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Cal Football

Players to Watch: Fall Camp Preview

June 25, 2022
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We're roughly 5 weeks out from the start of the 2022 season with the commencement of Fall Camp in early August.

We wanted to call out some players who have shined this Spring and/or are impressing the staff who may not be on Cal fans' radar at the moment.  

RB DeCarlos Brooks:  If Brooks is healthy, don’t be surprised if he's not getting substantial carries vs. UC Davis.  Brooks has improved demonstrably since getting to Berkeley.  He's now a ball of muscle who despite not being the biggest back, routinely breaks tackles.  He's explosive with a very good first step and initial acceleration.  Not a true home run hitter, he's reminiscent of Justin Forsett with his quickness and burst.  Brooks also is a one-cut-and-go player who has a knack for falling forward making him a dependable and reliable chain mover.  Staying healthy has been a problem for DeCarlos, he'll need to demonstrate he can play at a high level even when he's dinged up

ILB Jackson Sirmon:  Sirmon sat out the last portion of Spring practice as he didn't have anything to prove and depth at ILB meant more players needed reps.  He's a demon inside the tackles, with nearly picture-perfect technique to get leverage on blockers and make form tackles.  Match that with very good read and react skills and you have an ideal player inside for the Bears 3-4 defense.  Sirmon's a good, not great athlete and at times was a bit too conservative last season for UW.  I believe he's going to feel freed up playing in this scheme and behind a good defensive line which should lead to an AP12-level performance

TE Keleki Latu:   Latu was so impressive this Spring that even with one hand in a giant white cast, he still shined.  Keleki flashed last Season given the small handful of snaps he received.  He took a nice step forward in putting on 10-15 lbs of muscle and looking far more comfortable and confident than he did last Summer.   His 6’6 frame makes him a match-up nightmare, the more so because he has the agility and ball skills of a WR.  He’s also deceptively fast with his long strides allowing him to beat safeties and LBs for chunk plays down the field.  Look for Latu to be an integral part of the offense in September

PK Dario Longhetto:  Easily the most obviously improved player on the roster.  Longhetto had a respectable 2021 season with increased accuracy and length as a placekicker.  This Fall saw a nearly automatic make inside 45 yards with dramatically increased height and lift on his kicks.  Look for Musgrave and Wilcox to feel comfortable utilizing Longhetto from 50 yards out.  

OL Matthew Cindric:  The All Pac 12 Honorable Mention selection can often be overlooked as folks focus on his returning teammate Ben Coleman and his NFL potential, the loss of McKade Mettauer, and the strong incoming OL recruiting class inclusive of two transfers.   That’s a mistake as Cindric is rock solid and looked this Spring to be bigger and stronger than he was last Fall.  His command of the offense from the center position and his leadership will be a key part of the hoped-for resuscitation of the Cal offense.  

ILB/OLB Kaleb Elarms-Orr:   This Spring was the first time we were able to see KEO in the blue and gold as he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for almost a full year.  He played the full Spring in a knee brace and it seemed like each and every practice he increasingly made his presence felt.  He’s an electric athlete with a great get-off and burst and he has the knack for avoiding blockers.   At 6’2, he doesn’t have the ideal length for OLB and he played almost entirely on the inside this Spring, however, he was often found in the offensive backfield and his up-the-field athleticism may be hard to keep on the sidelines despite his youth and the depth in front of him.  

DE Ethan Saunders:  A close rival to Longhetto for the most improved Cal Bear, Saunders took a big step forward this Spring.  Slippery strong with good quickness, Saunders was Cal’s most consistent pass rusher among the down lineman this Spring.  As is often the case with the big men in the trenches on defense, the game slows down in their third year and it sure seems like Ethan is poised to have a breakout season in 2022.

CB Fatu Iosefa:   While Iosefa may not be in the two deeps for UC Davis, he’s a player to watch in the future.  Fatu is wearing the #24 jersey and there were times this Spring where he looked a lot like the last Bear to wear that number, Cam Bynum.  A good, not great athlete, Iosefa showed off solid footwork, a physical play style, and he consistently put himself in a position to make a play on the ball or the WR.  Given the paucity of depth at Cornerback as Cal gets ready for Fall Camp, Iosefa may end up playing a significant role for the Bears before the season is over.

 

Discussion from...

Players to Watch: Fall Camp Preview

2,236 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by chazzed
heartofthebear
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Interesting.
I am pretty familiar with the roster...on paper.
So I was not aware that Kaleb and Fatu are bright spots for the future.
UrsineMaximus
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Fatu Iosefa could play the nickel position as well.

Saunders is "Slipper strong...", I'm not familiar with that expression what does it mean?
chazzed
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Thank you for the information!
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