California heads into the home stretch towards National Signing Day with a pair of official visits in Chinedu Udeogu and Victor Viramontes, but the Bears also brought in two midweek visitors, as well, in Boss Tagaloa and Isaiah Bean. We take a look at each of this week's campus visitors, plus highlights from all four.
Don't forget to read up on what our national expert Greg Biggins thinks of this class so far, and learn about all of the happenings from the big visit weekend on Jan. 22, including the re-commitment of Cameron Goode
Tagaloa looks like a battle between USC and UCLA, the latter of which ranks tops in the Pac-12 in recruiting rankings. The Bruins are up to No. 12 overall in the national rankings, and they're right in the mix for Tagaloa and teammate Devin Asiasi. Right now, it looks like UCLA leads for Tagaloa, but Michigan made a big impression on his visit last weekend, but he'll also be visiting the Trojans this weekend. Tagaloa is a first-team All-State defensive tackle, and said that he enjoyed his Cal visit, particularly defensive line coach Fred Tate. Could the Bears be able to make a late push? We'll find out on Signing Day.
Isaiah Bean got an in-home visit last week from linebackers coach Garret Chachere, who also visited Kaelin Himphill at the start of this week, and got an offer on Monday as the Bears look to add a linebacker or two to the signing class, to offset losses of grad transfer Michael Barton, and seniors Jalen Jefferson and Nathan Broussard. He's now on his official visit to Kansas, but enjoyed his trip to Berkeley. Illinois is also a contender for his services. He's a pass-rush specialist, though the Illini are looking at him as a tight end.
He's a bit undersized, but has very good length. The best comparison, from watching his tape, is Chris McCain. He's still a bit unpolished as a linebacker, and has played mostly at defensive end. That said, a lot of the looks he's gotten have not been against tackles, and he generally comes free off the edge, and has to take on smaller blockers like fullbacks and tight ends, which is what he'd be doing as an outside linebacker in Cal's system.
Second-team All-Maryland (USA TODAY) defensive end Chinedu Udeogu is a commit that Cal certainly needs to firm up, given that the defensive line already lost ends Puka Lopa, Jonathan Johnson, Kyle Kragen and Todd Barr to graduation, and will have DeVante Wilson leaving after next season. You can expect youngsters Cameron Saffle, Kennedy Emesibe and Noah Westerfield to step up next season, but beyond them, Zeandae Johnson, Russell Ude and Trevor Howard all redshirted last season. Bringing in a talent like Udeogu -- despite the fact that he's still very raw -- will help ease the transition down the road for a defense which already saw vast improvement last season.
Complicating matters with Udeogu is the potential for him to play alongside his brother at Iowa State, and he's already visited the Cyclones. He was snowed in last week and couldn't make it out to visit Berkeley, but getting him this week means he won't be visiting Wake Forest.
Viramontes is an intriguing prospect. He was offered by former Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin as a quarterback when he de-committed from Michigan, but he's listed as an athlete, and he had 3.5 tackles for loss on defense this year. At a well-built 6-foot, 215 pounds, Viramontes is a dynamic athlete on offense, completing 144 of 246 passes for 2,085 yards and 21 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, along with 148 carries for 1,112 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground, with five 100+ yard games. The Bears are in a battle for Viramontes with Arizona (who he visited midweek) and Utah, which scored a commit from recent Cal visitor Terrell Burgess on Thursday.
The lack of an offensive coordinator could be a deciding factor, but head coach Sonny Dykes has told the offensive recruits that the offense will not change. Could Cal bring him in as a linebacker? The question there is whether or not he'd balk at that, but it looks like he'll still get the chance on offense.