As part of a three-school swing this weekend, 2019 quarterback Ryan Hilinski or Orange (Calif.) Lutheran returned for the second time to California. Hilinski had visited Berkeley last summer, when he threw for the former staff, but now, he's got an in. Quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo has known Hilinski for nigh on a decade, ever since he was recruiting the oldest of the three Hilinski brothers -- Kelly. It was fitting, then, that 'Tui' was the first coach Ryan Hilinski saw when he arrived at the facility.
"This was a planned trip. I went with Premium Sports, my 7on7 team, so I went with a couple other guys that I knew. We knew coach Tui from when he recruited my brothers Tyler and Kelley when they were in high school," Hilinski said. "We knew him well, and we thought, 'Well, it'd be a good idea to come see him, as well as coach WIlcox, and see what's up, what's going on at Cal. We went up there, and it was an unbelievable trip, and really good to hear what coach Tui had to say to me when we had a private meeting together."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1675851-ryan-hilinski-camp... During that meeting, Tuiasosopo expressed, in no uncertain terms, that this staff was more interested than the previous bunch had been.
"Absolutely," Hilinski said. "Before, when I visited, I would talk to coaches outside of meeting rooms, and it'd be, 'Oh, it's great to see you,' and they'd ask about how my brother was doing. Then, coach Tui, he's a no-BS kind of guy. He sat me down in the quarterback meeting room, looked me in the eye and told me exactly what was going on, how interested they were, what they were planning to do with me and my future in my recruitment with their program. It feels like it's a little more real. Last year, just being a freshman, it was like, 'Oh, yeah, we've got you on our radar,' and stuff, but being a sophomore, being at thee be of a solid sophomore season, it seems a little bit more real, and it's getting there."
Cal is interested enough that they want to see Hilinski throw, in multiple different venues.
"He talked to me about how interested Cal was, and how coach Wilcox wanted to come down to school and see me throw. If not him, personally, coach Tui would come down and see me in person, throwing at school," Hilinski said. "They also told me that they want me up for camp, and if they saw me throw in person, that it'd be a really good idea if I was considering Cal."
Cal wants to put Hilinski in its offense, with receivers running routes from the Bears' playbook, with the new staff watching, in person.
"They want to see how I can thrive under that pressure, when they're looking at me," Hilinski said. "I did talk to coach [Beau] Baldwin, too. When I first got there, I talked to coach Tui, because we recognized each other right away, because I'd known him almost since I was seven or eight. He introduced me to coach Baldwin, but I knew coach Baldwin because last year, Washington State played Eastern Washington the first game of the season, and when I was up there, I saw the Eastern Washington staff at a hotel, and I was like, 'Oh, there they are,' and we (Washington State, for whom Tyler Hilinski plays) got destroyed by Eastern Washington. But, [at Cal], I talked to coach Baldwin a lot about their new offense. He said they're leaning more towards the pro style, which is more of my offense, last year. It was pretty exciting to hear what he had to say."
Of course, the new Cal offense will be a mix of pro and spread philosophies, and Hilinski will be operating in a spread attack this coming season, with a new offensive coordinator.
"Coach Tui said that this will be right up my alley," Hilinski said. "Last year, we went pro with coach Hatch, and this year, with Mike Crawford, we're going to be running more of a spread type offense."
This past season, Hilinski threw for over 1,700 yards, 16 touchdowns (with five more on the ground), and was named second-team All-Trinity League, despite the fact that his offense wasn't exactly a passing-based attack (he went 124-for-229).
"We didn't throw a whole lot. We had a really good running back, and I thing coach Hatch really wanted to depend on him more than on me, a sophomore quarterback," Hilinski said. "We didn't throw a whole lot, as much as I wanted to, but the upcoming season, I'll be throwing in the spread offense more, for sure."
Before that, Hilinski said he will "absolutely" be back in Berkeley for a camp, if not "a couple camps."
"And, maybe, if I can, I'd like to go on an unofficial, where it's just me, so I can go in-depth and get a feel for Cal, and we don't have to rush everything," he said. Hilinski also said he'd want to bring his parents on that unofficial trip. "I definitely loved it, and I'll definitely bring my mom and dad up on my next unofficial."
Academically, Hilinski got a 4.0 GPA this past semester, and finished last year with a 3.83 GPA.