The Bears timing with recruiting visits was impeccable in the last two home games as Cal hosted a couple dozen official and unofficial visitors in their exciting wins over Texas and Utah. Last weekend's visits netted two official commits, with Edison (Huntington Beach, CA) center Michael Saffell joining Cathedral/San Diego safety Jordan Genmark Heath as future Bears.
The 3 star 6-2.5/293 Saffell's right up Cal offensive line coach Brandon Jones' alley with his vocal leadership, physical style of play and cerebral approach.
The visit was Saffell's second after getting a feel for Cal on his trip up for Junior Day during spring practice. The most recent visit only reaffirmed what Saffell knew in his mind already -that Cal was the spot for him.
"Oh, that experience was awesome," said Saffell of the visit and the exciting 28-23 victory over Utah. "It was exactly what I was looking for in a gameday experience.
"The crowd was electrifying. The people there love football and care a lot about Cal football. They're excited about where the team is right now.
"Being there when the stadium's rocking, like on that goal line stand was unbelievable. I don't think I've seen a goal line stand like that. I was just praying they could pull off another one each play. They played great defense in that game."
Offensive line coach Brandon Jones has been recruiting Saffell steadily since March but Saffell in earnest after he earned offensive line mvp at the Los Angeles Opening camp. Saffell also earned 1st team all-league and offensive line mvp in his junior season for Edison, not to mention a 4.2 gpa at Edison.
"Coach Jones and I have a really good relationship," said Saffell. "We talk a lot. We talk about my highlight tape.
"Part of what inspired my commitment was him taking me into his office and telling me how I fit into their offense and kind of what he wants me to do as a a leader of the offensive line. I love the responsibility they put on the center. I'm really excited about that.
"They need the center to galvanize the offensive line. I think I'm a great verbal leader and I lead through my actions. I think they saw that in me -more than a football player but a leader, as well. That kind of sealed the deal for me."
Saffell's technical proficiency is no accident, as Saffell's trained for the last five years with 2-time Pro Bowl and 4-time Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49er Jesse Sapolu.
"He's an awesome guy," said Saffell. "We talk all the time. He's the man.
"He's definitely helped me in the recruiting process. He's done so much for me. I owe him everything."
Saffell's game is somewhat reminiscent of the former all-pro, especially the aggressive style of play and technical proficiency.
"I'm a nasty type of of guy. I love to get after people and bury them in the dirt. But I'm also technique-oriented, especially in the pass block game.
"When I went to Cal and saw how much they sling the rock, I could really see myself fitting into that but also, talking with Coach Jones about how he wants to establish a more physical running game, I could also see myself wanting to do that. That's something I want to be a part of."
To view Saffell's junior highlights, use the embedded viewer below: