BERKELEY – Head coach Sonny Dykes announced Cal’s 22-player 2014 recruiting class Wednesday on National Signing Day. Highlighted by six prep All-Americans, the group also includes six student-athletes previously announced December 18.
“We are proud of this class and the work that our coaching and support staffs put in to get it together,” Dykes said. “We went and competed against some really good football programs for the players in this recruiting class.”
The class is highlighted by six prep All-Americans invited to play in post-season All-American bowls following their 2013 senior seasons in WR Erik Brown (Fontana, CA/Summit HS), ATH Devante Downs (Mountlake Terrace, WA/Mountlake Terrace HS), RB Vic Enwere (Missouri City, TX/Fort Bend Austin HS), LB Chandler Leniu (Lakewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS), QB Luke Rubenzer (Scottsdale, AZ/Saguaro HS) and RB Tre Watson (Corona, CA/Centennial HS).
Brown and Leniu played in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl following their senior seasons, while Enwere and Rubenzer were in the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl with all four making significant contributions to winning teams. Downs (U.S. Army All-American Bowl) and Watson (Offense-Defense All-American Bowl) did not play in the games they were selected for due to injury. Leniu, Rubenzer and Watson were also honorable mention Parade All-Americans.
Brown had the top recruiting ratings in the class, earning five stars from PrepStarSoCal and four from each of the other primary recruiting services. Downs, Leniu and Watson were all four-star recruits.
Rubenzer and Watson were record setters, while Enwere and Leniu joined them in posting huge numbers.
Rubenzer was Arizona’s Gatorade Player of the Year for football after setting a national high school record for career completion percentage (496-of-689, 71.9%) and Arizona state career records for passing yards (9,645) and touchdown passes (132) while throwing only 13 interceptions. He also passed for Arizona state single-season records of 4,201 yards and 61 touchdowns with just three picks as a senior, completing 227-of-308 passes (73.7%).
Watson was a first-team All-State selection in his senior campaign after registering a single-season school record with 3,734 rushing yards and tying another with 50 touchdowns on the ground. He led all California players in both rushing yards and attempts (417), ranking second nationally in both categories. Watson finished his career with 5,244 rushing yards and 72 touchdowns on the ground.
Enwere combined to rush for 3,091 yards during his junior and senior campaigns, and Leniu finished his career with 526 tackles including 238 as a senior to rank third in California and sixth nationally.
Rubenzer won three state titles (2010, 2011, 2013), while Leniu was on a state championship team as a senior that finished 16-0 and knocked off perennial power De La Salle in the final. Watson’s teams combined for a 52-8 overall record and a 24-0 Big VIII League mark during his four varsity seasons, winning Southern Section Inland Division titles three of four campaigns.
“You want to recruit winning players from winning programs,” Dykes said. “You go right down the list with these guys and they’ve all been on quality football teams. Anytime you can add players to your program that have been successful at a high level, know what it’s like to be successful, and know what it takes to win that’s a positive.”
“Ultimately what makes you a good football team is your ability to be productive,” Dykes added. “When you look at the numbers many of these guys have produced against high quality competition, for those guys to be able to do that at the level they produced against the competition they produced it against is the most important thing.”
Three members of the class – Brown (No. 154 247Sports Composite, No. 181 ESPN), Downs (No. 181 247Sports, No. 206 ESPN, No. 323 247Sports Composite) and Leniu (No. 201 Rivals, No. 498 247Sports Composite) – ranked among the nation’s top 500 prep players overall in the 2014 class by at least one recruiting service.
Five players have prep positional rankings among the top 25 nationally, including Brown (No. 24 wide receiver – ESPN), Downs (No. 6 fullback – Scout; No. 12 outside linebacker, 247Sports; No. 23 athlete – Rivals), Leniu (No. 11 insider linebacker, Rivals; No. 12 middle linebacker – Scout), Rubenzer (No. 13 dual-threat quarterback – Rivals) and OL Michael Trani (La Mirada, CA/La Mirada HS; No. 11 center – Scout)
CB Darius White (Grenada, MS/Itawamba Community College/Grenada HS) boasts the top rating among the six junior college transfers as the nation’s No. 1 JC cornerback in the recruiting class of 2014 according to JC Gridiron. LB Sam Atoe (Windsor, CA/College of San Mateo/Maria Carrillo HS) is listed as the nation’s No. 4 safety by JC Gridiron, DE Jonathan Johnson the No. 6 weak-side defensive end by 247Sports Composite, DT Trevor Kelly (South San Francisco, CA/College of San Mateo/Sacramento State) the No. 6 defensive tackle by JC Gridiron, DT David Davis (Palos Verdes Estates, CA/Long Beach City College/Washington State/Palos Verdes HS) the No. 23 defensive tackle by ESPN and OL Dominic Granado (Huntington Beach, CA/Golden West College/Edison HS) the No. 24 offensive tackle by ESPN.
Cal’s class is currently ranked as high as No. 43 nationally by Scout, while the Bears check in at No. 45 according to Rivals, and No. 48 by both MaxPreps and 247Sports. Rankings are subject to change.
All told, Cal’s 21-player class includes 11 defensive players, nine on the offensive side of the ball and one athlete.
