Cal commit J.H. Tevis has been around the world, but he's ready to settle down in Berkeley

J.H. Tevis has gone from one side of the ball to the other, and from one side of the globe to the other to finally land at Cal

How serious is new California commit J.H. Tevis about his pledge to the Bears? He's already deleted his Twitter account, less than 24 hours after telling head coach Justin Wilcox, in person, that he wanted to be a Golden Bear.

He knew a week ago that he wanted to make the call, and even told Wilcox, over the phone on Friday morning, that he wanted to, but wanted to do it in person. That same morning, Tevis's coach at Atherton (Calif.) Menlo School, Mark Newton, told him that San Jose State and several others had reached out to him, but Tevis told his coach not to bother; he was going to be a Bear. "From now on, it's all Cal. I'm going to delete my twitter," Tevis said on Friday afternoon. "I'm going to fully focus myself on the rest of high school, and on football, because a year from now, I'm going to be on that roster."

The day Tevis arrives on campus will be the latest milestone in a wending trail that's taken him from one side of the ball to the other, and from one side of the world to the other, and back again.

As a freshman, Tevis was a quarterback. His father, Mike, and uncle, John, were both offensive linemen at Stanford. Then, he and his entire immediate family spent a year in France. His older brother, Mitchell, was already rowing at Dartmouth, but the other members of the family -- Tevis, his parents, one little brother and one little sister -- hit the road.

Tevis has expressed interest in studying international business to BearTerritory, and it was his experiences overseas that sparked it.

"I'm very interested in international cultures things like that, and I speak French and Spanish," he said. "I lived in France for one year in high school, and one year in middle school. 

While there, Tevis didn't play sports, not wanting to burn a year of eligibility. As he puts it, he was just a regular French kid. He used that time to learn both French and Spanish, and immerse himself in the culture. He also hit the weights.

"I went there a sophomore, and came back a sophomore, so I re-did my sophomore year," he said. "My parents were very interested in France, and they had the opportunity to go there, so we all made the move there, for a year. [Not playing football] was tough, for sure, but I couldn't play any sports because of CCS (Central Coast Section) rules. So, I just lifted. I think the real journey started [...] I don't think I would be where I am today without that experience. I think it was a big part of my growth, and my maturity. Living in a different place, living in a different environment, it gives you a whole different perspective, and I'm so lucky that I have that experience. I got to spend a lot of time with my family, I got to learn a new language, and I got to be physically developed."

By the time he returned to the United States, he was 6-foot-2, 175 pounds -- a veritable giant in the world of South Bay high school football. But, he was rusty. He was also a third-year sophomore. So, essentially, he took a redshirt year.

"I was going to play quarterback, but I was a big kid, and they wanted me on Varsity, so coach Newton said, 'While we can't play you at quarterback, because we have the guys, we're going to try you at D-end,' because I was hitting guys," Tevis said. "The rest is history. I don't think it was the size that made him do it. It was more the way I played, and my instincts. I see a guy with the ball, and I do my best to go get him."

This past season, Tevis racked up 125 tackles, 22.5 sacks and 50 tackles for loss. History, indeed.

When the Bears offered a month ago, it was Tevis's first, and, it turns out, his only scholarship offer. With his world-spanning life experience, a 3.7 GPA and a family that valued education, as time went by, Tevis thought more and more about how perfect a fit Berkeley really was, even if it wasn't in his blood.

"I just had visits, basically, I had visited up there a couple of times, and I've met all the coaching staff, and I've put in a lot of thought about it, just about my future, and I've just been focusing on what I want, and I just, after meeting the coaches and seeing the school, I just can't imagine a better fit for me and my future," he said. "I realized that about a week ago, and I realized that all these visits I may go to are just not necessary, because Cal is my future school ... I was going to do a trip on the East Coast, and my mom and I were planning it out. There are some Ivy schools, and other schools, I don't even, we didn't make it official yet, and that's why I've been, I had a lot of meetings set up with the Ivies and other schools." So, on Friday, at 1 p.m., he headed up to Berkeley to meet with Wilcox in person. The rain, he said, didn't dampen his spirits, nor did it dampen the 'Papa Bear' shirt he got his Stanford Cardinal father, which he bought at the Cal Student Store before he arrived at Memorial Stadium.

Both his father and uncle, he said, are just fine with his choice.

"I talked early with my parents about it, and we are all on board," he said. "My whole family is supporting my decision."

Of course, it was more than the education that drew Tevis to Berkeley. The fact that Wilcox, himself, is a defensive-minded coach was a huge plus.

"That was big. You have the types of guys who know where to put you and know how to use you," said Tevis, who's versatile enough to play outside linebacker, rush end or true defensive end. "The fact that he, personally, gave me the offer, and trusted me in his program was a big honor, and it was very humbling, and made me realize that, yeah, this program is a great fit for me ... He's a great guy. I just can't speak enough about how much I admire him, already. Watching him lead practices, I think he's going to be a great coach, and I think he's going to do wonders for that program."

Now, he's setting his sights on others, including another defensive end, Nick Alftin.

"I saw that article on Nick Alftin, and that was huge. He's a really good player," he gushed. "I've not played against him, but I've met him a few times. I think he's, I mean, you talked to him. I think he's pretty into Cal, isn't he? I'd be surprised if [...] I'd give him, max, a week, what do you think?" Top Stories