Where Does Cal Stand with Kessler after Offer

Initially, Cal was atop Bakersfield (Calif.) Centennial QB Cody Kessler's list of schools. Then the Bears cooled on him and he amassed 16 offers in the process. On Monday, OC Andy Ludwig came by campus to watch Kessler throw, and that evening head coach Jeff Tedford used his one phone call to offer the U.S. Army All-American…

In January of this year, if you would have asked Cody Kessler (6-2, 225) who his top school was, he would have answered with ease – Cal.

Look what can change in a matter of months.

Last summer, Kessler along with his Centennial team camped at the California Golden Bears' team camp as it had done each of Kessler's previous years of high school. There was no other program he was more familiar than with Cal. He worked out privately in front of Bears head coach Jeff Tedford. Other coaches would tell Kessler he had the "Tedford Throw" because of where he held the ball. Cal liked him and the Bears interest seemed mutual. Early, speculation was Cal could be his first offer.

When September 1 of his junior season rolled around, the Bears didn't offer. In fact, Kessler received no offers on the first day high school prospects can receive official written offers.

Kessler wasn't fazed; he understood the evaluation process takes time.

Soon New Mexico State became his first offer – they actually offered on the first but the letter didn't reach Kessler until days later. Then his recruitment stayed quiet until he competed at the U.S. Army Combine in January.

Fresno State offered next in late January followed by Pittsburgh and Washington State in February. And in the last two months, he's received 12 scholarships offers, including Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, Nebraska, UCLA, and USC. On Monday, Cal became his 17th offer.

"We had a practice today and [Cal OC Andy] Ludwig came down to watch and [USC DL] Coach [Ed] Orgeron was there too. Both stayed the whole time for practice," said Kessler.

"I'm not allowed to talk to Ludwig during practice but he talked to [Centennial head coach Bryan] Nixon. Nixon told me Ludwig said ‘Tedford is going to call you.'"

Kessler said he had a good conversation with Tedford Monday evening. He said Tedford told him they've been evaluating him more, they loved his film, and Ludwig loved him even more in person.

"I've always got along with Coach Ludwig and Tedford," added Kessler. "I understand the evaluation process; I'm not holding any negative feelings towards them. It's not like they offered a whole bunch of quarterbacks. It definitely showed that all the times that I [camped at Cal] they were at least looking at me."

Cal initially offered two quarterbacks – Max Wittek and Kyle Boehm – with the thought whoever verbally committed first would be the Bears lone quarterback in the 2011 class. From January until March, Kessler had no contact with the Cal coaches. Wide Receiver Coach Kevin Daft started making contact with him again in the spring. But Monday was Kessler's first contact with Ludwig and Tedford in many months.

"I was really interested in you guys," Kessler said of what he told Tedford over the phone. "When I didn't have any offers I always had you up [top] on my list."

"Hey, I'm going to recruit really hard," Tedford told Kessler. "I want you to call me every week, and I want to talk to you and your parents."

Kessler was set to end his recruitment last week before his whirlwind Friday began when USC and UCLA offered and he received an invite to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game. While undecided per se, he does have a definite top five.

"Alabama, Boise State, Pitt, USC, and Washington," said Kessler. "I love all the coaches, but Coach [Frank] Cignetti (Pitt OC) is the one coach I'm closest to. He is the most influential coach I speak with."

Kessler says he still plans to make his decision in the coming weeks. But he admits he wants to look at Cal and UCLA some more before deciding. "I have to talk to Nixon about it," he added."

Stay with CalSportsDigest.com and Scout.com for continuing coverage of Cody Kessler's recruitment.

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