Cal received verbal commitments from two 300-pound interior linemen this week, giving the Bears 10 commitments for the class of 2012 and their first commitments since landing wide receiver/cornerback Cedric Dozier in October.
But the big day for Cal is Saturday, Dec. 10, because offensive tackle Arik Armstead of Pleasant Grove High School (outside Sacramento), who is ranked the nation’s No. 1 recruit at any position by Scout.com, is scheduled vist Cal that day. Armstead has already visited USC, Notre Dame and Auburn, and Cal would be the fourth of Armstead’s five allowed visits, so the Bears are in the mix.
Furthermore, Amstread is on track to graduate in December, so he could enroll in college for the spring term and participate in spring football. That is, if he isn’t playing basketball. Amrstead is good enough in basketball that he could play for the Bears’ basketball team, too.
Also among the 14 players visiting Cal this weekend (Dec. 10-11) is Grant High School’s Shaquille Thompson, the brother of former Cal Syd’Quan Thompson. Shaq Thompson is the nation’s top-ranked safety recruit and the No. 5-rated recruit overall, according to MaxPreps.com, and No. 12 overall according to Scout. Cal is definitely in the running for Thompson, whose other four campus vists were to Notre Dame, Oregon, Washington and Arizona State.
Armstead and Thompson are ranked the nation’s No. 15 and 22 recruits, respectively, by ESPN.com.. Landing either would be a major coup for the Bears, and they have a shot at both.
Watch Armstead overpower opposing linemen like they were flies in the accompanying video.
At 6-8, 280, Armstead is smaller than the two offensive linemen Cal did receive commitments from.
One of the commits is a Bay Area product, 6-7, 317-pound Freddie Tagaloa of Salesian High School in Richmond, Calif. Although Scout.com does not rank him among its top 300 recruits in the country, and ESPN.com does not have him in its top 150, CBSSports.com’s MaxPreps ranks him as the No. 69 recruit in the country.
He is Cal’s fifth commitment from a Bay Area player, which is unusual for Cal, which tends to go outside the area for most of its talent.
He had offers from Stanford, USC and Oregon as well as Cal, so somebody must have thought he was pretty good, and reporter Mitch Stephens, who knows Bay Area high school sports as well as anyone, said he is the best interior lineman to come out of the Bay Area since Aaron Taylor and Derek Landri, both of whom starred at Notre Dame after playing at De La Salle and both of whom played in the NFL.
Tagaloa and his Salesian teammates, who are 12-0, were scheduled to play Ferndale in the North Coast Section Division IV championship game Saturday.
Tagaloa plays both offensive and defensive line, but since Tagaloa made his commitment to Cal offensive line coach Jim Michalczik, we can assume he’ll play offensive tackle.
That’s the same position as Cal’s other recent commit — 6-6, 300-pound Christian Okafor of Houston. Ranked the nation’s 241st overall recruit by Scout.com (which therefore ranks him higher than Tagaloa), Okafor originally committed to Texas Tech before changing his mind and picking Cal. He also had offers from LSU and Baylor, among others.
It’s another example of the strong recruiting ties Cal has in Texas. Okafor is the first Texas player to commit to Cal for next year, but he is the 13th Texas player in the past six years to commit to Cal.
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