Hitting the Ground Running

With the 2013 class largely finished (at least for Signing Day purposes), the Cal football coaching staff turns its attention to a pair of upcoming junior days stocked with some serious talent.

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With the California football team basking in the afterglow of the 2013 National Signing Day, the Bears staff has nevertheless been hard at work starting on the 2014 bunch, and with the formal kickoff to that effort coming on March 2, with the Elite Juniors Day.

One of the heavy hitters slated to attend is one of the top running backs on the West Coast in Oakley (Calif.) Freedom running back Joe Mixon, who attended his first ever college football game the weekend of Oct. 8, at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.

Mixon is the proud owner of 20 scholarship offers -- one of the first of which came from Cal, under the previous regime. But, since the new staff came on board, Mixon has been in constant contact with Pierre Ingram.

"The contact has been pretty good; they've been trying to keep in contact with me probably about every week," Mixon said. "We're starting to build up a good relationship from there ... I probably talk to [Ingram] every week. He's the main guy I talk to, and he's a pretty cool guy."

Ingram is easily the youngest running backs coach Mixon has had contact with, but that's far from discouraging.

"I feel like I'm going to have a pretty good relationship with him," Mixon said. "I'm just trying to build it."

Last season, Mixon rushed 201 times for 1,443 yards, completed two of three passes for 100 yards and one touchdown and caught 18 balls for 383 yards and six scores. Mixon was also adept at blocking delivering 10 pancake blocks to help spring fellow receivers and running backs. In all that time, he fumbled just thrice.

"I'm just enjoying the process; it's been great," Mixon said. "Every offer I get is big."

Others who are likely to come are Novato (Calif.) San Marin quarterback Manny Wilkins (who emphatically confirmed via text), El Cerrito (Calif.) defensive back Adarius Pickett (for the March 23 Junior Day), Fresno (Calif.) Central East running back Nick Wilson, Michiah Quick, Tashon Smallwood, offensive linemen Damien Mama and Viane Talamaivao and defensive lineman Nifae Lealao.

"I'm hoping that I get to see a great environment, and I'm hoping that they show me a good time, and I'm pretty sure that they will," Mixon said. "I can't wait."

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