If pedigree is a predictor for future success, the Bears scored with Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year and top running threat for one of the strongest programs in the nation in Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV) running back Biaggio Ali-Walsh.
Beyond winning the prestigious player of the year award while playing with one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Ohio State commit Tate Martell, it's hard to beat the additional pedigree of being the grandson of The Greatest -Hall of Fame boxing great Muhammad Ali.
The 5'11/185 running back toured campus and the facilities and headed out to dinner the first night at Skates. He was thoroughly impressed by all he saw, and developed a fast love for the Bay Area.
"Looking at the facilities and the locker room, the campus, the area, how friendly the people are, the scenery and all the cool things you can do out there, it just felt like the right place for me," said Ali-Walsh. "I feel like I can fit in perfectly. Not to mention how prestigious the school is, itself.
"We watched a video on all the accomplishments of Cal grads and how highly-ranked the school is. It's an honor to become part of that community."
The 3 star running back also developed a comfort level with the staff and his future teammates, especially at his dinner on the bay as well as hanging out with quarterback Chase Forrest at his apartment along with running backs Vic Enwere and Tre Watson and cornerback Darius Allensworth and receiver Ray Hudson.
"I had a great time hanging out with those guys at Chase's place," said Ali-Walsh. "They're all great guys."
Ali-Walsh rushed for 2,451 yards at a 12 yards per carry clip along with 33 touchdowns on the ground and three in the air in his junior season, leading Bishop Gorman to an undefeated state championship, beating out-of-state powers Long Beach Poly, Bellevue (WA), Bingham (UT) and Chandler (AZ) along with Servite (Anaheim, CA) in 2015.
Continuing Cal head coach Sonny Dykes' tradition of stocking his backfield with a wide range of big play generating skill sets, Ali-Walsh is in the mold of a fast (4.41 forty at a Nike event) and shifty back, able to pick up yards in big chunks.
"I'd consider myself to be a very downhill runner," said Ali-Walsh. "Fast to hit the crease. I've been working a lot on my cuts and my vision.
"I can tell so far from practice that the work is paying off."
Back to a topic so many are also drawn to, especially considering his recent passing, even though Ali-Walsh's mother Rasheda was one of nine kids (the second oldest, along with twin sister Jamillah) from boxing champ Muhammad Ali, the star running back was nevertheless close to his famous grandfather and spent a good deal of time with him, developing a close bond.
"We spent a lot of time together and always talked," said Ali-Walsh. "It wasn't like only on occasion, we always talked.
"When I was young, we didn't realize how famous he was. We just called him Poppy. We didn't know why he was getting so much attention.
"When we'd go to movies, people would bum rush us and I never knew why. It was crazy, but as I got older and watched videos, I realized how important my grandfather was. He was amazing."
To view highlights from early in Ali-Walsh's junior season, use the embedded viewer below: