BERKELEY (CBS / AP) — 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.”
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)