Others on the defensive side of the ball include LB Hamilton Anoa’i (San Mateo, CA/Serra HS), DE Kennedy Emesibe (Hesperia, CA/Oak Hills HS), LB John Porchivina (Petaluma, CA/Casa Grande HS), S Quentin Tartabull (Mission Hills, CA/Bishop Alemany HS), LB Aiesa Tongilava (Santa Ana, CA/Orange Lutheran HS) and DE Noah Westerfield (Frisco, TX/Wakeland HS).
The Bears did not sign a specialist in the class but senior LS John Sheperdson has been awarded a scholarship.
Cal’s signing class has 15 players from California, while two hail from both Arizona and Texas, and one each from Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Washington.
“California is our home and recruiting always begins in your own backyard,” Dykes said. “We have to continue to make inroads in the Bay Area. It starts there and extends to Southern California and all over the state. It makes sense to do that, but we also have to branch out some. I thought we had some good success in places like Arizona and Texas, and I think we’ll continue to become a bigger brand in those areas as we have a little more success.”
Cal spring football practice sessions at Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium will begin the week of March 31 and conclude with the 2014 Cal Football Spring Game to be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks on Saturday, April 26 (11 a.m. PT). Admission is free for the annual event that gives thousands of Cal fans a rare opportunity to meet and greet Golden Bear football players and coaches following the game. Former Cal football players have attended the event in the past, including the 2013 contest when NFL All-Pro and Super Bowl XLVIII winner Marshawn Lynch made a surprise appearance. A series of activities in conjunction with the 2014 spring game and practices will be announced at a later time, along with the remainder of the team’s 2014 spring football schedule.
Cal’s 2014 football regular-season schedule features six games at Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium and a Friday match-up against Oregon that will be the first collegiate football game at the new Levi’s® Stadium in Santa Clara on Oct. 24. Cal will host Sacramento State (Sept. 6), Colorado (Sept. 27), Washington (Oct. 11, Alumni & Family Weekend/Homecoming), UCLA (Oct. 18), Stanford (Nov. 22) and BYU (Nov. 29) in Berkeley. The Bears visit Northwestern (Aug. 31), Arizona (Sept. 20), Washington State (Oct. 4), Oregon State (Nov. 1) and USC (Nov. 13), with the tilt against the Trojans on a Thursday night.
Current season ticket holders can renew their tickets until the deadline of Friday, Feb. 21. Fans looking to become new season-ticket holders for 2014 can place a $100 per seat deposit now. Visit CalBears.com or call (800) GO-BEARS for more information or to purchase season tickets.
Following Cal’s Signing Day activities, the Pac-12 Networks will air a two-hour show Wednesday beginning at 4:30 p.m. PT, which will recap the activities around the league. Mike Yam, Rick Neuheisel and Yogi Roth will break down National Signing Day with an in-depth look at the day’s events. Pac-12.com will also feature coverage all day.
2014 Cal Football Recruiting Class
NAME POS HT WT YR EXP HOMETOWN (LAST SCHOOLS) Hamilton Anoa’i LB 6-3 220 Fr. HS San Mateo, CA (Serra HS) ^Sam Atoe LB 6-0 220 Jr. JC Windsor, CA (College of San Mateo/Maria Carrillo HS) Kamryn Bennett OL 6-4 290 Fr. HS Peoria, AZ (Centennial HS) Erik Brown WR 6-2 170 Fr. HS Fontana, CA (Summit HS) ^David Davis DT 6-1 290 Jr. JC Palos Verdes Estates, CA (Long Beach City College/Washington State/Palos Verdes HS) ^Trevor Davis WR 6-1 170 Jr. RS Martinez, CA (Hawai’i/Alhambra HS) ^Devante Downs ATH 6-2 235 Fr. HS Mountlake Terrace, WA (Mountlake Terrace HS) Kennedy Emesibe DE 6-3 240 Fr. HS Hesperia, CA (Oak Hills HS) Vic Enwere RB 6-1 215 Fr. HS Missouri City, TX (Fort Bend Austin HS) Chase Forrest QB 6-3 190 Fr. HS Santa Ana, CA (Mater Dei HS) Dominic Granado OL 6-5 285 Jr. JC Huntington Beach, CA (Golden West College/Edison HS) ^Jonathan Johnson DE 6-3 240 Jr. JC Pittsburgh, PA (Pierce College/Snow College/Woodland Hills HS) ^Trevor Kelly DT 6-2 305 Jr. JC South San Francisco, CA (College of San Mateo/Sacramento State/El Camino HS) Chandler Leniu LB 6-0 240 Fr. HS Lakewood, CA (St. John Bosco HS/Westlake HS) John Porchivina LB 6-0 210 Fr. HS Petaluma, CA (Casa Grande HS) Luke Rubenzer QB 6-0 185 Fr. HS Scottsdale, AZ (Saguaro HS) Quentin Tartabull S 6-0 190 Fr. HS Mission Hills, CA (Bishop Alemany HS) Aisea Tongilava LB 6-1 215 Fr. HS Santa Ana, CA (Orange Lutheran HS) Michael Trani OL 6-3 285 Fr. HS La Mirada, CA (La Mirada HS) Tre Watson RB 5-10 185 Fr. HS Corona, CA (Centennial HS) Noah Westerfield DE 6-3 220 Fr. HS Frisco, TX (Wakeland HS) Darius White CB 6-1 180 Jr. JC Grenada, MS (Itawamba Community College/Grenada HS) ^Originally announced Dec. 18, 2013