Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison center Michael Saffell is no stranger to big recruiting weekends in Berkeley. Before he committed on Wednesday after a weekend trip, he'd already been a part of a sizeable gathering back during the spring.
The first time Saffell visited, back in April, he was among at least four of what would wind up being his future teammates in Taariq Johnson, Gabe Cherry, Tyriq Hardimon and Je'Quari Godfrey. This time around, Cherry was also in attendance, as was a young man Saffell may wind up blocking for some day, in 2018 quarterback offeree Adrian Martinez, and another commit coming out of the weekend, Jordan Genmark-Heath.
"Great school, great program, just a great fit for me," Saffell said. "To be part of a great football program and a stellar academic institution is a dream come true. I'm very excited."
Last time around, learning that another redhead who played center for the Bears -- Chris Adcock -- is currently in medical school, which is Saffell's ultimate ambition -- made a big difference. That, Saffell said, was his dream.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1689582-nike-ol-mvp-saffel... This time around, Saffell brought his mother, and both of them told BearTerritory that they were "blown away" by the school, the atmosphere and the coaches. While at the time, Saffell wasn't quite ready to go public, it was clear that he and his 4.2 GPA intended on committing, which he did before school on Wednesday morning.
"Saffell is one of the top centers out West but can play anywhere in the interior," said West Coast Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins. "Strong, physical kid, a technician and very tough."
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. Bears center Dominic Granado -- who started for Cal last season, and has been rotated in this go-around -- is an Edison alumnus, and his father -- who has hung up his Pac-12 official's cap until his son is done playing -- is currently coaching at Edison, "so it's a pretty cool connection," Saffell said.
One of the top center prospects out West at 6-foot-2.5, 290 pounds, Saffell earned offensive line MVP honors at the Opening Regional Camp in Los Angeles in February, after earning the Sunset League Offensive Lineman of the Year award, earning him scholarship offers from Colorado State, Columbia, UNLV and Yale, and interest from Arizona State, BYU, the Bears, Texas A&M, Washington and Washington Sate. He visited the Sun Devils and the Huskies during a Pac-12 swing that included Cal.
"Very good player, pure center," said 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."