California had planned to have its junior day this past weekend, but with the coaching staff change, it had to be rescheduled, as the new staff closed its final group of recruits. One 2018 star who was already slated to come up, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei tackle Tommy Brown, made the trip with his mother, but before heading to Berkeley, he had one stop he wanted to make.
"We flew in early Saturday, my mom and I, and we drove straight to Muir Woods," Brown said. "I'm a big Star Wars fan, so I had to go live on planet Endor for a little bit."
Brown still counts "The Empire Strikes Back" as his favorite of the saga, but "Rogue One" was, he said, "amazing," and is now a close second. "That's kind of in a different category, because it's new, but I still have to go with 'Empire Strikes Back,' because it's the greatest one."
He certainly has good taste. After taking a sojourn on the forest moon (or at least where the speeder bike chase was filmed), Brown made his way across the Bay to meet up with the new coaches in the early afternoon.
"We went to the facilities, and were with the coaches, and I got to sit and talk with coach [Steve] Greatwood for a little bit, and then I met coach Wilcox, and I pretty much jumped in with the official guys, and went on a campus tour," Brown said.
Brown hadn't gotten to talk in-depth with Greatwood earlier in his recruitment, but spent about 20 minutes with the Bears' new offensive line coach.
"I did meet him once before in the Mater Dei weight room, when he was with Oregon, but we didn't really keep in contact," Brown said. "We knew each other when we met up at Cal, and we really got to sit down and talk and get to know each other more. It was pretty impressive how he was at Oregon for 31 years, and how great he's been a coach for so long. My mom's first question was if I still had my offer, and he said yes, so we got that out of the way. We really just got to know each other. He got to really understand who I was, more, and it was pretty cool."
Greatwood also gave Brown some insight into just how the Bears are going to play offense, going forward, under Beau Baldwin.
"He said that they're definitely going to be different from the old coaches," Brown said. "He said it'll be more of a run emphasis than it was, compared to how many times they passed at Cal. Since I'm so big, and I love run blocking, he said it's going to be pretty perfect, with the way I work. I can still pass pro, and there'll still be pass pro, but he said they're going to incorporate more run."
As he walked out of Greatwood's office (Greatwood had to go look at a new house with his wife), Brown met up with new head coach Justin Wilcox, who coached his former teammate Olive Sagapolu while the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin.
"Coach Wilcox and I talked briefly in the hallway, and just said hello, and talked about Wisconsin," Brown said. "One of my former teammates, Olive, he's the starting nose there. Coach Wilcox knows him, and coach Wilcox was like, 'Can you eat more than Olive?' I'm like, 'No, I can't. Olive is a monster, and nobody can eat more than Olive.' We got to talk about that, and he was with us on the campus tour. The coaches were really getting to know the campus like we were. That was cool, getting to walk around with them, and find out more about the campus."
At about four, the Browns met up with another Brown -- cousin Gerran, who is transferring from Washington, and, Tommy Brown said, will be on the team as a walk-on outside linebacker.
"He's on the team now, and we went across the Bay to San Francisco, had a good dinner, and came back. I hung out with Gerran for most of the night, and I got to see Addy (Addison Ooms), [Justin] Norbeck, [Matthew] Rockett, pretty much all of them, really; Malik [McMorris], when Malik got back from his track meet, just had a good time hanging out with him."
Sunday, after a sojourn to the Claremont for some light appetizers, Brown and his mother headed to Haas Pavilion for the Cal basketball win over Stanford, and got to meet up once again with Greatwood, and his wife, before leaving at halftime.
"I'm very happy that I got to go on the trip," Brown said. "It definitely boosted Cal up on my list. Of my offers, it's probably one of my best options, right now, and the trip helped a lot. I liked it a lot up there. It definitely was a good trip."
One could say that Cal now has a new hope of landing the Chewbacca-sized tackle, who finished last semester with a 3.7 cumulative GPA.