The two programs in the Pac-12 with the most current commitments have very different recruiting classes.
USC's class is loaded with elite players with eleven 4 stars and one 5 star out of their sixteen. With several top recruits from the state of California yet to decide, they could easily add several more and finish at or near the top of the national class rankings.
Cal's class is quite a bit different. Out of their seventeen commitments, fifteen are 3 stars and the other two are 2 stars. I'm not a believer that stars tell the whole story or that all 3 stars are created equal, but it's at least a little bit concerning that they haven't landed any players who are considered to be blue chip at this point with that many players already committed. They also have no players with 4 stars or higher currently predicted to commit to Cal in the 247Sports Crystal Ball picks.
It's a long time until signing day and a lot can change from now to then, but here's some thoughts on what Cal is getting in with their current commitments.
Cal is in great shape at quarterback
Last year Cal picked up a player in Ross Bowers that wasn't highly ranked or screamed future NFL quarterback like Jared Goff, but he's still a player that could end developing into a quality starter. This year, I like the two players they have committed at the position even more than Bowers.
Max Gilliam is one of the more underrated quarterbacks prospects on the west coast and has rare pocket presence for a player his age. I like him more on film than a lot of the quarterbacks who were selected to compete at the Elite 11 this year.
Armani Rogers may have as big of an upside as any quarterback in the nation. He's going to need some time to get better, but the raw tools are there for him to be great.
Size at corner could be a big issue in the future
I saw Traveon Beck in person at The Opening and he stood out for one reason and it wasn't a great one: he had to be the tiniest player there. He is listed at 5'10" 170 pounds on a lot of sites, but there is no way he is that big. That's not even big to begin with, so smaller than that is really not good. He played primarily as a slot corner in that setting and was not an option to play on the outside. I think he would have been eaten alive by some of the bigger receivers that he would have had to face at the camp if he did play on the outside.
I like his film a lot and I do think he can play in the Pac-12, but I don't know if he can be any more than a slot/nickel corner.
The other two corners that Cal has committed, Joshua Drayden and Camryn Bynum, are both listed at 5'10" as well. The question now is if they are really 5'10". Even at that height, they are still going to be in tough matching up with players like USC commit Josh Imatorbhebhe (6'2" with a 40 inch plus vertical) and other bigger receivers in the conference. Landing one undersized corner is something that programs can make an exception for. Landing three is a little scary. Height and length are valued so highly at cornerback for a reason.
I liked Drayden's film as much as I liked Beck's, but it's been said before that a corner could play with perfect technique and be step for step with a receiver and still get beat because of a size mismatch. Hopefully this isn't a theme for the Bears secondary going forward.
Matthew Laris is a potential steal out of the state of Washington
Laris is an example of a player that Cal's smaller corners could have trouble with because of size. At 6'4" and 210 pounds, even big corners may have trouble with him. He's got more juice after the catch than you would think and was an extremely productive player as a junior.
He's someone that I will be keeping an eye to see how he progresses once he gets to Cal.
Front seven recruiting is still not humming
Cal hasn't played very good defense in awhile, so it's tough to attract good recruits to play in their front seven. Then again, it's tough to play good defense if a program doesn't land those good recruits. Cal really needs to develop players internally to get better in this area because they just aren't picking up any impact guys as of right now.
JUCO defensive end Rusty Becker did not jump out to me on film. He looks a lot bigger now than he did during last season and earned an offer at camp, but he still looks like a developmental player and he is coming from a JUCO. That's typically not good to have.
I do think defensive tackle Chris Yaghi, linebacker Markus Wright, and defensive tackle Tevin Paul have the potential to eventually become solid contributors for the Bears defense. I also think that all three of them are more than likely a few years away from actually becoming those contributors.
Cal needs help in their front seven and they need it now. It would be huge for them to somehow land a recruit down the stretch that could make an immediate impact for them there. We'll just have to wait and see if that is something that could possibly happen by signing day in February.