NCAA signing day recap: Brown highlights Cal's new class

NCAA signing day recap: Brown highlights Cal's new class
February 4, 2014, 10:30 am
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The Golden Bears finished with the No. 32 ranked class (Rivals.com) in Sonny Dykes' first season. (AP)


Two-star offensive guard prospect Kamryn Bennett signed and tweeted his Letter of Intent on Wednesday. (Twitter)

In 16 games during his senior season, middle linebacker Chandler Leniu made 161 solo tackles. (AP)

Programming note: For more on National Signing Day, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight and every night at 6, 10:30 p.m. and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

The Cal Golden Bears (1-11, 0-9 Pac-12) had a difficult 2013 season in Sonny Dykes’ first year at the helm. The Bears failed to beat an FBS opponent for the first time since 1897 and they were completely overmatched in Pac-12 play, losing eight of their nine games by 17 or more points.

Cal needs to see improvements in all facets to turn it around and be competitive in Dykes’ second season, and it all starts with a strong 2014 recruiting class.

Full commitment list

FOUR-STAR RECRUITS:
Erik Brown
 -- No. 18 WR; No. 124 overall; 6-foot-2; 200 pounds; Washington; 4.5 sec 40-yrd dash
Chandler Leniu -- No. 11 LB; No. 201 overall; 6-foot; 225 pounds; California; 5.0 sec 40-yrd dash
Tre Watson -- No. 27 RB 5-foot-10; 184 pounds; California

THREE-STAR RECRUITS:
Devante Downs -- No. 23 ATH; 6-foot-2; 230 pounds; Washington; 4.6 sec 40-yrd dash
Luke Rubenzer -- No. 13 D-T QB; 6-foot; 186 pounds; Arizona; 4.75 sec 40-yrd dash
Vic Enwere -- No. 45 RB; 6-foot-1; 213 pounds; Texas; 4.46 sec 40-yrd dash
Kennedy Emesibe -- DE; 6-foot-3; 240 pounds; California; 4.97 sec 40-yrd dash
Quentin Tartabull -- S; 6-foot; 190 pounds; California; 4.68 sec 40-yrd dash
Aisea Tongilava -- OLB; 6-foot-1; 215 pounds; California; 4.58 sec 40-yrd dash
Michael Trani -- OG; 6-foot-4; 285 pounds; California
Darius White -- No. 78 JUCO; CB; 6-foot-1; 180 pounds; Mississippi
Jonathan Johnson -- JUCO DE; 6-foot-4; 240 pounds; California
Trevor Kelly -- JUCO DT; 6-foot-2; 305 pounds; California

TWO-STAR RECRUITS
Chase Forrest -- D-T QB; 6-foot-3; 190 pounds; California
Noah Westerfield -- DE; 6-foot-3; 220 pounds; Texas; 4.96 sec 40-yrd dash
Kamryn Bennett -- OG; 6-foot-3; 275 pounds; Arizona; 5.20 sec 40-yrd dash
John Porchivina -- OLB;  6-foot; 210 pounds; California; 4.73 sec 40-yrd dash
Dominic Granado -- JUCO OT; 6-foot-5; 285 pounds; California; 4.9 sec 40-yrd dash
Sam Atoe -- JUCO S; 6-foot; 205 pounds; California
David Davis -- JUCO DT; 6-foot-1; 290 pounds; California; 4.9 sec 40-yrd dash

 *Cal did not sign any 5-star or 1-star players in their 2014 class.
*All rankings are from Rivals.com

Best Player – WR Erik Brown

The 6-foot-2, 170-pound speedy wide receiver (4.5-4.6 second 40-yard dash) out of Fontana committed to Cal in November 2013 after dumping his previous commitment to Washington University. The wide receiver had scholarship offers from six other Pac-12 schools in addition to Cal. As a senior, the nation’s No. 124 recruit had 40 receptions for 631 yards and four touchdowns. Brown should see plenty of time in Sonny Dykes’ “Bear Raid” passing attack next to incumbent starters Bryce Treggs and Chris Harper.

Surprise Signing – ILB Chandler Leniu

The Southern California native originally signed to play for Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars in September, but after further review decommitted and signed with the Golden Bears on Jan. 28, 2014. As a senior, the 6-foot, 225-pound inside linebacker recorded 238 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and two interceptions playing for the state-champion -- and No. 3 ranked team in America -- St. John Bosco. Cal returns two of its three starting linebackers, so there may be room for Leniu to play immediately. The Golden Bears ranked No. 122 out of 123 teams, yielding 529.6 yards per game.

Keep an eye on – RB Tre Watson

As a senior for Corona Centennial High School, Watson led the state of California and was second in the nation in total rushing yards by a running back with 3,734 yards to go along with 50 rushing touchdowns. He topped 200 yards on eight different occasions playing for the nation’s No. 23 team. Against the eventual state champion St. John Bosco defense he carried the ball 46 times for 264 yards. Cal is losing running back Brendan Bigelow, but returns their leading rusher in Khalfani Muhammad. The Golden Bears need all the help they can get in the running the ball, as they ranked No. 107 in the nation averaging a mere 122.2 yards to go along with their vaunted pass attack.

Biggest miss – ATH Koa Farmer (No. 21 athlete)

The Sherman Oaks product was the first player to commit to the 2014 recruiting class, tabbing Cal in October 2012. He also was a high school teammate of current Cal running back Khalfani Muhammad. Cal had been Farmer’s ‘dream school’ as he ‘used to play video games with Cal-guys like DeSean Jackson and Marshawn Lynch,' yet when James Franklin signed on to be the head coach at Penn State, Farmer reneged from his previous commitment, and signed with the Nittany Lions. Farmer, the No. 21 overall athlete, was slated to play safety for a Golden Bears team that ceded 341.0 passing yards per game, good for last in the NCAA FBS Division.

Biggest miss 2.0 – ARB Joe Mixon (No. 1 all-purpose back, No. 8 overall)

The 6-foot-2 Mixon played high school less than 50 miles from Berkeley at Freedom High School in Oakley. He is known for his pass-catching ability -- 19.6-yard average on 30 receptions in his junior and senior years -- to go along with his overall speed and insane quickness. Don’t be fooled by the speed, as Mixon packs a punch at 207 pounds. Although he took one of his five official visits to Cal, Sonny Dykes couldn’t sign the much-needed hometown product. Dykes could have used the all-purpose back to bring yet another weapon to the Golden Bears already dynamic offensive attack.

Last year’s top freshman – QB Jared Goff (No. 8 pro-style QB, No. 140 overall)

Last year Jared Goff was highly touted coming out of Marin Catholic High School. He more than lived up to the hype for the Golden Bears this past fall as their starting quarterback. Goff received honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors while setting single-season school records for passing yards (3,508), total offense (3,446), passes completed (320) and passes attempted (531) to go along with his five 300-yard passing games in 2013. He will return for at least two more seasons for the Golden Bears.