There are 15 days left before signing day, and Cal’s recruiting class is beginning to take shape as one of the better ones in the Pac-12. Not the best, but no longer deep in the second division.
That’s where the Bears’ projected class was rated two months ago.
In the days before Cal played its season finale at Oregon State, then-coach Jeff Tedford’s recruiting class was rated No. 47 nationally by Scout.com, No. 53 by Rivals.com. The Bears were on their way to having the eighth-best class in the Pac-12, according to Scout, the ninth-best by Rivals’ projections.
Here’s where Cal stood on Tuesday, a day after two more oral commits gave new coach Sonny Dykes a total of 25 would-be signees for Feb. 6: The Bears are No. 28 in the country and No. 5 in the Pac-12, according to Scout, No. 25 in the country and No. 4, according to Rivals.
NOTE: Want to know how fluid these ratings are? Cal was at No. 27 by Scout when I first checked around noon on Tuesday; by 1:30, the Bears had slipped a spot to No. 28.
Keep in mind, obviously, these are opinions. Educated opinions by folks who devote a lot of time and energy to the process. But it’s not concete science and we won’t know how well this class pans out for another year . . . or two or three.
Also, things can change between now and signing day. Just remember the upheaval that Cal experienced in the final two weeks a year ago.
Of course, that seismic shift came after recruiting whiz Tosh Lupoi bolted to Washington at about this time, prompting a change of heart by several would-be Cal signees.
Among the commits Dykes currently has, three are considered “soft,” including DB Darius Allensworth and DE Takkarish McKinley, both of whom visited Washington State last weekend. Neither has since publicly professed his permanent loyalty to Cal or flipped to WSU.
Likewise, OL Cameron Hunt — one of Cal’s top recruits — is said to be keeping his options open.
So the Bears could lose any or all of them . . . or keep them all.
Either way, progress has been made. Including those three “soft” commits, there are 11 prospects on Cal’s list who originally committed during the Tedford regime. Two more came onboard after Tedford was fired but before Dykes was hired. And 12 have given a nod since Dykes’ arrival.
It’s also worth noting that the recruiting rankings of Scout and Rivals are based on point systems where five- and four-star recruits are valued higher, but a class with big numbers of three-star prospects can override that.
For instance, USC has just 14 commits at this point, but all of them are either five-star (6) or four-star (8) players. That allows the Trojans to check in at No. 10 nationally, according to Scout. Their 4.43 average prospect rating is easily the highest of any team in the country.
UCLA is No. 9 on the basis of 14 four-star players. The Bruins’ average commit has a 3.62-star rank.
By comparison, Cal has two four-star prospects, according to Scout’s ratings, but its 25 commits, averaging 2.80 per man, vault the Bears to No. 28 nationally.
Cal currently sits ahead of No.30 Oregon in Scout’s rankings, but the Ducks’ 13-man class includes one five-star talent and six four-star players. Which group would you rather have?
Here is a summary of Scout’s current rankings:
1. Michigan: 26 commits, all high school, 3 5-star, 15 4-star, 3.77 average,
2. Ohio State: 22 commits, all high school, 3 5-star, 14 4-star, 3.91 average.
3. Texas A&M: 32 commits, 29 high school, 3 JC, 1 5-star, 15 4-star, 1st of five SEC schools in top 8, 3.50 average.
9. UCLA: 21 commits, all high school, 14 4-star, 3.62 average.
10. USC: 14 commits, all high school, 6 5-star, 8 4-star, 9 top-100, 4.43 average.
11. Washington: 21 commits, all high school, 9 4-star, 3.38 average.
21. Arizona: 26 commits, 21 high school, 5 JC, 3 4-star, 2.88 average.
28. Cal: 25 commits, 22 high school, 3 JC, 2 4-star, 2.80 average.
30. Oregon: 13 commits, 12 high school, 1 JC, 1 5-star, 6 4-star, average 3.46.
31. Arizona State: 24 commimts, 16 high school, 8 JC, 2 4-star, 2.67 average.
41. Oregon State: 20 commits, 15 high school, 5 JC, 1 4-star, 2.85 average.
44. Utah: 27 commits, 21 high school, 6 JC, 0 4-star, 2.56.
47. Washington State: 24 commits, 20 high school, 4 JC, 1 4-star, 2.50 average.
49. Stanford: 12 commits, all high school, 3 4-star, 3.08 average.
68. Colorado: 15 commits, all high school, 0 4-star, 2.47 average.