With junior films cut together and sent out, the California coaching staff got to work in a big way on Monday, sending out 12 offers to 2017 and 2018 prospects.
2017 corner D.J. Brown out of Fairburn (Ga.) Creekside pulled down an offer from the Bears, following an All-Region junior season, with 53 tackles, five interceptions (including a pick six), nine pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble returned for a touchdown.
Cal kept going in the south, offering four-star, 6-foot, 192-pound 2017 safety C.J. Avery out of Grenada (Miss.), who has offers from Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. He's a safety now, but could easily grow into an outside linebacker. This past season, he tallied 76 tackles, five picks and one fumble recovery for a touchdown. He shows a lust for hitting, has a long, rangey frame and is solid in run support.
Back in the Golden State, the Bears sent an offer out to 2018 safety Jaiden Woodbey out of Upland (Calif.). Already at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Woodbey also has an offer from UCLA. He's long, lean, has very solid tackling fundamentals and with a 4.61 40-yard time, he's got some speed to build on. In the return game, he shows a good nose for finding seams, and the long-strider moves well in space and breaks well on the ball.
Woodbey a play maker on both sides of the ball, which is intriguing, and at first blush, his highlights reminded me a lot of a young Keenan Allen at times. He's a physical receiver with good lateral quickness, and he shows a lot of toughness with the ball in his hands. He shows exceptional balance and despite his long legs, also shows deceptively good acceleration. There aren't many things that don't show up on his film, including playing with his hand in the dirt as an end on special teams, with several punt blocks. Playing up at the line, he's not afraid to stick his nose into run support, looking every bit like a linebacker.
Cal also offered 2018 Los Angeles (Calif.) Augustus Hawkins corner Marcus Johnson and his teammate Aashari Crosswell, a 2018 safety who has offers from Boise State, Boston College, Washington, Colorado, Arizona State, Tennessee and Washington State.
Johnson is on the small side at 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, but he's a versatile athlete, and this season, he tallied 936 rushing yards on 75 carries with five touchdowns, three catches for 28 yards, 54 tackles, a team-high 11.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, one quarterback hurry, one pick for 30 return yards, five fumble recoveries, three passes defended, two forced fumbles and 117 fumble return yards.
Crosswell still has some growing to do, but this past season, he was all over the field for the Hawks, rushing 13 times for 185 yards and racking up 50 tackles, 1.0 tackle for loss, four picks for 114 return yards, five passes defended, four fumble recoveries and 65 fumble return yards (with two fumbles returned for touchdowns) and one pick six. He also booted 14 punts for 563 yards (with three inside the 20), returned three kickoffs for 23 yards, and one punt for nine yards.
On Saturday, the Bears offered another Los Angeles prospect in three-star 2017 wide receiver Jamire Calvin, who has offers from Boston College, Fresno State, Oregon State, San Jose State, utah, Utah State, Washington and Washington State. He's already visited Notre Dame. Our Greg Biggins calls him "more quick than fast, but runs well enough to separate, has very good hands and is already a polished route runner. He projects as a slot receiver that you can move around and should be able to help out on punt returns as well. As he improves his top end speed, he’ll take his game to another level."
The Bears were also very busy in Buena Park, Calif., offering three members of a loaded junior class in quick, sure-handed slot receiver Jeremiah Hawkins (a relative of current Cal corner Jaylinn Hawkins), tight end Taariq Johnson and defensive back Elijah Gates, a lock-down corner who's smooth, physical and tough.
Hawkins camped with Nebraska this summer, and impressed the Cornhuskers with his speed and quickness off the ball. He's explosive and a very tough cover, catches everything thrown at him and has a knack for getting open. Maybe it's a family thing.
This past season, Hawkins rushed 21 times for 267 yards, caught 45 balls for 775 yards and five touchdowns (17.2 yards per catch) and finished the season with 1,138 all-purpose yards.
Johnson, a four-star prospect who's already 6-foot-3.5, 210 pounds, could stand to put on a little bit of weight, but he'd fit very well as an inside receiver, a la pre-tight end Stephen Anderson. This past season, Johnson caught 34 balls for 477 yards and six touchdowns. he also added 10 tackles on defense, and two forced fumbles.
Back east, the Bears extended an offer to three prospects.
Four-star 2017 Wilmington (Del.) linebacker Avery Roberts checks in at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, and has offers from Clemson, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Miami, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Viginia, Wake Forest, UCONN, Illinois, Oklahoma and others.
Four-star Indian Head (Md.) Lackey outside linebacker Nathan Proctor also hauled in an offer, adding to his 14 already, and he's one of the best defenders on the East Coast. Our Brian Dohn said, "Proctor can play outside linebacker in a 3-4 or defensive end in a 4-3. He has very good explosion and gets around the edge quickly by dipping his shoulder and using leverage. He changes direction well and can chase a play down from behind. He uses most speed at this point, but he needs to develop technique to beat the offensive tackle beyond speed. He has the athleticism to drop into coverage, but is not asked to do it much."
Also pulling down an offer from the Bears was four-star New Jersey defensive tackle Fred Hansard out of The Hun School in Princeton. Hansard is one of our 2017 Scout 300 (checking in at No. 123), and with even more defensive tackle depth leaving after next season, Cal is going to need to keep the cupboard stocked. Cal's far from alone in pursuing Hansard, who has offers from Alabama, Florida, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Arizona State, UCLA, Virginia Tech and Iowa, among others. He's already visited the Buckeyes and Gators, as well as the Wolverines.
Hansard gets off the ball very quickly, has a great burst, and he's also got a lot of strength and plays with some vicious physicality. As our Brian Dohn said, "He's hard for kids to block."
"He changes direction well, he pursues the play well, he's just full of energy," Dohn said. "He's a go-go-go kind of kid."
Hansard profiles as a three-technique and brings a lot of speed inside to defeat the heartier, stouter linemen perhaps not used to defending a speed rusher.
2017 Sherwood (Ore.) outside linebacker David Morris also scored a Cal offer, after receiving an offer from Oregon State. At 6-foot-3, 205, he's got an ideal frame, and as well as the Bears have done in the Northwest lately -- with Ross Bowers, Evan Weaver and Cameron Saffle, it's no surprise they'd go back to that well, as Garret Chachere did in recent weeks. Morris has speed to go along with his size, with a 4.61 40 and a 4.3 shuttle. He still needs to gain a bit of strength, squatting 445 and benching 250, but he's got a lot of tools to build on. He fights off blocks well, shows good vision in the backfield, and he's a potentially very explosive athlete, who also ran the ball for Sherwood this season. His tackling form is a bit inconsistent, and he tends to go low, but he's effective in coverage and shows good acceleration.