Feb. 6, 2008
BERKELEY - Five high school All-Americans highlight a 21-player signing class for the University of California football program, head coach Jeff Tedford announced on Wednesday. The Golden Bears have added 19 high school stars, as well as two junior-college transfers. Eleven of the signees will bolster the offensive side of the ball, while nine are defensive players and one is a specialist. Two members of this year's class have already enrolled at Cal.
"We are very excited about this class," Tedford said. "It addresses all of our needs."
The most prolific position in the class is at wide receiver with five standouts signed. As a group, the receivers are rated in the top 10 in the nation by Rivals.com. The other offensive signees include two offensive linemen, two tight ends (giving the Bears the fifth-rated tight-end class in the country), a running back and a quarterback. Defensively, the Golden Bears have inked four new defensive backs, three defensive linemen and two linebackers.
The All-America signees hale from four different states continuing to show Cal's increasing appeal to national recruits. California, which is the home state of 13 of Cal's signees, also supplied two All-Americans: wide receiver Marvin Jones (Etiwanda, CA/Etiwanda HS) and offensive lineman Tyler Rigsbee (Chico, CA/Pleasant Valley HS). Jones is rated 23rd in the nation at wide receiver by both Scout.com and Rivals.com after tallying 81 receptions for 1,040 yards as a senior, while Rigsbee is rated in the top 30 in the nation at his position.
The other high school All-American stars are running back Covaughn Deboskie (Chandler, AZ/Hamilton HS), who enrolled at Cal in January from Arizona where he tallied 42 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards in his final two seasons; Washington product Trevor Guyton (Redmond, WA/Redmond HS), who is rated as the No. 18 defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com; and Cal's most eastern recruit, Spencer Ladner (Kansas City, MO/Pembroke Hill HS), a 6-6, 232-pound tight end from Missouri.
In addition to the All-America signees, 14 of Cal's newcomers were rated in the top 50 in the nation at their respective positions. The California recruits include four Bay Area signees, five Central Valley players, three standouts from Southern California and Rigsbee from Chico.
"While individual recognition is nice, what we look for are young men who will fit in with our program and with the university," Tedford said. "We are excited about all of our signees and confidant that they all have the potential to succeed as student-athletes at the University of California."
While Jones is the most highly-decorated of the wide receiver signees, the other four should give an immediate boost to Cal's receiver corps. A junior-college standout, Verran Tucker (Torrance, CA/El Camino CC) brings excellent size while being rated as one of the top juco prospects in the nation. Bay Area product Charles Satchell (Milpitas, CA/Milpitas HS) was a two-way standout in high school, tallying eight touchdowns through the air, while Joe Washington (Stockton, CA/Stagg HS) led the Central Section with 1,144 receiving yards on 63 receptions. Jarrett Sparks (Merced, CA/Merced HS) will give Cal its biggest receiver on the roster for 2008. The 6-3, 200-pounder had 42 receptions for 934 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2007.
"We feel great about our corps of receivers," Tedford said. "They all have good size and athleticism and they should all have the opportunity to make early contributions to our program."
Joining Satchell from the Bay Area are linebacker J.P. Hurrell (San Mateo, CA/Junipero Serra HS), safety Chris Little (Oakland, CA/Castlemont HS) and tight end Anthony Miller (San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS). Hurrell was nationally-rated as a linebacker and as a safety and is one of the top-100 players in California according to Rivals.com. Little, another top 100 player in California, also showed versatility in high school and has been signed as a safety by the Bears. Miller is rated as the No. 18 tight end in the country.
Tedford, a 1983 graduate of Fresno State, dipped into his old neighborhood, signing a pair of Fresno standouts, including Beau Sweeney (Fresno, CA/Clovis West HS), the grandson of Tedford's collegiate coach, Jim Sweeney. The lone quarterback in this year's signing class, Sweeney is rated by Rivals.com as the 13th-best pro-style quarterback in the nation. His grandfather was the head coach at Fresno State from 1976-77 and 1980-96 while his father, Kevin, was a record-breaking quarterback for the Bulldogs from 1983-86, just after Tedford's tenure at quarterback. Interestingly, Golden Bear junior college signee Kamaron Yancy (Woodland Hills, CA/Pierce College) is the son of another former Fresno State quarterback Charles Yancy, who was an All-American for the Bulldogs in 1978. Rounding out the Fresno connection is linebacker Mychal Kendricks (Fresno, CA/Herbert Hoover HS), who earned all-state honors after tallying an impressive 175 tackles in 2007.
Joining the Fresno products from the Central Valley are Washington and Sparks, as well as offensive lineman Dominic Galas (Modesto, CA/Central Catholic HS), who is rated the No. 9 center prospect in the nation by Rivals.com. Galas' father, Tim, played on the line for the Golden Bears from 1979-82.
Cal ventured outside of California for eight of its players. In addition to three out-of-state All-Americans, the Bears have added two Texas products, two additional Arizona players and one from Hawaii. Cornerback Marc Anthony (Chandler, AZ/Chandler HS) and long snapper Matt Rios (Phoenix, AZ/North Canyon HS) were both first-team all-state selections in Arizona, while defensive lineman Aaron Tipoti (Honolulu, HI/Word of Life Academy) gives Cal its fourth Aloha State signee in the last two years. A pair of high school teammates, defensive back Josh Hill (Houston, TX/Klein Forest HS) and defensive tackle Kendrick Payne (Houston, TX/Klein Forest HS), are Cal's first Houston recruits during the Tedford era. Payne, like Deboskie, enrolled at Cal in January after graduating high school early.
Cal is scheduled to begin spring practice on March 17. The Golden Bears open the 2008 season by hosting Michigan State on Saturday, Aug. 30. Cal has posted six straight winning seasons for the first time in over 50 years while advancing to five straight bowl games (with four wins) for the first time in program history.