Football: How badly will Cal recruiting be impacted by its 1-11 record on the field?

The Cal football program is desperate to earn on the recruiting trail what eluded the Golden Bears during coach Sonny Dykes’ debut season: A few big victories.

Cal’s 1-11 record this fall stole much of the momentum generated when Dykes was hired a year ago, and it threatens to torpedo the Bears’ recruiting efforts.

Signing day is Feb. 5, and the early returns aren’t encouraging. Cal already has lost two top committed high school players, several more are wavering, and the Bay Area’s No. 1 prospect hasn’t decided where he’ll go.

Brandon Huffman, national recruiting analyst for Scout.com, says the Bears’ belly-flop season is the culprit.

“It had the potential to be so much better,” Huffman said. “There was a lot of traction when Sonny Dykes was hired, with NorCal kids especially. Now those kids aren’t even thinking twice about Cal.”

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A look at how the first season of the past six Pac-12 coaches hired to fix losing programs impacted their second recruiting class:

* STEVE SARKISIAN, Washington-x

On the field: The Huskies went from 0-12 the year before Sarkisian was hired to 5-7 in his 2009 debut season. Plus-5.

On the recruiting trail: Sarkisian’s first class (before he’d coached the team) was rated No. 66 nationally by Scout.com. A year later, his class was No. 11. Plus-55.


On the field: The Wildcats went from 4-8 the year before Rodriguez was hired to 8-5 in his 2012 debut season. Plus-3.5.

On the recruiting trail: Rodriguez’s first class was rated No. 46 nationally by Scout.com. A year later, his class was No. 27. Plus-19.


On the field: The Bruins went from 6-8 the year before Mora was hired to 9-5 in his 2012 debut season. Plus-3.

On the recruiting trail: Mora’s first class was rated No. 12 nationally by Scout.com. A year later, his class was No. 3. Plus-9.

* TODD GRAHAM, Arizona St.

On the field: The Sun Devils went from 6-7 the year before Graham was hired to 8-5 in his 2012 debut season. Plus-2.

On the recruiting trail: Graham’s first class was rated No. 43 nationally by Scout.com. A year later, his class was No. 30. Plus-13.

* MIKE LEACH, Washington St.

On the field: The Cougars went from 4-8 the year before Leach was hired to 3-9 in his 2012 debut season. Minus-1.

On the recruiting trail: Leach’s first class was rated No. 50 nationally by Scout.com. A year later, his class was No. 38. Plus-12.


On the field: The Bears went from 3-9 the year before Dykes was hired to 1-11 in his 2013 debut season. Minus-2.

On the recruiting trail: Dykes’ first class was rated tied for No. 31 nationally by Scout.com. A year later, his class currently is No. 59. Minus-28.

x — Sarkisian now is coach at USC.

Jeff Faraudo

  • The Wisdom Cow

    It’s a decent starting point, but HOW they lost and the defeated post game interviews by Dykes are the real killers.

    Had the offense been as advertised, had the loses been close and CLEARLY a result of the injuries on defense, then I don’t think the record would have been such an issue.

    I can’t imagine this turning around any time soon.

    Here is a question. How long until Cal manages a recruiting class ranked #30 or higher? Another way to think about it, how long until Cal has a recruiting class in the top 3rd of the Pac 12? Top half?

    Sepuku stuff, eh?

  • Steve W

    Tre Watson and his Corona HS team are playing for all the marbles tomorrow night against the state’s numer one ranked team, St. John Bosco. Bosco has been a stone wall against running backs all season. If Watson hangs his normal 200 plus on Bosco, then he might very well be the best running back in California with all due apologies to Joe Mixon. Love what he said about sticking with Cal.

    Running backs can change programs. Russell White won a couple of games by himself in Cal’s epic 91 season.

  • Juancho

    I think Watson is a great player. I think he’s the Forsett to Mixon’s Lynch.

    Eric – did you ever find anything out on Koa?

  • Rob Bear

    Our challenges are many, a big one of course being recruiting. And yes, all of the above mentioned teams had much better seasons than we did. With that said, it is interesting to note that the examples of coaches listed above all have one thing in common: they have yet to win the PAC 12 Championship with all of those stud recruits….

    Beat Fresno State with EXTREME PREJUDICE!

  • Juancho

    Simple. Add stanford. Their rise correlates to star recruits. Luck. Their o line. Montgomery. Their tight ends and defense.

  • Juancho

    Just finished reading through the whole article. Great work Jeff.

    I can’t help but think I’m a co-writer on this one since over the last few weeks I was harping on how first year coaches with the exception of Leach, in our conference, provided an immediate improvement. That led to better recruiting.

  • rotfogel

    This recruiting class basically comes down to one player, Joe Mixon.

    If Cal get Mixon, that’s all they’ll need. He’ll be a three year player in college, he’s that good.

    I really really hope he chooses Cal. With a great running game Cal would probably score way more points…at least in theory.

