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Cal Football Early Signing Day 2023 Central

December 20, 2023

Cal football’s 2023 early signing day got off to a quick start this morning with all but one of Cal’s 22 commits officially signed and likely at least one or two new additions to come today in in the coming days.

The first surprise of the morning came with 3 star TCU flip Jair Smith‍, a 6-1/185 College of San Mateo cornerback originally from Charlotte, North Carolina. As a soph this season, Smith had 36 tackles, 1 sack and 3 interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.

"Really talented guy,” Wilcox said of Smith. “We've known him for a while. Originally from North Carolina, but played out here at CSM. We really liked his skill set. He can run. We think he's got a shot to be a real good nickel and corner for us. So he can do a lot of different things and really pleased to get him in the fold."

Smith was one of two JC signees including fellow JC DB Isaiah Crosby‍, a big-hitting, speedy 5-10/175 safety from Trinity Valley CC in Athens, Texas. The SWJCFC Conference Defensive Player of the Year and 1st Team JC All-American totaled 41 tackles and 5 interceptions for the season.

“Isaiah Crosby - real fast. Really, really fast. Safety prospect,” noted Wilcox.

The Bears have also added several grad transfers through the portal, including North Texas QB Chandler Rogers‍, Montana State OT Rush Reimer‍ and Notre Dame DT Aidan Keanaaina‍.

The 6-1/190 Rogers completed 62.1% of his passes for 3,382 yards, 29 touchdowns and five interceptions at North Texas as a junior this season. He also added 180 yards and 4 TDs on the ground in 2023, though with sack-adjusted numbers, the grad transfer totaled almost 400 yards on the ground.

“"We recruited Chandler before (last season). He's been a very productive player in college so we're glad Chandler is joining us. It's likely that we'll target one more quarterback, just because in this era of college football, you've got to have four to five quarterbacks in that room."

Rogers is joined at QB by Garfield-Seattle QB EJ Caminong‍, an early season flip from Washington and one of the top prep QBs in the west.

“EJ up in Seattle, recruited him for a long time,” Wilcox said. “He's played a lot of quarterback. We think he's got the traits. He's been down here a bunch and really just looking forward to getting him here and, and starting to to work with him. Obviously. that position, there's a lot of development and the transition to college and the offense and all those things. You never exactly know how that's gonna go for each individual. But he's got the physical traits, and we're looking forward to getting him here.

6-5/305 Montana State OT Rush Reimer‍ was considered one of the top OL targets in the portal. The senior grad transfer joins fellow MSU alums Isaiah Ifanse‍ and TJ Session‍ from the prior two Cal portal classes. He earned FCS All-American and 1st team All-Big Sky Conference this season.

“Rush played at Montana State,” Wilcox noted. “We've had a number of Montana State guys here. We’ve have had really good success with those guys transitioning into the program. So big offensive lineman, good football player and really, really excited about him, too.”

6-3/305 defensive tackle Aidan Keanaaina‍ signed with Notre Dame as a highly recruited prep out of Colorado. He battle injuries earlier in his collegiate career but is known as a big, strong plugger up the middle who can effectively take on blocks.

“He's big. He's real big,” Wilcox said of Keanaaina. “And he's a real smart guy. We had a great visit with him (last weekend).”

The Bears have one running back so far in the class, 6-0/220 Stafford, Texas running back Jamaal Wiley‍, an early commit to the Bears after his OV.

“Jamaal’s a big running back out of Houston,” Wilcox said. “Really good football player and very productive. About 220 pounds, so he can carry the load.”

6-0/170 Denton Guyer receiver Josiah Martin‍ was one of the most highly-recruited recruits in the Bears’ 2024 class. The speedy receiver committed this month after his official visit. As a senior this season, Martin pulled in 62 catches for 1,007 yards and 12 TDs. Martin also held offers from Alabama, Virginia, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Oregon and more.

“Big (signing),” Wilcox said. “He's a really quick, shifty guy. He actually grew up in Seattle, Tacoma area and knew EJ from way back when so there was a connection there. But really good high school, Denton-Guyer- and a very productive player. He adds the element of kind of that speed and quickness in that slot position.”

Martin is joined in the receiver class by 6-3/200 Acalanes receiver Trevor Rogers‍. The long and productive senior had a strong senior season with 74 catches for 1231 yards (16.6 ypc) and 16 TD for the 3AA state champs.

"Trevor is really productive guy,” Wilcox said. “He's been in our camp. We've known him for a long time. His brother (WR Chris Rogers) played for us and did a heck of a job for us for a number of years. He's got really good size. And he obviously comes from a really good program and we know him well. So we're excited about him. He's a talented kid and it's nice to keep a local guy home."

So far, Pasadena tight end Camden Jones‍ is the only tight end recruit. The 6-6/240 TE was the Bears first commit of the 2024 class a year ago.

“I think he chose the school for the right reasons,” Wilcox said of the early commit. “It's been a long time we've been recruiting him. Big, athletic guy, been in our camp a couple years ago it seems like, so we got to know him well. He's a Cal guy. He's gonna fit in and now we’ve got to help him develop physically and as a football player, but he's every bit of 6’6” and probably 240 pounds and he's athletic. So now we’ve just got to help him continue to grow as a player but really excited about Camden.”

The Bears signed a trio of Texas offensive linemen in OG/OT Tyler Knape‍ and OT’s Syris Corley‍ and Aiden Newbill‍.

