On Junior College Signing Day, California head coach Sonny Dykes announced the addition of four more signees to the 2016 recruiting class.
Joining prep early-signees Max Gilliam (QB, Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Derrick Clark (RB, San Diego, Calif.), Jordan Duncan (WR, Hattiesburg, Miss.), and Jake Curhan (OT, Larkspur, Calif.) are Russell Becker (DE - Maple Grove, Minn./Minnesota State Community and Technical College), Marloshawn Franklin (CB - Detroit, Mich./Mesa Community College), Jordan Veasy (WR - Fadsden Ala./Golden West College) and Dwayne Wallace (OL - RIverside, Calif./Riverside City College).
Veasy is ranked as the No. 56 junior college player in the 2016 class, and the No. 9 JuCo wide receiver. Wallace -- a JuCo All-American as a freshman at Riverside -- is the No. 92-ranked overall junior college player, and the No. 9 offensive guard out of the JuCo ranks.
“The student-athletes we have signed today will help us to continue developing more depth in our program,” Dykes said in a statement. “The good thing is that they don’t necessarily have to be immediate fixes, but they have the ability to do that and getting them here for spring football gives them a huge opportunity to get on the field and contribute from day one.
“The biggest decisions that we have in recruiting are making sure that the student-athletes we bring into Cal are great fits on the field, academically and within the culture of our program,” Dykes added. “The student-athletes that we have signed today have have been productive on the field and also fit our academic profile and culture.”
Rusty Becker, DE, 6-4, 255, Jr., JC
Maple Grove, MN (Minnesota State Community and Technical College/Maple Grove HS)
Becker -- who was a surprise to the Cal staff at the one-day post-grad camp this summer, earning an offer on the spot -- racked up 53 tackles this season, with 10.0 sacks and one forced fumble over seven games, highlighted by his performance in a win over Minnesota West Community and Technical College when he registered 14 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks to earn Minnesota College Athletic Conference Western Division Defensive Player of the Week honors.
As a 2014 freshman Becker contributed 24 tackles and 5.5 sacks in eight games.
“We think Rusty will develop into a really good player,” Dykes said. “He is an excellent athlete with length and size who has really impressed us with the way he can run.”
Becker is listed as a defensive end, but his broad frame profiles more at defensive tackle, as far as the Bears are concerned, a source said.
Marloshawn Franklin, CB, 6-0, 180, Jr., JC
Detroit, MI (Mesa Community College/Chandler HS)
Franklin may be perhaps the most ready-to-go player out of this JuCo class, and even though Cal has Jaylinn Hawkins coming off a shoulder injury next year, and Malik Psalms returning as a sophomore with a lot of experience this year at corner, the Bears are going to need someone who can come in and replace the graduating Darius White. Coming in early, Franklin has this spring to get acclimated, and should definitely challenge for the starting corner gig opposite of Darius Allensworth.
Franklin was named first-team All-Western States Football League and second-team All-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference honors as a sophomore in 2015, tallying 41 tackles and 12 pass breakups (tied for seventh in the nation) to go along with 1.0 tackle for loss and one forced fumble. Franklin had at least one pass breakup in eight of his Mesa CC team's 10 contests and allowed only four catches on balls thrown to receivers he was covering.
As a 2014 freshman Franklin contributed 20 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, one fumble recovery and one interception. A Detroit native, Franklin and his mother moved out to Arizona before his eighth grade year.
As a senior at Chandler (Ariz.) in 2013, Franklin chalked up 55 tackles, two interceptions that he returned 61 yards, six passes defended and two forced fumbles for a squad that finished 10-3 overall and reached the semifinals of the Division I state playoffs after posting a 5-0 record in conference play to win the Section I title.
“We expect Marloshawn to be able to come in and compete for a starting job from day one,” Dykes said. “He is a big corner who is a really good athlete and a competitive player. We really like a lot of the things he does in terms of both tackling and pass coverage.”
Jordan Veasy, WR, 6-3, 218, Jr., JC
Gadsden, AL (Golden West College/Gadsden City HS)
Cal is losing a lot of talent at wide receiver next year. Just like Franklin could provide a quick fix at corner to replace White, Veasy is primed to step in right away and replace the similarly-sized Darius Powe (6-3, 220), who caught 43 balls for 490 yards and six touchdowns this season.
Add about 15-20 pounds, and he can easily be a tight end the size of a Stephen Anderson (also graduating, along with Powe), or keep him where he's at, and he can be a big red zone threat on the outside. There are a lot of things Cal can do with a body like Veasy's.
“Jordan is a receiver with excellent size and strength who is versatile enough to play either inside or outside,” Dykes said. “He was a very productive receiver this season but he is also definitely one of those guys who has his best football in front of him. He was overlooked early but got really hot late in the recruiting process and we were able to hang on to him when he had an opportunity to go lots of different places.”
Veasy earned first-team all-conference honors as an all-purpose player in the National Division of the Southern League in the Southern California Football Association as a 2015 sophomore after compiling 1,552 all-purpose yards (141.1 ypg) for a squad that finished 8-3 overall and earned a spot in the Patriotic Bowl. Veasy had 63 receptions for 1,036 yards and 11 touchdown catches, ranking among the state’s top junior college players in receiving yards (#13), touchdown catches (#15), receptions (#16) and receiving yards per game (#16, 94.2 ypg). He added 473 yards on 20 kick returns, 32 yards on two punt returns and 11 yards on a single rush.
Dwayne Wallace, OL, 6-5, 340, Jr., JC
Riverside, CA (Riverside City College/King HS)
Cal is losing a huge piece on the interior of the offensive line, in guard Jordan Rigsbee. While I think that the right guard job is ultimately going to go to either Semisi Uluave or Patrick Mekari, Wallace provides a very good, very versatile option, who can play center, tackle and guard. He's got a low center of gravity that you like in a center (former JuCo center commit A.J. McCollum flipped to Arizona State), but at 6-5, 330, he's got some size to potentially play right tackle. I still think he's best suited to the interior, and he's got a really nasty disposition inside that the Bears are going to miss without Rigsbee.
“We want to create more competition for playing time on the offensive line and we think Dwayne will come in right away and push for playing time,” Dykes said. “He is a big, physical and versatile offensive lineman with a bright future who can play both guard and tackle and is going to help us get bigger up front.”
Wallace is a former Louisville commit, who helped Riverside City College to a combined 18-5 record during his two seasons, and as a sophomore, helped plow the way for a team that reached the first round of the CCCAA Southern California Playoffs, and an offense that ranked in the top 20 in the state in 19 offensive categories including rushing offense (#12, 204.2 ypg), total offense (#14, 443.5 ypg) and scoring offense (#16, 34.3 ppg).
Wallace earned All-American and All-State honors as a freshman in 2014 when he helped the rushing offense rank 18th in the state with an average of 184.9 yards per game for a squad that finished 10-2 overall, including a 6-0 mark in National Division of the Southern League in Southern California Football Association play to win a conference title, and reached the Southern California Regional final before falling as the No. 1 seed with a loss that snapped a 31-game home win streak dating back to 2010.
Read more about what makes Wallace tick in the pieces below, and why he's a perfect fit for the Cal offense.
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