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Bears Kick Off 2021 Early Signing Day

December 15, 2021

In what's expected to be one of Cal's smallest signing days in recent memory largely because of prior covid exemptions expiring, the Bears kicked things off with the first signed letter of intent from Arizona offensive lineman Nick Morrow‍.

Morrow announced his commitment saying, “I just want to take the time out to say I’m super excited to be a Golden Bear. Go Bears!”

The 6-8/260 Flagstaff High School (Flagstaff, Arizona) 3 star athlete caught 16 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns in five games as a 2021 senior on offense, as well as 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one interception on defense before missing the final five games of the season due to injury, playing mostly tight end and defensive end. Morrow earned first-team All-Grand Canyon Region and second-team All-Conference as a 2020 junior. The two sport athlete (basketball) could end up playing offensive tackle at the collegiate level as he continues to add size and strength. Pac-12 Network analyst Yogi Roth said of Morrow: “Athleticism. Size. Length. All of the tools to be a big time tackle. The Bears beat out Baylor and UNLV primarily for Morrow’s commitment.

“Nick is an extremely long athlete who towers over most people on film and in person,” said Cal head coach Justin Wilcox. “He has shown impressive athleticism and flexibility while competing as a defensive lineman, tight end, wide receiver and basketball player. We are excited to see what Nick grows into for us. We put Nick through a workout over the summer and knew afterward that we wanted to work with him long-term.”

Next in for the Bears was 6-3/320 Bishop Manogue (Reno, Nevada) offensve guard Sioape Vatikani‍.

Vatikani announced his signing saying, “I’m proud to be a Cal Bear. Let’s get to work!”

The 3 star OG excelled on both sides of the ball for Nevada state quarterfinalist Bishop Manogue, A four-year starter on the offensive line and three-year starter on the defensive line, Vatikani totalled 19 tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks on defense and was a physical mauler on the offensive side of the ball. Another two sport athlete Vatikani threw the shot put and discus on Bishop Manogue’s track and field squad. He earned first-team All-State honors on the offensive line in each of his final three prep campaigns after picking up second-team honors as a 2018 freshman. The Bears beat out USC, UCLA, Tennessee, BYU, ASU, Colorado and more for Vatikani’s commitment.

“Sioape is an impressive offensive lineman who will arrive as one of the strongest players on our team,” said Wilcox. “He shows a great combination of athleticism and size on the field while also demonstrating rare strength in the weight room. Sioape is a highly intelligent student-athlete with a humble personality who possesses all the tools to flourish in our program.”

Third in was Menlo-Atherton cornerback Jeremiah Earby‍. Earby announced his signing saying, “I just want to take the time to say how happy I am to be a Golden Bear. #CalGang, I’m out!”

A two-way star for Menlo-Atherton, Earby played wide receiver and defensive back, helping MA win Peninsula League titles in each of his three varsity seasons. Earby had career defensive totals of 71 tackles, one tackle for loss and seven interceptions, along with 52 catches for 1,207 yards and 15 touchdowns as a receiver. He earned first-team All-PAL honors as a 2021 senior. The Bears beat out primarily Oregon State for Earby’s commitment.

“Jeremiah is a talented local recruit who we are very excited about. He is a highly competitive two-way player with outstanding production on both sides of the ball,” said Wilcox. “We project him as a corner and are eager to work with his unique combination of length, athleticism and ball skills. We have high hopes for Jeremiah and look forward to his arrival.”

Up next for the Bears was 6-4/205 College of San Mateo wide receiver Mason Starling‍. Starling announced his signing saying, “I’m just trying to reach out to the fans letting you guys know how excited I am to be a Bear. Let’s get this thing going. Go Bears!”

Originally from Rainier Beach High school in Seattle, Starling had 43 catches for 706 yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games as a soph for CSM, helping lead his squad to the NorCal finals in a narrow loss to rival City College of San Francisco. A tenacious blocker off the line, Starling brings a wide catch radius DBs struggle to defend. Also offered by Colorado and Arizona, the 3 star receiver received a lot of attention from Oregon and later Miami after Mario Christobal’s move. He’ll have three years to play two for the Bears. Starling will be a spring enrollee at Cal.

“Mason is a long-framed local wideout with excellent tools and a big upside,” said Wilcox. “He was one of the top junior college wide receivers in the country and will provide another passionate, quarterback-friendly target to the offense. He also is a physical blocker who leaves his mark in the run game.”

