The Best OL Recruiting Class In Cal History?

In the final installment of this week's Bear Insider interview with new Cal Offensive Coordinator Jim Michalczik, Coach M breaks down the individual talents that comprise Cal's best offensive line recruiting class in modern history.

Michalczik starts off by discussing U.S. Army All-American OG/OT Matt Summers-Gavin from St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco.

"Matt plays with great leverage, said Michalczik. "He's a great athlete. He's got a good foundation of strength. The one thing you really see when you watch Matt is how well he can bend his knees while blocking. Being able to play with balance and power are key. The knees and ankles become so important at this level because of being able to change directions and be able to adjust to the speed of the game. It's such a faster game in college than in high school. I think Matt's a natural fit with all those things."

4 star Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, CA) OT Sam DeMartinis was next.

"Sam's tall and a lankier lineman," said Michalczik. "He's a real good athlete with really quick feet. He's able to move and mirror his opponent's moves.

"When you look at a guy's film, a lot of times, you'll see a guy hit someone and stay with them but if the guy kind of goes off to the side, they'll lose their blocks. Sam's the type of player that can adjust and follow his block while a lot of guys you recruit out there, can't."

Palisades (Pacific Palisales, CA) High School OT Mitchell Schwartz has the distinction of being the biggest in Cal's incoming OL class.

"The first thing that comes to mind about Mitchell is he's huge," said Michalczik with a laugh. "He's really a great athlete for his size. He has the same type of ability to change directions and follow his blocks like Sam.

"One of the other things I like about Mitchell is that he's really cerebral, real intelligent, which is evidenced by his grades.

Michalczik singled out Bakersfield High School OG Justin Cheadle as being the most athletic of the talented crew of incoming linemen.

"Justin's a great athlete," said Michalczik. "I had a chance to watch him play basketball @3 times this year and just to see him move, with his quickness and competitiveness shows you a lot.

"Sometimes you can tell more in a basketball game than a football game because you can see not only what kind of athlete a player is but how he competes and all those things. He's one guy that played both ways all the time. It's hard to do that and give that extra effort because you're always conserving energy to be able to play both ways, but Justin pulled that off. He's a great athlete and a great student, too. He's got tremendous upside.

"You want to look for big guys that are athletes –that have a competitive nature and do things the right way and that's where these guys fit in. Justin's the only one still playing basketball but all of them played basketball or baseball or soccer growing up and you can tell.

Todd Huber is the final piece of the talented Bear OL puzzle.

"Todd's a guy that really loves to play the game," said Michalczik. "He's got a nasty streak to him. He's fun to watch because he really likes to get after it. I'm the kind of guy that likes it when you walk softly and are a nice guy but when it's time to do battle –look out.

"Todd plays with good leverage. He's going to start out at center. He's very smart, also, with a 4.0 GPA. A center has to make a lot of calls so you have to be smart. He's kind of your prototypical center."

"You look for guys that are winners to play in your program and these guys are winners on and off the field.

Michalczik also commented on a pair of linemen from the Class of 2006 –Center Chris Guarnero and offensive tackle Justin Prueitt.

"I think Chris had a real good year," said Michalczik. "He won the Scout team Player of the Year for us. He did a real good job and I think he has a great future. He's tough and he works hard. He does all the little things you need to do to succeed. He'll continue to add weight and to get stronger. He'll have a real good chance to play here."

"It's hard to say how far and how fast these guys will go until we work with them longer. You have to be able to work with guys at least a couple weeks then make the determination whether or not it would be better to give them another year to prepare and save their eligibility.

"For the current freshmen, you really have to go through spring ball to know what you've got with them. With linemen, there's so much improvement that happens with them early on and they change so much physically.

"Prueitt's a guy who's physically changing and growing into this role," said Michalczik. "He was always a defensive lineman in high school. He's a good athlete, but a lot of this stuff is still new to him. While Chris was well-coached and came in as an OL, Prueitt's still working to figure some of it out and working on fundamentals.

In conclusion, the Class of 2007 OL has brought a lot of excitement to Cal fans eager to see what the always powerful Michalczik-Tedford running game can do behind such a highly-ranked unit.

Without a doubt, good things are in store for the Bears. Top Stories