Don’t expect class of 2014 recruits Luke Rebenzer or Vic Enwere to arrive at Berkeley ahead of schedule as did 2013 newcomer Jared Goff, who graduated from high school mid-year in order to enroll at Cal and attend spring workouts.
“It’s not in the cards for me,” said Enwere (pronounced en-WHERE-ee), a running back from Sugar Land, Texas, a Houston suburb. “I have things I want to do at home … I want to graduate with my class from high school.”
Likewise, Rebenzer, a quarterback from Scottsdale, Ariz., said he’s thought about it, but added, “At this point, it’s kind of too late to do anything about it.”
Rebenzer, who gave Cal an oral commitment last week, said offensive coordinator Tony Franklin floated the idea of red-shirting as a freshman or perhaps gray-shirting, meaning Rebenzer would not arrive on campus until the start of the spring semester (January 2015), delaying the start of his eligibility clock.
All that is down the road.
One thing seemed clear in my phone conversations with the two on Wednesday — each is as committed as a 17-year-old who has not signed a binding letter of intent can be.
Rebenzer had planned to take summer trips to check out the Air Force Academy and a couple Ivy League schools. “Now that I committed,” he said, “I’m just laying back the rest of the summer, just chilling.
“As far as recruiting goes, I’ve pretty much wrapped everything up,” Rebenzer said. “It’s a great feeling. A lot of the coaches say, `It’s your senior year, be with your team and cherish every moment you have.’ It’ll be nice to stay in the weight room this summer.”
Enwere expressed no waffling on his commitment. “I love the offense, I love the coaches,” he said. “I’m happy with my decision. It’s it’s early but I feel like I’m going to Cal.”
Both players get high marks from their coaches.
Saguaro High coach Jason Mohns on Rebenzer: “He’s a stud, a phenomenal football player. Everything we’re doing in our offense is going to have a read by Luke. He reads the defense very well. He’s a 4.2 student, scored a 29 on ACT, got 35 of 36 on the math portion. He’s a really high IQ kid, makes great decisions. We put a lot in his hands and he hasn’t let us down.”
Mohns said that Franklin was sold on Rebenzer the first time he watched his film.
“He was highly intrigued by him,” Mohns said. “Franklin visited in spring ball to watch Luke throw and told me after seeing Luke live he liked him more than he did before.
“He and coach Franklin are both perfectionists. I think they’re going to click. I know they already have.”
Austin Fort Bend High coach Daniel Schreiber on Enwere: “He’s a great kid, makes good grades, loves football. Really doesn’t have a lot of ego about him. The process sometimes makes them think they’re a little better person than they are — he’s not like that. They’re getting a good one.”
Schreiber said Enwere has a great combination of speed and strength. “He runs 4.4 and he’s got good vision. Squats 500 pounds so he breaks tackles. Runs north-south,” Schreiber said. “As a running back, he’s not one that won’t block. He’s done a great job this year working on being able to catch the football. Before he’s done, he’s going to be the total package.”
Like Rebenzer, Enwere is a strong student who had options at high-academic schools. His brother Ike is an engineering student at MIT and his sister Paulyann is studying to become a medical doctor at Texas-Galveston.
“Education was big for me, but I didn’t want it to outweigh everything,” Enwere said. “Cal fit the bill. They had what I wanted.”
Starting with — he stressed — the opportunity to play running back.
“I never understand where they got the different position thing on the internet,” Enwere said, referring to some online discussion that he might be moved to linebacker in college.
“I’m going to play running back. That’s what they want me to play. They want to me to come and carry the football.”
At 6-foot-1, 213 pounds, Enwere said he’s worked to develop his hands and to run crisp pass routes. He said he’s now able to line up in the slot and beat a defensive back for the ball.
As a runner, all he wants is the chance to carry the ball. Even once. “You buy your own carries by your performance.” he said.
Schreiber said reports that Enwere rushed for more than 1,600 yards last season are wrong. He had about 1,350 of the team’s 2,700 rushing yards, accumulated by three backs. Schreiber said it’s possible Enwere could become the school’s first 2,000-yard runner next fall.
Rebenzer’s numbers already are impressive. He has started 26 consecutive games, his coach said, completing 70 percent of his career attempts, with 70 touchdowns and just 10 intercetions.
The number that apparently scared off some recruiters is 6-feet — his height.
Mohns said Rebenzer is able to compensate with his speed, accuracy and athleticism.
“He’s a fast-twitch muscle fiber kid,” Mohns said. “He’s about 190 pounds, but when he spends a good year or two in a college football program, he’ll add some muscle mass to his frame. He can easily carry 205 pounds.
“Coach Franklin from the very beginning told Luke that being 6-4 wasn’t that important in their system.”