BERKELEY, CA -He was one of the earliest commits and most active recruiters in Cal's 2016 recruiting class and now former Corona Centennial offensive tackle Daniel Juarez is officially a Cal student, just weeks from his first fall camp in Berkeley.
So far, with summer bridge a couple weeks under his belt, the transition's been seamless for the 1st Team All-State lineman.
"I'm doing great," said Juarez. "The dorm situation's good. All my classes are good. The football situation is good.
"I think I'm settling in and finding myself."
From the beginning, Juarez showed a willingness and an aptitude to help build his recruiting class with his outgoing personality and contagious love for the Bears.
"Early on, probably about February or March when I was first in contact with Cal coaches, we started talking about getting some guys together and here's some guys to talk with," said Juarez. "I then ended up committing in April.
"I was technically the first commit of the class because two of the first guys (safeties Shurod Thompson and Marquel Dismuke) ended up decommitting.
"So early on, we started building a class together. I think next might've been Derrick Clark, then Max Gilliam and so on from there."
Has the class grown close from their early contact through group chat and visits along with their first few weeks on campus?
"Yeah, most definitely," said Juarez. "We're all very close in the group chat and clown on each other and be cool with each other. We all hang out and stuff. There's nobody that's not included in everything. We're all pretty tight with each other."
Beyond the crash course of acclimating to his new program and learning the playbook and the workouts, academics are front and center for Juarez and his classmates during summer bridge. Time management skills are an absolute necessity for the new freshmen.
"I have psychology, education and college writing," said Juarez. "They're all heavy base writing, so every night, I'm doing papers till midnight, waking up at 6."
And then there's the legendary cardio workouts that sometimes take the unsuspecting freshman by surprise -to the extent that they've not been warned by returning veterans on the team.
Is he ready?
"Oh, yeah," said Juarez. "I'm ready to take the challenge. There's nothing to be scared of, though. We're all going through the struggle together."
Juarez helped lead his Centennial squad to the state championship game against perennial power De La Salle, falling in a tightly-contested 28-21 defeat to the top team in the country. The Huskies finished the season 14-1, rated 2nd overall in the nation.
Juarez went up several times against 5 star defensive end Devin Asiasi, holding the Michigan signee to a standstill.
The Bears beat out Texas Tech, Washington State, Nevada and UNLV for the 6-5/290 OT.
To view Juarez' video in full, including his thoughts on where he fits in with the offensive line, the upcoming fall camp, the kickoff in Australia and more, use the embedded viewer below: