Losing linebacker Michael Barton to a graduate transfer, Jake Kearney to an injury retirement and Hardy Nickerson to Illinois, California has found itself in need of linebackers, and on Friday, the Bears snagged their first of the 2017 class in Rome (Ga.) outside linebacker Jaylen Griffin.
The three-star prospect had 19 reported offers, including one from the Illini, and had interest from Clemson.
Matt Debary of Dawg Post said of Griffin: "On film nothing stands out as overly impressive, but he does show good instincts and runs well. He does a nice job of dissecting plays before they happen, but could work on his tackling technique, as he tends to tackle high at times. He had a good spring, as was impressive in drills during the MVP Camp at Lovejoy last March."
Griffin has put on 15 pounds over the last year, and he now stands at 6-foot-2, 219 pounds, a long, rangy athlete who can cover sideline to sideline with a high football IQ.
In 2015, he had 89 tackles, 7.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, a forced fumble, two blocks and a safety, and was named to the All-Region and All-Area teams.
Griffin becomes the sixth member of Cal's 2017 class, including cornerback Je'Quari Godfrey, defensive tackle Gabe Cherry, receivers Taariq Johnson and Jeremiah Hawkins, and athlete Michael Onyemaobi, who will play cornerback for the Bears.
Before Griffin committed, Cal had the No. 39 class in the country, and still have not wrangled a quarterback. The Bears are still in the mix for five-star former Texas A&M commit Tate Martell (the No. 12 QB), three-star signal-caller Jack Sears (the No. 31 quarterback in the class), the No. 34 quarterback in the class Chase Garbers.