Cal’s coaches went to bed Tuesday night wondering what national signing day would bring for two of their commitments from the Southeast.
Wednesday morning arrived and the Bears kept one and lost one.
Defensive tackle Luc Bequette of Little Rock, Arkansas, sent in his signed letter-of-intent, choosing the Bears over strong, late pushes from Florida and Georgia.
But defensive back Keith Washington of Prattville, Alabama, flipped to Michigan, where he signed with new coach Jim Harbaugh.
Otherwise, things moved quickly and went according to form for the Golden Bears. By 8 a.m., they had 13 signed letters in hand, to go with four players who signed at mid-year and already are enrolled in classes.
In particular, Cal closed the deal on its biggest recruits – wideout Carlos Strickland of Dallas and defensive end Russell Ude of Atlanta. The Bears signed all four of their four-star commitments, also securing defensive back Malik Psalms and running back Lonny Powell, who signed at mid-year.
Bequette’s status was unclear after he’d taken trips the past two weekends to Georgia and Florida. In the end, he stayed with Cal, as Dykes signed seven of eight players from the Southeast with whom they had commitments.
“Proud to be a Golden Bear,” Bequette posted on his Twitter account. “This is going to be a great next 3-5 years. Thanks for the supporters. Next up . . . Prove everybody else wrong. . .”
“Luc is an under the radar student-athlete that we saw at our camp last summer. He has played both offensive and defensive line, and we like him as a defensive tackle,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said on the school’s athletic website. “We thought he really moved well. He is a young player with a tremendous upside that we think makes a lot of sense.”
Click here for video highights of Bequette in action.
Bequette has some serious athletic genes in his favor. His father Chris played football at Arkansas, his mother, Debi Thomas, is a Stanford grad and was the 1988 Olympic bronze medalist figure skater, and cousin Jake plays for the New England Patriots.
Cal also got Wednesday morning letters from: OL Ryan Gibson, Ath Billy McCrary, WR Brandon Singleton, DB DePriest Turner, DL Zeandae Johnson, DL Cameron Saffle, P Dylan Klumph, OL Patrick Mekari and DL Trevor Howard.
Already signed at mid-year, in addition to Powell, are QB Ross Bowers, DB Derron Brown and DE DeVante Wilson. All four will participate in spring practice.
Here are Dykes’ first comments on several of his top signees, courtesy of Cal’s website:
On Ude: “Russell is your prototypical defensive end. He has great size, great speed and is a very productive football player. He’s also an excellent student who comes from a great family and is just a solid person. He’s one of those kids that has the maturity to potentially come in and play early. We really like his upside. He’s going to continue to develop and we really like what he brings to our program.” Click here for video.
On Strickland: “Carlos is one of the elite wide receivers in the country. He has the exact size and speed everyone is looking for. When you put the film on I don’t know that anyone has a better combination of that in the entire country. He can go get the ball. We’re really fortunate that he has chosen to become a part of our program. He has an opportunity to get on the field relatively quickly and become a special player.” Click here for video.
On Psalms: “Malik was a very productive high school football player and is exactly what we’re looking for as a defensive back. He’s got length and tremendous athleticism and knows how to play the ball. He really changes direction well for someone with his size. He is also a great student.” Click here for video.