Jason Scheer of WildcatAuthority and I go back and forth in a unit-by-unit analysis of California…
VISIT REPORT: Downs Breaks it Down
"I liked seeing all the players and all the coaches that I didn't meet already. I had fun meeting everybody," Downs said of his first trip to Berkeley since he committed back in August. "It was really cool. There were a lot of people, and I liked the atmosphere a lot … My future teammates are actually cool. I get along with them. They're not weird people. They're actually cool."
Downs – who plans on enrolling early – spent much of the visit with the redshirts, and with an already-well-known super-recruiter: Avery Sebastian.
"He thinks we can do big things, and he told me why he picked Cal and that I'm making a smart decision going there," Downs said.
Sebastian wasn't the only player who accompanied Downs. The three-star athlete said that he bonded most closely with another defensive back: Trevellous Cheek.
"He's really cool, funny and down-to-earth," Downs said. "He was telling me what his experience was like, and that's going to help me a lot when I get there."
Downs is rated as a fullback, but committed to Cal as an athlete, so he may wind up spending more time with his new defensive best buds when he arrives in Berkeley.
During his trip, Downs talked with both offensive and defensive coaches, who said that he would come in as a big back and a linebacker, specifically. He laughed that, with the amount of linebackers having gone down due to injury, he almost had to play.
"I talked to coach [Pierre] Ingram a lot, I talked to coach [Andy] Buh a lot, I talked to coach [Sonny] Dykes a lot, I talked to coach [Barry] Sacks a lot, I talked to coach [Tony] Franklin for a little bit. I pretty much got everybody," Downs said. "The most animated one was definitely coach Sacks. He was funny."
Downs tore his ACL during an Oregon State prospect camp, and he's making a lot of strides towards recovering, strides that will be accelerated once he's able to get into Cal's Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance.
"I only tore my ACL. I'm lucky I didn't tear anything else, so that means my recovery should be faster. I can run now, I can do side-shuffles, I can backpedal and I'm about to start cutting in a month, so I'm doing really well," Downs said. "I feel like I'll get a little bit more work, definitely, and more just to be sure, but I'll be doing good. I want to get better. It's just time. Time is the best healer. That's really reassuring that I'll have all that technology to get back on the field and help the team."
With his official visit to Berkeley just concluded, Downs has scheduled two more officials, one to Corvallis on Nov. 23 and one to Arizona State on Nov. 30. He also may visit Washington State.
"If I'm interested in them, and they ask me. Not if they just ask me – if I'm interested and want to know more," Downs said. "Washington State asked me, but they didn't schedule me yet. They're telling me all these great things that they have for me, and I want to check it out, just to be sure."
After his weekend, though, Downs remains very much committed to Cal.
"It's the same as it always was. I'm committed, and I went there and I liked it, so nothing's really changed," he said. "I ate dinner with the coaches, I ate breakfast with them, hung out with them. I spent a lot of time with them. They told me that it's obviously a disappointing year, but they have a lot of youth and a lot of injuries, so that's not a good combination. Next year, with our determination and hard work, belief in the system, belief in each other, they can accomplish great things."
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