5th up for the Bears was 6-2/265 St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA) defensive end Nate Burrell‍. Burrell announced his signing saying, “I just wanted to take some time out of my day to say I’m glad to be a Cal Bear. I can’t wait to do great things on the campus.”

The 6-2/265 3 star DE had 46 tackles, 3 ½ sacks, noe forced fumble and one pass defended for SJB in 2021. The Bears beat out Michigan, Miami, USC, Oregon, Washington, Utah, ASU and more for Burrell’s commitment.

“Nate is a disruptive, athletic defensive lineman who comes from one of the premier high school football programs in the country,” said Wilcox. “He has been a big-time player on the big stage and will welcome college football challenges. Nate shows explosive get-off and length, which will help as a pass rusher and run defender. Like many of the players we target, Nate offers a lot of versatility and will be capable of moving around the defensive front.”

Next in was 5-11/185 3 star running back Ashton Hayes‍ from McQueen High School in Reno. He announced his signing with Cal saying, “I just wanted to take time out of my day to thank you guys for your support and I’m very happy to be a Bear. #CalGang. Go Bears!”

The quick and powerful RB had a strong senior season, picking up 1,784 yards and 27 td’s for McQueen. Hayes originally committed to Nebraska not long after taking official visits to both Cal and Lincoln but with the recent turnover in the Cornhusker’s offensive staff, the Bears once again became a potential destination for the talented running back after their strong first impression.

“Ashton is a highly productive running back with speed and a nose for the end zone, making him a valuable addition to our offense,” said Wilcox. “Like many of our players, Ashton showed a passion for football at a young age and is driven to succeed, both on the field and in the classroom. He is a player who will also have a chance to contribute in our special teams return game.”

The Bears pulled off a nice signing day addition with their 7th signing of the day in 4 star 6-5/90 Carrollwood Day School (Tampa, Florida) offensive tackle Trent Ramsey‍ over Mississippi State and Virginia. Ramsey announced his signing saying, “I can’t wait to get back home to the West Coast to California. Go Bears!”

“Trent’s another guy who’s got a big, big frame,” said Wilcox. “We think he can play multiple positions. He plays the run game, the pass game. He's got a big personality and think he’ll fit in really well with Angus and that o-line group.”

The former teammated of Cal frosh QB Kai Millner‍ previously lived in Arizona. He took his official visit to Cal in June where Cal made a strong lasting impression. The Bears also beat out Miami, Florida State, Penn State, Michigan State, Oregon and more for Ramsey's commitment.

The Bears’ 8th signing of the day was another nice signing day pull with the recommitment and signing of former running back commit Jaydn Ott‍. “The thing I’m most excited about is to get out there and score some tuddys.”

The 5-11/195 consensus 4 star Norco High School RB was a one-time Oregon and Cal commit after decommitting two months ago. Ott was down to finalists USC, Oregon State, Colorado and Wisconsin before signing with Cal at a ceremony at school this afternoon. The talented running back plans to join receiver Mason Starling as an early enrollee at Cal this January and participate in spring ball.

As a senior, Ott rushed for 1140 yards and 17 touchdowns on 114 carries for a 10 yards per carr average, adding 11 receptions for 154 yards, as well.

“Jaydn is a productive running back with a lot to be excited about,” said Wilcox. “He is a smooth athlete with an impressive combination of burst, lateral quickness and long speed that will translate well at this level. Jaydn is a homerun hitter with the ball in his hands and has value as both a receiver and pass protector in the passing game. We anticipate he will enroll in the spring and begin competing right away.”

Curlee Thomas‍ became the 9th signing of the day, announcing his signing this afternoon. The 3 star 6-3/235 DE from Nolan Catholic High Schooli in Arlington, Texas will try his hand at outside linebacker for Cal in the fall. Thomas announced his signing saying, “Glad to be a Bear.”

Thomas had one of the most extensive offer lists in Cal recruiting history, with a total of 45 in all, includin UCLA, Penn State, Michigan State, Mississippee State, Texas Tech and more. One of the top edge rushers Texas, Thomas was named lst team All-State as a junior and senior and was the Tapps 6A state sack leader.

“Curlee is a big edge defender,” said Wilcox. “He’s a big, strong guy. He's about 240 now and we think he’s going to get even bigger. He has explosiveness. He’s going to continue to get better as a player, we feel like, once he gets in a program and developes physically.”

