For as long as he can remember, 6-foot-6, 280-pound 2018 offensive tackle Max Barth has been watching Cal football. He's never been to California Memorial Stadium, but growing up, his favorite Bear was Marshawn Lynch. The fact that Cal was his first offer, then, was fitting.
"This offer means a lot to me because I have watched Cal play my whole life. I'm very impressed with the schools football as well as academics," he said. "My family and friends have always been fans just because they were always a great relatively local team."
This season, the now-retired Lynch has been a fixture around the program, culminating in his own bobblehead day. In the past, he's bumped into recruits during visits. What would Barth do, should he run into the Cal great?
"I'd be blown away," Barth said.
"Totally, because of the caliber of the program of my first offer," he said. "[I'm] looking forward to getting to know [Jones] and the rest of the program better."
Barth's first recruiting interest actually came from his parents' alma mater -- UC Davis -- but it was the Bears who pulled the trigger. Barth certainly fits Cal's academic profile, with a 4.14 GPA, taking Honors Chemistry and Advanced Placement courses in US History and English. But, he said, he's interested in majoring in engineering.
"I know my way around a calculator," he said. "Always been into math."
Barth doesn't know much about Cal's offense, but he comes from a program that is very run-heavy, playing single-back with "lots of QB read option." This season, the Rams rushed for 3,045 yards.
"With a running back like Dusty Frampton it's hard not to," Barth said of the 2017 back who averaged 9.6 yards per carry, and ran for 1,817 yards this past season.
Barth, himself, said that, "as a tackle I believe I can reach an end well, get to a linebacker, and pass protect well," which would certainly help in Cal's Air Raid-based offense with running elements of what offensive coordinator Jake Spavital's father called "Dana Ball," for Spavital's mentor, Dana Holgerson.
Barth plays both ways at right tackle and defensive tackle, occasionally tight end, outside of left tackle and four-star defensive tackle Popo Aumavae, who calls Barth his protege.
"He always referred to me as his protege," Barth said. "Everything I know about recruiting was learned from watching his extensive recruiting history ... Popo has been like another offensive line coach to me. He's taught me everything from down field blocking to perfect pass protecting."
Barth started on both sides of the ball last season on junior varsity, but when he moved up to varsity, he played strictly offense, where he stayed this year. Barth, though, does intend to play both ways next season. Also on the docket? A visit to Berkeley.
"I have yet to plan anything but I would definitely love to visit soon," he said.