“We've actually had a lot of success with Texas guys joining our program and we got a few O-linemen there,” Wilcox noted. “They're kind of from the Austin area. You’ve got Cyrus and Tyler and Aiden.”

6-5/285 Taylor High School OT Syris Corley‍ committed and signed with the Bears today after a December official visit. He chose Cal over Texas Tech, BC and Purdue.

“Cyrus is from Taylor there (in Texas). Another great program.

6-8/285 Connally-Pflugerville OT Aiden Newbill‍ was also another recent commit after a December visit and made the flip from Northwestern to Cal with his commitment last week.

“Aiden, who just recently did a visit (also from Austin),” Wilcox said. “He's a massive guy. Aiden is humongous. Real mature guy.”

6-4/285 Austin Westlake OL Tyler Knape‍ was an early commitment to the Bears.

“Tyler's coming mid year,” Wilcox said. “He's had an injury that he's been working through. So we'll be we'll be glad to get him here and assist him with that. And then the other two will join us in summer. Tyler comes from Westlake. Great, great program.”

Besides Aidan Keanaaina‍, the Bears also signed a pair of Texas prep defensive linemen in Arlington DL Legend Journey‍ and Katy DL Michael-Anthony Okwura‍ and Kansas DL BJ Canady‍ 

The 6-2/260 Journey had 65 tackles, 21.0 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, three forced fumbles, 17 quarterback hurries and one blocked field goal as a 2023 senior for Summit HS in Arlington in their 8-4 season.

6-2/260 DL Okwura totaled 31 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and 2 sacks in seven games as a 2023 senior.

The 6-5/270 Canaday, who was rated the #4 player overall in Kansas totaled 38 tackles and one forced fumble in his high school career that was earlier limited by injury.

“BJ’s from Topeka,” Wilcox said. “Big dude. Really big, plays defensive end, kind of reminds us a little bit by tech-wise of Xavier (Carlton). But he is a big big guy, loves the weight room. He's a workout guy. His sister actually goes to the school across the bay. She's a very talented athlete. So he will have family close by.”

At linebacker, the Bears pulled in a portal grad transfer in UC Davis MLB Teddye Buchanan‍ and a pair of prep LB’s, Texas MLB Eze Osondu‍ and SoCal OLB Luke Ferrelli‍.

The 6-2/235 Buchanan prepped at San Francisco’s St. Ignatius High School. At UCD this season, the grad transfer earned 2nd-team All-Big Sky with 71 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, three interceptions and four pass breakups for the 7-4 Aggies.

As of the morning presser, Buchanan hadn’t signed so Wilcox was unable to publicly comment on his signing but Buchanan became the last of the known commits to sign later in the morning.

The 6-2/215 Osondu had 61 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 4 sacks for a Byron Nelson (Trophy Club, TX) squad that was 13-1 overall, reached the 6A Division 2 state quarterfinals and won the 6A Region I District 4 title with a perfect 7-0 mark.

The 6-3/220 Ferrelli had a 31-4 overall record with his three seasons at Carlsbad High School and were 17-0 in conference games on the way to Avocado League titles and postseason berths each season. The Stanford flip had 56 tackles, 13 1/2 tackles for loss and 5 1/2 sacks for his 10-1 Carlsbad squad as a senior.

“Luke’s from Carlsbad and he’s a really explosive guy,” Wilcox noted.

Besides the two JC DB signings Jair Smith‍ and Isaiah Crosby‍ the Bears added portal transfer cornerback Marcus Harris‍ and prep safeties Dayton Aupiu‍ ‍ and Brooklyn Cheek‍ for a DB class of 5.

The 5-11/185 Harris was originally a signee with Oregon State out of Portland before transferring to and starring with Idaho. As a junior Harris earned 1st team All-Big Sky with 51 tackles, 5 1/2 tackles for loss, 3 interceptions including one that he returned 70 yards for a touchdown and 10 pass breakups for a team that finished 9-4 and reached the FCS quarterfinals for the first time since 1993.

The 6-2/165 Aupiu is a Polynesian Bowl invitee was played four seasons of varsity ball at Pacifica High School in Oxnard, helping his team to a 10-1 overall and 8-0 in league during his senior season in 2023, adding career totals on defense of 215 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 11 interceptions with 3 returned for touchdowns, 28 pass breakups, seven forced fumbles and five fumbles recovered including one that he returned for a score. On offense, Aupiu added career offensive receiving numbers of 37 receptions, 387 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns, while returning 12 punts for 150 yards.

The 6-1/195 Cheek earned first-team All-Section honors from MaXpreps as a 2023 senior when he posted career highs of 71 tackles and 13 pass breakups on defense, as well as 46 receptions for 900 yards and 13 touchdowns on offense for a Central Catholic (Oakdale, CA) squad that finished 9-3 and reached the Division I Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals.

Overall, the Bears lost only one commit from their 2022 class (DB Rahshawn Clark) and added three late flips in Ferrelli, Harris and Smith.

Stay tuned for any potential late additions to the early signing clas as the Bears continue to look to add to their recruiting class in both the early and late signing periods as well as spring.

Discussion from...

Cal Football Early Signing Day 2023 Central

4,662 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by GoOskie
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Best of luck to all these young men! Glad to have them in the program!
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Welcome! Go Bears!
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Nice pickups. Go Bears!!
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