The organizers of the Under Armour All-American Bowl may not have paid much attention to injury reports when they called California cornerback commit Darius Allensworth to invite him out to play as a replacement for the annual all-star game, but nevertheless, the three-star recruit out of Menifee (Calif.) Heritage was honored to get the call.
"We had nine All-Americans, but I couldn't play in my game with Cameron at the Under Armour," Allensworth said. "I was going to play in the Under Armour. I got called late to play in it, because I was a backup. Of course, I couldn't, because of my knee. I was devastated."
Instead of playing with potential future teammate Cameron Hunt in Florida, though, Allensworth was at home on the couch with the best seat in the house, watching the eight other Bears commits playing in the All-American bowls, including Hunt, Jared Goff, Matt Anderson, Victor Egu, A.J. Richardson, Khalfani Muhammad, Garrett Hughes, Erik Bunte. Of course, Allensworth paid the most attention to the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, which featured seven current Cal commits, as well as targets Austin Hooper, L.J. Moore, Devin Ross, John Ross and Aaron Cochran.
"A.J., Erik, Jared, Khalfani, Victor and Matt, we had a good showing," Allensworth crowed. "I'm really excited. We had a good showing at all the All-American games."
Before he plopped himself down to watch the Semper Fi Bowl, though, Allensworth received a brief in-home visit from his new position coach, Randy Stewart.
"He came by to see what's up and see how I was doing. It was cool," said Allensworth, who had surgery to repair his torn his anterior cruciate ligament on Dec. 13. "He seemed like he's a cool dude. He seemed like he's alright. I'm going to get to know him some more. You know how I was so close to [Ashley] Ambrose, but I'm going to get to know [Stewart] some more. He seemed like he was an OK dude.
"It helped me out a lot, just to let me know that they're still here and that they still care. That means a lot. I'm really just excited to get out to Berkeley and play ball and become a student."
Stewart spent about half an hour at the Allensworth residence, helping to further bolster the relationship between the No. 72 cornerback in the nation and his future program. Though the two don't yet have the rapport Allensworth enjoyed with Ambrose, he's hopeful that one can develop.
"It's a possibility. Once you get to know people, you get to know people, so it's a possibility that we can have the same relationship," said Allensworth. "As far as right now, that's my coach, and I respect him, so that's where I'm at."
Allensworth has been a ball full of energy since the surgery, and it comes through over the phone line. Now walking without crutches, doctors told him that he's ahead of schedule.
"It's going really well," Allensworth said. "I'm walking on it already, and I'm ahead of where I'm supposed to be. I'm doing well. I got my bend back, I'm walking, so my physical therapist said I'm ahead of the pace, so I should be running by early April."
That means that Allensworth will hit Berkeley this summer ready to get to work, and the Bears may very well need him, after news broke on Tuesday that redshirt junior cornerback Steve Williams declared for the NFL Draft.
"It just means that two more spots open up, and I'm excited that I might get a chance to play early," said Allensworth, who heard about the news as soon as it came out.
Before he hits the field to try and earn playing time, though, Allensworth and a bevy of other commits and targets will take their official visits the weekend of Jan. 25, which is shaping up to be a big weekend for the Bears.
"I'm really excited to get out there with the guys and be able to interact with all of them. It's going to be fun."
Allensworth is particularly excited about getting to interact in person again with defensive coordinator Andy Buh, who was his primary recruiter for Wisconsin, when the Badgers were gunning for him.
"Coach Buh, I probably have the best relationship with him as I've had with any other coach that I've ever talked to, as far as recruiting," Allensworth said. "He'd been recruiting me since Wisconsin, and now that he's going to be my defensive coordinator, it's great ... He told me when he got the job. I called him, because I had heard he got the job, and he answered right away, and he said, ‘Yeah, I got the job, and I can't wait to coach you.' He's probably the hardest recruiter of all the recruiters that recruited me this year.
"He started talking about Cal stuff after he got the job [officially]. I talk to him about every week, and I'll probably talk to him some time this week."
Ryan Gorcey publishes Cal Sports Digest and writes about Major League Baseball for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @RGBearTerritory.
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