summer, and he's really starting to fill out," Dykes said. "He's grown a little bit, so he's what we want, in terms of athleticism, arm strength and leadership, so I think the guy's a really good player. He's going to have crazy numbers this year, his high school team's going to be good, and we're really excited about him."
Our Greg Biggins says of Gilliam:
Max Gilliam is one of the top quarterbacks out West ... Gilliam has a strong, athletic frame and you can tell he has been working hard in the weight room ... very accurate on the deeper routes ... He's an athletic quarterback who runs very well. He has made a ton of strides in the last year ... He's one of those quarterbacks who may not be great in any one area but is good in every aspect of the game. He has a strong, athletic frame, plenty of arm, very good mobility and shows nice touch on the deep ball.
http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1550486-trendsett... Gilliam has led the Lancers to a 2-0 record this season, completing an astounding 72.9% of his passes (43-for-59) for 636 yards, averaging 14.8 yards per completion and 318.0 yards per game. Gilliam has tallied 10 touchdowns through the air, with two interceptions. On the ground, Gilliam has shown his shiftiness and athleticism, gaining 108 yards on 14 carries with two rushing touchdowns, including a season-long 25-yard run.
Thousand Oaks stomped local power Ventura, 41-13, in the opener, with Gilliam completing 24-of-34 passes for 285 yards and three TDs, though he did throw two picks. he also rushed nine times for 55 yards against the Cougars.
Up next for Gilliam and the Lancers is a tilt this Friday with Palmdale (Calif.) Highland.
As a junior in 2014, Gilliam combined for 3,545 yards of total offense and was responsible for 41 touchdowns in his first year as his team’s starting quarterback, when he led Thousand Oaks to a 7-4 overall record and a spot in the Northern Division Southern Section playoffs.
Gilliam completed 211-of-305 passes (69.2%) for 2,920 yards with 29 touchdown and eight interceptions for a 120.4 quarterback rating, while adding 625 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on the ground on 158 carries. He also ran in one two-point conversion to finish with 74 points scored and 248 points responsible for. He threw for a career-high 437 yards and three touchdowns on 29-of-42 passing in a 45-44 win over Simi Valley.
Gilliam twice tossed a season-high tying four touchdown passes in the team’s 48-41 playoff loss to Atascadero when he also had career highs of 127 yards rushing and 30 carries and in a 48-0 regular-season win over Highland. He also had at least one scoring pass in each of his 11 games and two or more nine times, while he rushed for at least one score nine times and had a career-high-tying two on three occasions.
Dykes says that when Gilliam comes in, he'll have a chance to compete, but wouldn't say whether he'd be gunning for the backup job or the starting job. That all depends on what happens with Goff.
"I think everybody will be in the mix," said Dykes, who will have three scholarship quarterbacks -- at least -- on campus for spring ball (including Bowers and Chase Forrest). "We'll see how that plays out, but those guys, if it's for the backup role, it'll be a competition for that, or if it's for the starting role, there'll be a competition for that. We'll worry about that when the time comes."
Gilliam was able to sign so early because of his academic success.
"It shows you what a great student he is," Dykes said. "The fact that he was able to get admitted this quickly and get the paperwork done and all the stuff that he has to have done -- admitted is not the right word -- but he could sign the financial aid agreement. He's got to complete fall classes, and do what he's supposed to do, but he's always done that. He's a very good student."
Dykes said that "six or seven" other high school commits for the 2016 class will be enrolling early.
Cal still has quarterback Armani Rogers committed for the 2016 class, as well, but there have been whispers that he's looking around. Those whispers prompted the Bears to offer Jack Abraham last month.
Dykes says Cal expects to "potentially" sign two quarterbacks.
"We'll see how it all plays out, but we'd like to sign two," he said.