  • Juancho

    One of our running back commits, Vic Enwere is on a visit to Michigan today.

  • Juancho

    Kind of throwing this one out of left field. But I just remembered.

    Jeff, is the whole player that beat his teammate up and hospitalized him situation officially over now?

    Did the University say if they will release any information from their investigation? Are you or other members of the press planning to follow up ?

    Or is it water under a bridge at this point. Just want to know so I can cross it off my holiday checklist.

  • milo

    How utterly depressing. So it comes down to winning, like duh!

    If Dykes does not win 5 games next season, he’s toast, Texass Toast. Tired of the Texass fast talking and not winning. By basically estimates using wins, Jeff Tedford in his worst season is three times better than Dykes.

    If there were the old west Sonny would be shoveling horse crap back in the barn, not leading the cavalry.

  • Reality check. We just went 1-11. Many times blown out. We had several big time at the time recruits either transfer or leave the team (four four star recruits last I checked). Did anyone really expect a great recruiting class given the progress the other Pac-12 schools have made in the last two years.

    Our two great hopes seem to be a three star rated QB from Arizona and a three star RB from California — both who put up great numbers in high school –but are at first glance appear a bit undersized at the college level. Watson is rated the number 33 RB in the nation. Not exactly Mixon, but we can hope. Although word has it he is still window shopping other schools.

    Then again recruiting is only half the battle. The other challenge is coaching them when you bringing them on board which is where an experienced coaching staff of assistants makes all the difference. Wish I could be more optimistic there.

  • wehofx

    Don’t forget Erik Brown, 4 star wr.

    But, yeah, depressing. Even more depressing if koa bails.

    Still on the SD bandwagon. Still hoping buh gets fired during the next recruiting dead period.

  • Juancho

    Buh had harbaugh as a boss at stanford and was unable to succeed there. I just think were wastimg time and the inevitable is he will be gone in a year or two.

    I just will always find it weird that we hired a guy who did this job at stanford, and did not have a good track record there.

    But. Im being more pisitive. Maybe it all changes this year.

  • Question? Do any of Cal’s assistants have much NFL playing or coaching experience to speak of? Top recruits like coaches that they think can take them to the next level. Look at the assistant coaches Mora hired at UCLA, lots of pro experience. As does Mora of course. Dykes had a chance to keep Cal coaches like Wes Chandler and Ambrose, but choose to replace them with coaches he knew, most from small school backgrounds and outside of the California recruiting market as well. Anyway we will know soon enough in early Feb. I am sure the importance of this year’s class is not lost on them

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Must be nice to still be on the Sonny bandwagon, lots of room to stretch out.

  • rotfogel

    That was funny. I’m picturing one person on a bandwagon being towed by a tractor across an empty field.

  • Woj

    Checking in for the first time in weeks. I just hate to be right all the time with Cal football but the facts are what they are – I said months ago Cal would go 1-11 and they did. I said Stormy Dykes needs to be canned now and he does even though 2fer AD won’t to save her job. I said the ace recruiting Woehoe and his ilk were banking on was utterly foolish that NO 4 and 5 star recruits would think twice about joining the Cal Titanic for 2014 and 0 FBS wins in 2013 and all the decommits later – I am again correct.

    Cal 1-11 in 2014 with Dykes and his bevy of 1 star and 2 star nowhere else to go ’14 recruiting class. 0-12 if they lose to Sac. St. which I’m 50/50 on happening.

  • wehofx

    woj = moron

    moron is a broken record. repeating itself over and over. can you say alzheimer’s?

    still trolling the troll. LMFAO

    Wisdom, yeah, I got plenty of room on the bandwagon.

  • covinared

    I predicted several years ago that moron+woj would spend his life wacking off to internet porn and trolling football Cal sites. So far I’m correct.

  • Juancho

    Nothing wrong with porn covina. Please dont sully its name.

  • Woj

    Good to see that you idiots got out from behind 2fers wide behind long enough to read my prescient post. Facts are clear — I’ve been correct time after time after time this year. That ‘moron’ terms is so lame. Go ahead and try to refute me on fact. Tell me again how you predicted cal was going to win was it 5 or 4 or 3 games in 2013? How the ‘Bear Raid’ offense was going to be good but as I predicted turned out to be nothing more than an empty moniker. And Andy Buh – 3 games into the season I said can this guy promoted 5 levels about his true pay grade. Stanford in 2009 thought so – turns out they were right. Facts are facts and I’ve been right and you wrong. Last fact for 2013 — Only $$$ the admin doesn’t want to pay to terminate all 3 is keeping Dykes , Buh , 2fer on board. Cal 2014 = 1-11 or 0-12 (Sac. St – Cal is a tossup).

  • BlueNGold

    Woj if you announce that you are leaving this blog and then come back a couple of weeks later to spew more of the same shyte, its no wonder so many people think you are moron posting under another name.