BERKELEY -- Though teammate JaJuan Lawson had to leave early to get to track practice, Petaluma (Calif.) Casa Grande two-way jumbo athlete John Porchivinia stayed at California Memorial Stadium, long after the sun sank below the western façade of the newly-renovated edifice, marveling at the speed and energy with which the Cal football team went about its second spring practice.
"The high tempo of it, I knew they changed it around, but really coming out here and watching how fast they move, each running backs getting as many reps as they are, it gives them the experience they need to be able to prove it to their coach," Porchivinia said."I really like that. It's not, ‘Oh, we think you're the best, so we're going to give you all the reps.' Everybody gets a chance to prove themselves, and I really like that."
This fall, Porchivinia -- a transfer from St. Patrick/St. Vincent -- beat out four-star two-way talent Elijah Qualls as the main running back for head coach Trent Herzog and the Gauchos, and carried the ball 89 times for 651 yards, while hauling in eight catches for 116 yards.
"It felt pretty good, and Elijah was nothing but nice to me since the day I came, and I don't really think he felt threatened from me, because he knew he was going somewhere, so I think he kind of helped me and wanted to give me a chance," said Porchivinia, who was accompanied on Wednesday by both Herzog and his father. "I worked really hard. There's a great coaching staff that helped me within the short time I was there. It felt really good to beat him out."
Things got even better in January for Porchivinia, when he attended the US Army All-American Combine in San Antonio, Tex., posting a faster 40-yard time than vaunted tailback Joe Mixon on the slow turf at the Alamodome.
Porchivinia recorded the best 40 time for an athlete over 200 pounds, and the 20th-best overall at the event, beating out the talented Mixon by two hundredths of a second with a 4.69 time.
"Barely, but I'm counting it," Porchivinia laughed.
Both Mixon and Porchivinia will be at Cal's Junior Day on Saturday, and the Bears are looking at Porchivinia as sort of a Swiss Army do-it-all offensive athlete, at 6-foot-1, 213 pounds.
"I talked to coach [Pierre] Ingram, the running backs coach, and he said they liked me as an athlete, who can switch around between H-back, fullback, their big back and kind of just hit on every position in the offense," Porchivinia said.
Porchivinia even got to sit in on the running back positional meeting, and learn even more about his potential role in the offense.
"I sat in on a meeting with the running backs, and he's very energetic, likes to motivate the players, he seems like a very good, upbeat guy, and that's all you can ask for when you're looking for a good coach," Porchivinia said. "I've run offenses like this throughout Pop Warner, high school when I was back at St. Vincent, so I could definitely see myself here."
Porchivinia was recently offered by Idaho, and may soon go up to see the Vandals, as well as Boise State, which he said may be close to an offer. Later this spring, he will be heading down to Los Angeles for a camp, and seeing San Diego State while in Southern California.
Porchivinia is also thinking about attending junior days at Colorado -- which also wants him as a big, bruising back -- and Oregon State.
Recruit Report: Porchivinia Takes in Practice
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