Oct. 12, 2012
BERKELEY -By Tim Miguel
Harper and Treggs both scored their first collegiate touchdowns in the 2012 season opener against Nevada, becoming the first set of Cal rookies to do that in their first game in eight seasons. In fact, Treggs' score came on his first collegiate touch. But how they got to Cal was quite different compared to their debut performances.
Treggs, who was listed as the nation's No. 11 freshman wide receiver by Phil Steele, announced on live local television that he would be attending Cal, putting the a Golden Bears' hat on in front of the cameras with his family applauding in the background. The announcement came after much speculation that he may switch his commitment just before signing day.
For Harper, his dream to come to Cal came with less fanfare.
"I didn't know if I was going to wind up here, but that was my dream school," Harper said. "All along I told my high school coach that I wanted to play at Cal, even when I didn't have an offer from Cal. Whenever I got an offer from somewhere else, I'd take it, but I wouldn't commit. The Cal offer came and I committed to them."
Harper, who said he's used to always being considered an underdog, had to work hard during training camp to impress his coaches. The hard work has paid off as Harper is Cal's second-leading receiver behind Keenan Allen, leading the All-American candidate following the first two games of the season.
"I didn't see that coming," Harper said about his fast start. "I didn't even know I was going to get that many throws my way, but I just do what I can with them and try to make a play. I didn't think I was going to be one of the guys who was going to make a major impact only because I wasn't one of the guys that they were looking for at first. I got my offer late, so I came on a mission, and my mission was to start, play and contribute. That's what's happening."
While Harper has gotten off to an electric start, Treggs has history on his side. Cal football is in his blood. His father, Brian, was a receiver for the Bears from 1988-91 and ranks tied for fourth on the school's all-time list for receiving yards.
Brian has been a major influence on Bryce's successes., constantly motivating Bryce and encouraging him to do more. It's something that's turned into a bit of a competition between the two, as Bryce is chomping at the bit for the student to beat the teacher.
"Every time we work out he says, `I've done it. I know. You're wrong. If you do it this way, it will work. The way you're doing it, it's not working.' Bryce said with a smile in reference to his father. "So there's a little competition because he thinks that because he's been there, done that, he thinks he knows more. Hopefully, at a point in time, we will know the same or I'll know more."
Bryce has already topped his father in one category. Bryce was a starter for his collegiate debut, while Brian didn't earn his first start until his third game.
Bryce said he felt a little bit of pressure being a starter in his collegiate debut since starters are expected to produce immediately. Already with the mentality of a seasoned veteran, Bryce said once the game started, the nerves and jitters went away.
Getting his first touchdown out of the way probably helped a little bit too.
"The first touchdown was good to help get the pressure off me," Treggs said. "It felt good to get that out of the way. It helped me loosen up. The rest of the game, I was playing loose, without any pressure."
Harper and Treggs agree on two things about playing at Cal - the difficulty level and the speed of the game is much more advanced in college compared to high school, and playing with Allen has helped their game out a lot.
"Keenan is a great mentor and a great leader," Treggs said. "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be starting right now. He's taught me so many things at the position that have helped me out a lot."
Eventually, Allen's time at Cal will end and Harper and Treggs will have to lead the receiver corps. If they continue to play the way they have at the start of this season, the Bears should remain strong at the position for many years to come.