Dykes targets trenches in 1st class at Cal
Sonny Dykes made the most of a tough situation in his first
recruiting class as coach at California.
Two months after inheriting a 3-9 team from the fired Jeff
Tedford, Dykes put together a 25-player class with an emphasis on
offensive and defensive linemen that ranks in the middle of the
conference, according to analysts.
Dykes managed to keep most of the key players who committed to
Cal when Tedford was coach and made a few key additions in the
closing weeks. While the class lacks star power, Dykes is pleased
with the depth he added on both lines of scrimmage with eight
defensive linemen and five offensive linemen.
”Those guys will never be the flashy guys in a recruiting
class,” Dykes said Wednesday. ”Football is won and lost in the
trenches. To add 13 quality players in terms of our lines was
The defensive group includes two junior college players, Sione
Sina and Kyle Kragen, who have already enrolled in school and could
make an immediate impact, as well as talented incoming freshmen
Takkarist McKinley, Tony Mekari and Garrett Hughes.
The offensive linemen may take more time to develop and Cal lost
its top player in that group when Cameron Hunt signed with Oregon
after originally committing to Cal when Tedford was coach.
Among the other standouts in the class are four-star quarterback
Jared Goff, speedy running back Khalfani Muhammad, linebacker
Johnny Ragin III and wide receiver Jack Austin.
The class is ranked by most analysts in the second 20 in the
nation, and is fifth in the Pac-12, according to Rivals.com
”Overall they did a pretty nice job. It was decent but they
didn’t blow anyone away with the class they signed,” Rivals West
recruiting analyst Adam Gorney said. ”Being fifth in the
conference with a coaching change is pretty commendable for
The class was light in numbers the secondary with only
cornerbacks Darius Allensworth and Cameron Walker, and at running
back where Khalfani Muhammad is the only addition. But the Bears
got good quality at those positions and could get immediate
contributions from Walker and the speedy Muhammad, a 100-meter
state champion in California.
”He’s a game breaker, somebody who can make things happen when
the ball’s in his hands,” Dykes said. ”When you look at our
roster we need those kind of guys. That’s an area we need to
improve in. We need game-breakers.”
The Bears also need a quarterback and Goff will get an
opportunity to compete with last year’s star recruit Zach Kline and
Allan Bridgford in spring practice. Goff, ranked as the eighth-best
pro style quarterback by Rivals, enrolled in January to get a head
”I love Jared Goff,” Gorney said. ”I think he’s a guy who has
moxie, intelligence, the arm and composure to go in and compete for
that starting job. I don’t think it’s locked in for Zach Kline in
any stretch. Both of them are more than capable of running the