Back in April, Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison center Michael Saffell paid a trip to Berkeley, after a visit to Arizona State, and ahead of a visit to Washington. With a 4.2 GPA and an offer under his belt from Columbia, the visit -- though brief -- was an eye-opener to Saffell. He could play high-level college football, and get an education.
Saffell (pronounced suh-FELL) has his sights set high: He wants to go to medical school, not unlike another red-headed center of recent vintage, Chris Adcock.
"That's the dream, right there, for me," Saffell said. "All of those things are possible at a school like Cal. It's big-time football and big-time academics. I couldn't be more excited about it. I think the academics are definitely a really big pull. Afterwards, I want to go to medical school, and Berkeley sets m up perfectly to play big-time football and get that big-time degree, if things don't work out. If it all comes together, it's something I'm really excited about."
http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1654983-top-2017-... When the 6-foot-2.5 ,290-pound Saffell visited Berkeley during spring ball, he shared the field with defensive line commit Gabe Cherry, defensive back commit Je'Quari Godfrey and soon-to-be-commit Taariq Johnson.
"I didn't get a chance to talk to them, because I was over by the offensive linemen, doing their thing," Saffell said, before adding that he intends to come up again and get a fuller, more in-depth visit on the books in August. "I didn't get to see too much. We drove up, watched practice and left. We didn't really stay around too long, but me and my parents are coming back out there again to really get an in-depth look at it."
The Sunset League Offensive Lineman of the year is a bit under-offered, but that can change in a hurry.
"Very good player, pure center," said West Coast Regional Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins. "Very sound technique wise, extremely tough, gritty player, smart and will play through the whistle. I'm not sure why he doesn't have more PAC-12 offers; he can play."
"This one means that all my hard work and determination have come to fruition," Saffell said of the offer from the Bears. "I've been trying to break into the Power Five here for a while, and it's been a full team effort with my mom, my dad, trying to get as much publicity, and break into the Power Five and work hard at the NIKE camps. It all comes to fruition in that offer, and I'm really excited about it."
For several years, Saffell has trained with former San Francisco 49ers center Jesse Sapolu at his camp, Men in the Trenches, which helped him become the technician he is up front. This spring, he earned OL MVP at the Los Angeles Regional for The Opening.
"I think that's made all the difference with the technique, the set, the punch, that's made all the difference," said Saffell. "He also talks about the mental side of it. When you go out there, at an event like that, there's no pads, so you can't really overpower anybody. The technique really comes out, and I think that's probably what I have to my advantage, working for so many years with him, over the set. I think the technique was probably my best asset."
Saffell and Cal offensive line coach Brandon Jones have been talking "for a while," Saffell said, and a week ago, he had an inkling something would happen.
"I didn't know for sure, but he had me call him this morning, and when I did, he told me he wanted to offer me," Saffell said. "I couldn't be more excited about it. It's a big one that I've been waiting for. It's awesome."