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

critical.”

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

them.”

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

start.

”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

offense.”