Before Cal offensive tackle signee Jake Curhan made the short drive to Berkeley this past weekend for his official visit, he was supposed to have an in-home with Bears head coach Sonny Dykes. That in-home never happened, as Dykes's plane was delayed by weather coming back into the Bay Area on Thursday. He did, however, get to spend some time with Dykes on his official, and as he sat down in Dykes's office on Sunday, before he could ask about the Missouri, Virginia and South Carolina rumors, the Cal skipper addressed them, head-on.
"Right before we left, everyone had a five-minute meeting with coach Dykes -- you and whoever you brought with you -- so me, my mom and my dad went in with coach Dykes, and none of us even had a chance to bring it up," Curhan said. "He brought it up. He seemed really confident that the contract extension would be announced in the next few days, and he was very excited about it, and he was strong on saying that the Bay Area is where he wants to be. He said he wants to raise his kids here. He didn't seem like he wanted to go anywhere. It was very, very contradictory to some of the reports you would see from people just tweeting out whatever."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1620297-elephant-in-room-r... That short conversation with Dykes certainly calmed whatever worries the Curhan clan had about the future of Dykes and the program, especially because, having already signed a financial aid agreement, Curhan will be on campus in less than a month. That said, the Larkspur (Calif.) Redwood tackle said that his commitment to Cal was more than a commitment to a coach.
"Personally, for me, it wouldn't change anything, in terms of where I was going to end up, because I know that I was committing to a school, not to coaches," he said. "Still, it's definitely very nice to know that you're going to have the same guys that you know so well, that you stay in touch with, that recruited you, that you have good relationships with, having the security of knowing that they're going to be there."
While that was certainly a high point, there were a few others, including a chance meeting with Marshawn Lynch on Friday, after the visitor group swung through Haas Pavilion for the last few minutes of the Cal women's basketball game. They walked onto the floor, and Lynch was right there.
"We ran into him randomly, while we were doing the campus tour, and we hung out with him for about 15 minutes," Curhan said. "It got a lot of the guys excited."
How much of the eccentric running back's speech could Curhan understand? "About 85 percent."
So, Lynch's communication skills are certainly improving.
"A bunch of people kept walking up to him and asking him for pictures, and every single time, [he said], 'No, I'm alright, I'm good,'" Curhan remembered. "It was funny: Dwayne Wallace was the first guy to ask for a picture, and he goes, 'Naw, I'm straight,' and no one asked after Dwayne asked, because we figured he wasn't taking pictures with anyone, but that's fine. He was a cool guy, just didn't want to be in the spotlight or anything."
Now, Curhan has his Marshawn Lynch experience out of the way, after coming to almost every home game this season (though he was unable to make the Arizona State game due to spending Thanksgiving on the East Coast with family). Being such a regular visitor, Curhan was already familiar with the campus and the facilities. This past weekend, though, allowed Curhan to do something he had yet to do -- really get to know his future teammates.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1621099-marloshawn-frankli... "I'd seen the facilities, I'd gone up top (to the University Club) and I'd done all that a million times, but the part that really was enjoyable for me was the time hanging out with the players," Curhan said. "The best times were when we were hanging out with the players. It was nice getting to know the guys. The first night, we went into the city, and my player host, on the first night, that Friday night, was Vinnie Johnson. He's a really cool guy. I liked him a lot. We went into San Francisco, did a couple of things, drove back and hung out and went out. Vinnie's a third-year guy, so I got to know some of the guys that are a little bit older.
"On Saturday night, they switched my host to Ryan Gibson, which was a lot of fun, because I got to hang out with a lot of freshman guys in the dorm, where they're all living right now, which is a lot of fun, because I'm going to be moving in, in the next few weeks. I liked getting to meet a lot of the guys that are freshmen right now, guys that I'm going to be spending a lot of time with and hanging out with all of them. They're all really cool, fun people. That definitely was the biggest part of the official that made me more excited."
"They were all right near each other, and we all hung out this weekend, and all of them were really cool, fun people," Curhan said. "It made me very excited to come and be a part of it, hang out with those guys and be on a team with them."
Spending time with his future teammates, partaking of the night life and really delving into what life is going to be like for him in a few short weeks finally gave Curhan the full picture of his very near future.
"For me, I know I'm going to go in and get my ass whooped by conditioning -- it happens to everybody -- and that's something I knew was going to happen; I know classes are going to be more difficult than it is in high school, but the one thing I really didn't know was the social side of things," Curhan said. "That definitely reassured me. I clicked with a lot of those freshman guys, got along with them really well, so it was definitely reassuring, being able to hang out with players and clicking with them."
The weekend ended with an offer to a fellow visitor -- Marloshawn Franklin -- who would commit on Wednesday night.
"I didn't know for sure; there were four JuCo guys, and I knew some of them would get offers, but Marloshawn and some of the other guys were very excited," Curhan said. "I know he had a good time, and I saw him enjoying it. The one thing that opens a lot of the guys' eyes was that we ran into Marshawn. There were a lot of things throughout the visit where you could tell that people were enjoying it, and it was an eye-opener for some of the kids. I did not figure that he was going to commit right after it."