Bear Insider
Jaydn Ott signs with Cal


Episcopal HIgh School (Alexandria, VA) wide receiver Jaiven Plummer‍ was the 10th signee in the 2022 class. Plummer announced his signing saying, “I just wanted to take time out of my day to say how hapy I am to be a Golden Bear. Yes sir. Go Bears!”

“Jaiven is a long, athletic wide receiver with West Coast ties,” said Wilcox. “He is a down-to-earth, well-traveled student-athlete who lived in California, Texas and Japan before moving to Virginia. Jaiven has proven his speed both on the field and the track, and he has the ability to stretch the field for our offense.”

The 3 star receiver played on both sides of the ball, also playing defensive back for Episcopal, 
earning first-team All-IAC honors at wide receiver as a senior after his junior season was cancelled due to covid.

The 11th and likely final signee of the day was 6-4/235 Regis Jesuit (Aurora, CO) OLB Nunie Tuitele‍. The 3 star OLB announced his signing saying, “Let me just say, I’m more than excited being at Cal, playing with my brothers. Let’s get it. Let’s go to work.”

Tuitele was a two-way player on offense and defense as a junior and senior, earning first-team All-South League honors and league MVP. As a senior, Tuitele had 63 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 12 sacks, 30 quarterback hurries, one pass defended, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble on defense, while adding six receptions for 54 yards on offense.

“Nunie is a strong edge defender with quality pass rush production who projects as an outside linebacker in our defense,” said Wilcox. “Not only is he big and strong, but he’s also a sound technician who shows impressive hand use with the ability to shock and shed blockers. He is strong at the point of attack and plays with a strong motor.”

The Bears currently have 13 commits in what may end up being a 16 or 17 man 2022 class, with numbers limited with the need to get back to the 85 man roster limit following a season with covid roster exceptions that featured 10 super seniors who had an extra season of eligibility in 2021. They are awaiting LOIs on OT Jackson Brown‍‍ and DB Cameron Sidney‍, who could potentially sign with Cal as late as Friday for Brown or in the late signing period rather than this week Earby. DT Damonic Williams‍ was the Bears’ first commit but after a lot of back and forth this week, the 3 star DT signed with TCU in a last minute decision.

Wilcox fielded questions from the media this afternoon in Cal's signing day press conference.

“Signing day's always been an exciting time,” said Wilcox. “And there’s always the potential for some drama and that’s part of the world we live in. Ultimately, we focus on the people that we sign and were were really, really enthused about the group of guys that have signed with us.

“There will be a number of guys (whose names) we’ll be releasing at a later date.

“The landscape of college football is rapidly changing and we’re changing with it as a program whether you’re talking about the transfer portal and how that effects your roster and your projections and also guys that we'll be adding from the transfer portal and the NIL and how that’s shaping different schools and their recruiting models. At the end of the day, we’re really eager to get these guys we signed on campus.”

Wilcox noted that the program is actively pursuing a number of potential quarterbacks in the transfer portal and is confident they’ll be bringing in a transfer QB, though transfers are not bound by the early signing deadline.

More stories:

Bears Pick up Talented RB Ashton Hayes

Bears Add Length with CSM receiver Mason Starling

Discussion from...

Bears Kick Off 2021 Early Signing Day

8,147 Views | 13 Replies | Last: 2 yr ago by 76BearsFly
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Any word on Quarterbacks?????
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Likely a QB commit later this week

Moraga will continue to update this article throughout the day
Nasal Mucus Goldenbear
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Likely a QB commit later this week
Interesting. Just between us (on the down low), does his name rhyme with Pez, Pelvis, or Syd'Quan?
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Curlee Thomas is signed now per Cal FB tweet
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I just wanted to take out time from my day to say how excited I am to have read this post.
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The late additions to this class are a welcome surprise and are more than making up for prior concerns.

Incidentally, Carrollwood HS has a great fb program and is very strong academically. Ramsey will be a great addition to the OL - a very pleasant surprise.
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Bobodeluxe said:

I just wanted to take out time from my day to say ...
LOL - do you think it was orchestrated?
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Blue and Gold Dominoes, baby!

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A bunch of 3's and 4's = 2-10 season
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Moronic comment.
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Marshawn was a 4* and led us to the top 10
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bearchamp said:

Moronic comment.

You're right, maybe 6-6.....but we had a team full of 3's and 4's and finished 5-7.......
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A team full of 3s/4s can put up a winning record; just tougher. Look at Cincinnatirecruiting rank 89, 39,39 past three years. No buttercups need apply….
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