Cal coach Sonny Dykes unveiled a 24-player recruiting class Wednesday with a distinct Southeastern flavor.
Despite losing two potential signees from the Southeast quadrant of the country in the past three days, the Bears landed seven players from states where Southeastern Conference recruiters generally have their way.
“I was really pleased to see we were getting some guys from the South. Obviously, the South is where the best football is played — that’s a fact,” said defensive end Russell Ude, a defensive end from Atlanta who had offers from three SEC schools, including Georgia. “It shows that Cal can come into SEC territory and snatch up SEC talent.”
The Bears also signed players from Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas, where Carlos Strickland was a consensus four-star wide receiver in Dallas. Strickland said no to SEC powerhouse Alabama to come to Cal.
“I kind of want to go somewhere where we can rebuild and be a part of the come-up,” said Strickland, who became a Cal fan growing up when he followed the likes of Marshawn Lynch and DeSean Jackson.
The geographical slant to Cal’s recruiting seemingly netted a positive result this year. Rivals rated the Bears’ class in the top 30 nationally, and Scout has the Bears in the top 40.
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CAL’S 2015 RECRUITING CLASS
Austin Aaron: WR Napa 6-5, 210
Third-generation Cal athlete had 115 career catches, 2,082 yards, 23 TDs
Antoine Albert: CB Oakland 6-2, 220
Oakland Tech grad expected to join team in fall after 2 years at Diablo Valley College
Greyson Bankhead: WR Corona 5-10, 160
Excellent route-runner caught 137 passes for 2,061 yards and 22 TDs in prep career
Luc Bequette: DT Little Rock, Ark 6-2, 285
Mother Debi Thomas is a Stanford grad and 1988 Olympic figure skating bronze medalist
Ross Bowers: QB Bothell, WA 6-1, 175
Four-star ESPN recruit passed for 37 TDs for unbeaten state championship team
Derron Williams-Brown: Saf Laveen, AZ 6-2, 195
Mid-year JC signee arrives with three years’ eligibility and chance to find place in spring ball
Ryan Gibson: C Bay St. Louis, MS 6-3, 265
Started four years in high school, father played defensive back at Navy
Jaylinn Hawkins: ATH Buena Park 6-1, 180
Rated a four-star prospect by Scout and Rivals, could end up at WR or DB
Trevor Howard: DL Westlake Village 6-4, 235
Injured most of senior year; father played at Kansas, uncle at UCLA, grandfather at Wisconsin
Zeandae Johnson: DL Fresno 6-5, 250
Primarly a high school tight end, Johnson will play on the defensive side for Cal
Dylan Klumph: P Encino 6-3, 230
Golden West CC punter arrives with three years to play; could also do kickoffs
Billy McCrary III: Ath Leander, TX 5-10, 195
Dual-threat prep QB accounted for 72 career TDs, but will get first look as DB
Patrick Mekari: OL Westlake Village 6-5, 300
He is the younger brother of current Cal defensive tackle Tony Mekari
Kanawai Noa: WR Honolulu 6-0, 170
Prolific prep receiver had 146 career catches for 3.195 yards, 34 touchdowns
Lonny Powell: RB Sacramento 6-1, 205
Mid-year enrollee averaged 11.5 yards per rush or catch, with 38 career TDs in 38 games
Malik Psalms: CB Chino Hills 6-3, 175
Rated as a 4-star prospect and nation’s No. 27 cornerback by Rivals
Evan Rambo: Saf Pasadena 6-3, 190
Played exclusively on defense as a senior; could play several DB spots for Cal
Cameron Saffle: DL Sammamish,WA 6-3, 225
Played on two state title teams; expected to play defensive end for the Bears
Brandon Singleton: WR Bouttee, LA 6-0, 175
Speed receiver owns state high school 300 hurdles record; father Nate played for 49ers
Carlos Strickland: WR Dallas, TX 6-5, 200
Four-star prospect, who caught 25 TDs past two seasons, picked Cal over Texas, UCLA
DePriest Turner: Saf Mobile, Ala 6-1, 180
Passed and ran for more than 6,000 yards and 61 TDs as prep QB, will play DB for Bears
Russell Ude: DE Atlanta, GA 6-4, 250
Four-star prospect expected to play as freshman and provide boost to sagging pass rush
Semisi Uluave: OG Honolulu 6-5, 320
Rated by Scout as a 4-star and top prospect in Hawaii; does LDS mission factor in future?
DeVante Wilson: DE Corona 6-5, 245
December signee began career at USC in 2011 before knee injury sent him to Riverside CC