Offer in Hand Briggs Experiences Cal

L.A. Birmingham running back Trajuan Briggs was surprised when Cal offered last year. The Golden Bears are his only offer thus far, and Berkeley was his second junior day visit of 2009. He says his visit to Cal had a real positive vibe, but tells Cal Sports Digest why he is taking the recruiting process slow…

Trajuan Briggs (6-0, 205) rushed for 1,513 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, his first not in the shadow of L.A. city legend Milton Knox. He rushed for 610 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2007 alongside Knox, who rushed for 2,210 yards and 39 touchdowns. But unlike Knox, Briggs possesses the ideal size for any every down back at the collegiate level.

Cal signed a similar size back in Dasarte Yarnway in February. However, the Bears also signed Isi Sofele, who is similar in size and style of current Cal running backs Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen. Briggs may combine the best of both worlds. A big, powerful back able to line up outside and abuse opposing linebackers and defensive backs.

After visiting USC the week before, Briggs attended junior day at Cal this past Saturday.

"I really liked it," said Briggs. They talked to me about the academics, sports, and the campus. It had a real positive vibe to it. I mostly talked to [RB] Coach [Ron] Gould. We talked about academics, not much about football, and about if and when I come to Cal what I need to prepare for."

With a 2.67 core GPA, Briggs is taking the SAT on March 14. But he already has a stronghold on his major. "Communications and broadcasting, journalism, writing, and everything," he said.

Despite the current economy's demise of the newspaper industry, Briggs is staying positive. "Hopefully, I'm praying it changes when I get out of college."

He is taking the recruiting process slow. He understands anything can happen in one year. He does not want to pigeonhole himself into an early decision. However, he does have a soft spot for Cal because they were the first to offer in December. "It does to certain extent," he said of the early offer pushing Cal to atop his list.

"I am not going to stick with them all the way. I am keeping all my options all open. They are not too high up there but they have a cushion [above the rest]. I'm definitely taking all my official visits. I'm going to take the recruiting process slow. A lot can happen over this next year. I am not going to make an [early] decision. In my opinion, that wouldn't be smart. I'm going to take all the trips I can."

Some of the others schools Briggs is interested in include Alabama, Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, and USC. He will visit UCLA this coming weekend for junior day. That is the only other trip on his schedule this spring. Unsure where his next offer may come from, he says when Cal offered him it dazed him.

"I didn't think it was going to come that early," said Briggs. It was really surprising.

"I was just stuck for a minute, it was wow! They sent me an email to call them; at the time, [Frank] Cignetti was the offensive coordinator. We were talking about school and we started talking about my highlights, ‘We love your highlight tape. We're going to offer you a full scholarship.' And he kept [talking], I had to stop him for a minute, and ask, as of right now? It had me surprised."

In spite most of his conversations with Coach Gould focused on academics, he knows the Bears are a running back factory under head coach Jeff Tedford.

"I love they way they use their backs," said Briggs. "[Despite] how big I am, I like to [line up] play some slot and receiver. I used to be in practice [at Birmingham], mess around, and tell De'von [Flournoy], hey I can play your position. I really like how [Cal] keeps [the running backs] well scripted in the offense."

Filling Knox's shoes is not easy. He was arguably the best running in school history, and if Briggs does choose to attend Berkeley, he may follow in the footsteps of one of the best running backs in Golden Bear history.

"It will be challenging, I know a lot will be expected of me [at the next level]," said Briggs. "I really don't know how it's going to be. It's going to be some big shoes to fill but I need to work on myself first before [I fill any shoes]. Like how Jahvid Best had to fill in for Marshawn Lynch. It might be a slow start, but overall I'm going to try to get better and fill the shoes the best I can, possibly even more."

Briggs is planning to attend the USC Nike Camp in April and possibly a few more camps depending on his track schedule. Right now, he is focused on his upcoming SAT exam.

"Schools don't want to offer a kid that can't get it done in the classroom," said Briggs. "When I get the SAT done, and get that score, I think everybody, including me and my mom, can just breathe. So, my senior year, I don't have to worry about that stuff."

Stay with and for continuing coverage of Trajuan Briggs' recruitment.

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