Feb. 2, 2011
Signee Highlights | CalBears.com/SigningDay
BERKELEY - California head coach Jeff Tedford spoke with the media today after the Golden Bears received National Letters of Intent from 22 student-athletes - including 11 All-Americans - to join the football program for the 2011 season. As of press time, Cal's 2011 signing class ranks as high as No. 14 according to Scout. ESPN lists the Bears at No. 15, while Rivals has Cal at No. 17 and MaxPreps at No. 20.
More information on the 2011 Cal Football National Signing Day, including video highlights and player profiles is available by visiting CalBears.com/SigningDay, while additional coverage is also provided via Cal Athletics social media outlets Facebook (facebook.com/calathletics), Twitter (twitter.com/calathletics) and YouTube (youtube.com/calathletics).
Following are selections of what coach Tedford had to say.
HEAD COACH JEFF TEDFORD
On the incoming group of student-athletes
"I'm very excited about the class. Was able to address some needs and feel like they're guys who, a lot of these guys can come in a make an immediate impact, so really excited to get them here... Today was pretty uneventful; everything kind of fell in place just the way we thought it was going to be, just a solid group - great kids, great athletes. Really proud of the way our staff recruited, did a great job, everyone who's involved. Recruiting is such a team effort when it comes to not just the coaches but all the people on campus, from the academics to compliance, to housing, you name it, everything that's involved in recruiting. A total team effort and just really pleased the way it all turned out."
On the impact of new defensive backs coach Ashley Ambrose in the recruiting process
"Yeah, he did with the DBs, was able to get in the house right away with Stefan McClure and Kameron Jackson and Joel Willis mainly, because Avery Walls was already here and Jordan Morgan was already committed at that time. The guys that were not committed that ended up committing over the last couple of weeks were Stefan, Kameron and Joel. So he did, he made an immediate impact and it was nice to see."
On when he knew DB Kameron Jackson was definitely going to sign
"Really we knew we had Kameron this morning when the letter came across. You just never know. At the last second everybody's calling, and you want to make sure you put them to bed and you're the last ones to talk to them and the first ones to talk to them in the morning, because you just never know who's going to be calling them. Felt pretty good about Kameron last night. You know, he was saying all the right things and his family was excited, so we felt good about it but you just never know completely until you wake up in the morning and you're able to talk to them and then when it comes across the fax machine, the you know, obviously, you've been able to have him as part of your team."
On whether he considered defense to be a particularly big need in this class
"By position we had the need, in the secondary. We had a need at corner, especially, losing two corners [from] last year and had a big need there. And then at defensive line, losing some defensive linemen, so yes, those were positions of need. The linebacking corps... again, lost a couple of guys there. So those are just natural positions that we needed to fill some voids and felt like we got some guys who are going to contribute and really push for some playing time right away. And then offensively it was kind of spread out, you know, you have one quarterback there, one tight end and one receiver, two offensive linemen and three tailbacks. Again, at the tailback position with Shane [Vereen] leaving, and some of the health issues with our tailbacks right now, coming off a knee surgery and things like that, felt like that was really important to make sure that we had some tailbacks."
More on the importance of defense
"Defense is very important, there's no question about it. Clancy [Pendergast] and the defensive staff have done a great job of putting these guys in position to be successful, but you have to have players to do it. I feel like we have assembled a great group of players there. These guys are young right now but I still think that they're going to be able to contribute in some way. There's a lot to work with on defense as far as talent level is concerned."
On the impact of the facilities in progress, including the Student-Athlete High Performance Center under construction and Memorial Stadium under renovation
"I think it had to help some. It's just really difficult to gauge, but to have something that they can walk through and they can touch and they can see besides it just being on a rendering... With this class being so strong coming off a season that was our first down season in nine years, you have to feel like there's a couple of things. The strength of the degree is still there and our No. 1 recruiting tool. Our facilities are finally where they need to be, and then the body of work over nine years is something that we can always recruit to. And of course the other thing is I think they all want to play in the NFL, and I think with the guys that we have in the NFL right now, especially in the playoffs, it was really easy to see Cal had a major representation in the NFL this year. So all those things combined is what people make their decisions on. We have a lot to offer... Temporary facilities have not been a drawback whatsoever... And I don't think [playing away at AT&T Park in 2011] had an effect on anything. Actually, there's some excitement to all that."
