Feb. 6, 2002
Below are selected quotes from Cal football coach Jeff Tedford from his press conference announcing the 2002 football recruiting class.
We are very excited about this recruiting class. First off, I would like to say thank you to our staff who did a great job in evaluating the young men. Especially to Ron Gould, who is a holdover coach and really kept this thing going. Andrew McGraw did a great job also. I am really appreciative to those guys for doing that. We feel like that we have addressed a lot of needs with this recruiting class. We had a chance to recruit some local young men that we are very excited about. We have addressed some needs in the secondary, and have addressed some needs with speed. We feel like we have acquired some athletic offensive linemen that can do a lot of things. They are guys that we feel have a great potential, and that will be a key part of our program here. We took three junior college guys - a defensive end, a tight end and a wide receiver. The tight end is in school right now, working out with the team and doing a very good job for us.
About getting a late start in the recruiting process
The big blow, I think, came in the mid-year transfers. We could only bring one player in. We had some guys that wanted to come in mid-year. But we were able to hang on to those guys, and they're going to be with us in the fall. It wasn't that we lost out because of it, but we just had to postpone (them) until the fall. The late start hurt. You would like to go through the whole recruiting process. But I'll tell you this, the coaches worked very, very hard, morning and night, evaluating these young men. They were very diligent about the recruiting process, and they did a very good job. I feel very fortunate in that the staff we have did a good job making up for that lost time.
About playing time
Everyone's going to get an equal opportunity to play. It's very rare that true freshmen make a major impact. Out of the class of 16 freshmen, I would say that you would get one or two who would help you and play. You don't want them to play too early where they burn their redshirt years. They're all going to get a chance. In the first three days of practice, they're all going to get equal chances to play. So, from there, we'll make that decision. My philosophy is this: if they're ready to play and they're going to help the team, then they're going to play. If they're not ready to play and they're not going to help the team, then they're not going to play. The depth of certain positions will affect that from time to time. But we don't want to throw them into the fire before they're ready to do it. We want to make sure that they're prepared mentally, physically and that they can handle the situation.
About the recruiting process
I would say that probably half of the recruits were guys that Cal was already looking at before the transition. I would, again, like to say a special thanks to coach Gould. He did an excellent job of keeping this thing afloat while the transition was being made. He has a lot of key recruits that he worked very hard on and that he never wavered on. Half of our recruits are guys who, when we got here, were guys who were already partially committed, if not all the way committed.
About Oregon's victory at the Fiesta Bowl being a factor for new recruits
I think the bowl game helped us. I think the recruits were looking at that bowl game to see who was coming to Cal. I think we had a lot of positive response from the recruits from the Fiesta Bowl. We feel like it helped us in our recruiting.
About signing recruits after they had committed elsewhere
The guys we liked on tape, we called them, and we got in on them. Fortunately, we were able to turn a few of them. We're very happy about David Gray staying in town. He's a big play receiver that will be a great addition to our program. So we're very excited that we were able to change his mind and get him to come to Cal. Recruiting goes right down to the wire. In early commitment, if the player is wavering at all, then usually (he) is fair game. Unless the player is strongly committed and says that he is committed and to please not call him anymore, then there is always an opportunity to talk to him.
About team depth
I think our depth is okay. In spring football, we will see who can move to different positions. We have a lot of safeties on this team. In our defensive philosophy, safeties can probably play outside linebackers. Spring is going to be very interesting to find out whether these guys can play, whether or not they are in the right positions, and see where they should be moved to.
About team speed
Randy (Bundy) is very fast. I would consider him a burner. He is sub 4.5, 4.4, maybe less after his senior year. The guy can really run. Speed is definitely something that we're always going to bring in here. So next year, we're still going to focus on speed. We want to make sure they're quality people and quality players, as well. David Gray is not your burner, but he's fast enough, and he will just get faster. He's a big-bodied guy, a big play receiver with tremendous range. He's a Terrell Owens-type of receiver, and he'll just get faster with training and conditioning here. I can't wait to see him play here.
About QB Steven Levy
Coach Dave Ungerer, our special teams coordinator and tight ends coach, has had some background back (east) in recruiting. We have targeted a couple of places that some of our staff have recruited before. That was one of the places. So they sent us a tape, and when we got the tape, I was very excited about seeing it. Steve is a great player, very tough, very competitive. He played in a great league there in New Jersey. He has a lot of credentials, and we were able to bring him out here, and he was interested in coming to Cal. We feel very good about him. He's an East Coast guy all the way. It's a long way from home. His family came out here with him, and we were able to make them feel comfortable that we were going to be able to take great care of Steve, and he's going to be a very good quarterback. I think with the background offensively that we have with quarterbacks, that really attracted him, and so I think there was a good match there. So I think he was excited to play in this system. He's tall enough: he's 6-1. Guys that are 5-9 would have a difficult time, but he's 6-1, he's very mobile, he's aggressive, he's tough. He won't have any problem (playing for us). He's a quarterback all the way. He played some linebacker in high school, but he's a quarterback.
About how long it will take to build a system
I can't give you a real honest evaluation on that until after spring football. I can't really tell you right now exactly what we can have. There's only so much you can see on tape, but after that, you need to be out on the field, you need to be able to coach these guys. We need to be able to put them through tough practices. Until that happens, we won't really know as a staff exactly where we stand, and exactly where we need to go.
About the junior college players
I expect them to be impact players right away. I expect them to make a difference. We wouldn't be recruiting JC guys unless we felt that they could play immediately. We have three guys: a defensive end, Monte Parsons, a receiver, Jonathan Makonnen, and the tight end, Brandon Hall. All three of those guys are impact players.