READ MORE ABOUT JUNIOR DAY ON THE FORUMS
During the 2012 football season, American Canyon (Calif.) athlete Malik Beachum was a regular at California home games, finishing up with a November visit to Strawberry Canyon to take in the tilt between the Bears and Oregon, following a 37-8 first-round beat down of Yuba City (Calif.) River Valley in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
On Saturday, he'll be coming back to Berkeley, with the aim of pulling down that elusive first scholarship offer at Cal's Elite Junior Day.
"I'm excited," Beachum said on Tuesday evening. "I've been waiting to hear from them since they got a new coaching staff, and I was excited to get invited to Junior Day this Saturday."
After the hubbub of a staff turnover and the home stretch for the 2013 class died down, the new Cal coaches immediately set after issuing early offers and watching hundreds of hours of tape. Beachum's stood out, for more than one reason.
Beachum is an intriguing athlete with interest from Arizona, Colorado, Duke, Fresno State, Temple, Utah and Boise State, but the fact that he has yet to pull down an offer may be due to the fact that most teams don't quite know what to do with him.
As a junior, Beachum rushed 12 times for 75 yards and one touchdown, caught 24 balls for 433 yards and seven TDs, notched five pancake blocks while making way for his teammates downfield, tallied 35 tackles (including a tackle for loss), picked off three passes for 51 return yards, defended 11 passes, forced one fumble and returned one kickoff for 20 yards.
The previous staff was leaning towards offering Beachum as a wide receiver, but was still unsure where he'd fit in. This staff, though, knows exactly where they'd want the 5-foot-10, 165-pounder.
"The head coach said that they like me at receiver, in the slot," Beachum said. "I sent a few messages back and forth with the new head coach, and he was the one who invited me. I still need to talk to the other coaches, which I'll do on Junior Day."
Whether on offense or defense, Beachum doesn't much care on which side of the ball Cal wants him.
"Either," Beachum said, "I just like making plays. I like preventing people from scoring. It doesn't matter, as long as I'm on the field -- special teams, anything."
Beachum is excited to meet the new staff in person, and wants to get to know defensive backs coach Randy Stewart and receivers coach Rob Likens, but he has other items on his checklist for Saturday, as well.
"I want to see the weight room more," Beachum said.
Beachum has been gunning for a Cal offer now for quite some time, and acknowledged that an offer from the Bears is a dream for him.
"I would love to stay local, because my family could come see me a lot, and I just like the Bay Area," Beachum said.
On Beachum's previous visits, he came along with teammates Jomon Dotson and Robert Wilkes, and on Saturday, Dotson will be in attendance once again.
The Bears, though, aren't the only school that may be close to offering. The Broncos are making a push, as well.
"I just talked to Boise, and they invited me up, and I might go to their junior day, too, so we'll see, but everyone's just talking right now," said Beachum.
The one personal connection Beachum had on the Bears -- tailback C.J. Anderson -- is no longer on campus, but did have a solid showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, earning a top performer nod for his 4.12-second 20-yard shuttle.
"I knew C.J., but he's not there anymore," Beachum said. "But, I saw he did really well at the Combine."
The Guest List
Other prospects set to be in attendance this weekend include Concord (Calif.) De La Salle defensive lineman Sumner Houston, Portland (Ore.) Jesuit's jumbo athlete Henry Mondeaux and outside linebacker Joey Alfieri, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco three-star offensive tackle Damien Mama, Corona (Calif.) Centennial three-star guard Viane Talamaivao, Apple Valley (Calif.) offensive tackle Troy Bacon, Berkeley (Calif.) linebacker Michael Lazarus, El Cerrito (Calif.) corner Adarius Pickett, Fresno (Calif.) Central East tailback Nick Wilson and Oakley (Calif.) Freedom tailback Joe Mixon.
Slated to come also were Wenatchee (Wash.) running back Isiah Brandt-Sims, Novato (Calif.) San Marin quarterback Manny Wilkins and Fresno (Calif.) Central East receiver Michiah Quick, but that trio will be in Las Vegas for a 7-on-7 tournament.
UPDATE 2/27 10:21 AM: Petaluma (Calif.) Casa Grande quarterback JaJuan Lawson and RB/LB John Porchivina will be making an unofficial visit today, and will be coming for Junior Day, as well.
Brandt-Sims was scheduled to go to Las Vegas for the 7on tournament, but our Brandon Huffman has confirmed that he will be coming to Cal on Saturday.
Beachum Excited for Junior Day
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