On the incoming quarterbacks
"There's actually two when you count Zach Maynard ... and then Kyle Boehm. Our challenge in the spring moving through the summer and the fall is going to be to get all those guys evaluated under game-like situations is going to be very challenging without beating up the whole team. But there's some talent there and now it's just a matter of making sure we provide the situations where they can compete and hopefully separate themselves."
On whether DL Viliami Moala is the gem of the class as a five-star recruit
"V is a great player, there's no question about it. All the star stuff, I couldn't tell you what the stars are. They go back and forth between five, four, three. I can't keep track of that and I don't even try to keep track of that. You watch their tape and you figure out can they play or can't they, and you meet them and you find out if they're a good academic fit for us, what kind of kid are they, do they have good character, just all that type of stuff. We really never go on stars. He's a great player but there's a lot of great players in this class. You can go up and down from the Brennan Scarletts to the Todd Barrs, Brendan Bigelow - every position you could pick guys who are very good players... We feel like these guys have a bright future here at Cal."
On TB Brendan Bigelow's knee
"Every time I talk to him I ask if he's being a good patient. Last night when I talked to him he was icing it. He's got so much energy that I worry about him sometimes... I've tried to explain over and over to him that this is something that can affect your career so you really need to be mature about this and you need to take your time, and I think he understands that now. But he's a special players, there's no question about it."
On how nerve-wracking the process is for a head coach on the eve of Signing Day
"We've learned our lessons over the years - make sure there's paper in the fax machine and that type of thing... The recruiting process, the night before you stay up all night, talking to the kids on the West Coast, make sure you're putting them to bed, then you have to be up at 4 o'clock to get the ones that are coming from the East Coast, so very little time at night to sleep. But it's a very exciting day, everybody around the fax machine and yeah, you're kind of on pins and needles because you never really know what going to happen. Then, when they start rolling through, it's very exciting and you get to call them back and talk to the parents and everybody, and on the other end of the phone they're all excited and getting ready to do their signing parties and all that kind of thing. So it's a special day for the families and for the kids, and for our program and for the coaches who have worked very, very hard. The recruiting process and the travel, 4 a.m. wakeup calls to get on 6 o'clock flights to fly all over the country, it's very tiring. Our coaching staff did a phenomenal job of getting everywhere, making it into all these homes, making sure we explained what Cal's all about. The coaches worked extremely hard on this class."
On whether he is surprised by the success the program had with this signing class coming off a 5-6 season
"Not really. You always wondered. This is kind of uncharted territory for us... You don't know how it's going to affect recruiting, but again, the only thing I can come up with is our body of work over a long period of time and our consistency in bowl games and winning seasons and so on, I think said more."
On the new running backs in this class and whether they can contribute right away
"Yeah, they can. That's why we recdruited them, because after Isi [Sofele], Covaughn [Deboskie-Johnson] is still hampered by a knee and Dasarte [Yarnway] is coming off an ACL surgery and Trajuan [Briggs] has been injured, so you look at the depth and depth is pretty thin. Darren Ervin can play tailback, wide receiver.. You have [Brendan] Bigelow and [Daniel] Lasco, and all those guys. C.J. [Anderson] is a guy who has more experience coming from the JC ranks - he had a very good season last year. That position, besides Isi, is pretty much unproven."
On the new recruits in the defensive backfield
"Going into this recruiting class, corners were a must. You had to have corners because only Marc Anthony and Steve Williams have been on the field at corner for us, and Adrian Lee is coming off of shoulder. If you are a corner and you wanted to play early, this was a great place to come because they're going to line up in there and play from Day One. When you talk about Stefan [McClure] and Kameron [Jackson] and Joel [Willis], those guys are going to line up right there and compete right away."
On the importance of getting OL Matt William on campus and involved right away
"Very important because he doesn't have a lot of experience. He came over here from England to play basketball, but he's a 6-7 great athlete and you can watch him on tape, the way he moves for a big man, he's very athletic. So he's right here, right now in our winter conditioning, lifting weights. You can just see him getting bigger by the day with a good weight program. Spring ball's going to be very important for him. Matt will compete for some playing time this year."
More on QB Kyle Boehm
"The next step for him is going to be the playbook... I'm going to be working very closely with him. I'm really excited about it because he brings a lot to the table."