All-American Preview

All-American Preview

Erik Brown, Shay Fields and others take the field after the New Year in several All-American games, and we've got the skinny on each and every one, including Cal's chances to flip a few other Pac-12 commits.

CALIFORNIA TARGETS IN ALL-AMERICAN GAMES
Joe Mixon, Oakley (Calif.) Freedom


Positional Ranking: RB 5
All-American Game: U.S. Army
Location: San Antonio, Tex.
Date/Time: Jan. 4, 2014, 12:00 PM CST
TV: NBC

VIDEO:
Oct. 13 vs. Heritage:

Early 2013 Highlights:

The Opening:

Oakland NFTC:
School choices: California, Oklahoma, UCLA, Wisconsin

Scouting Report: U.S. Army All-American Player of the Year nominee ... Mixon is an every down back who can do everything well. He runs with a nice blend of balance, power and speed. He has a great feel for the position and has that innate ability to sense where a defensive player is coming and either make a quick cut to elude him or take a glancing blow.

Mixon never seems to get hit square up, which given his size, is surprising but a testament to his mature running style. He has arguably the best hands of any back in the nation and dominated the summer 7 on 7 circuit as a receiver. He was the only back named a unanimous selection for all tournament honors at The Opening and is definitely a very special talent.

Where do the Bears stand? Mixon shocked the recruiting world when he said he would only have three hats on the table at the Army game, and none of them would be blue and gold. Both of our Scout.com West recruiting analysts have publicly said that they think it's a misdirect, as Cal had in very, very good position with Mixon for months. Sources close to the five-star tailback had said that his mother wants him to stay close to home so she can see him play, and Cal had been a constant presence whenever he's mentioned his hardest and most persistent recruiters. Mixon and his family's relationship with running backs coach Pierre Ingram is very strong. Dykes and Ingram got the last in-home visit for Mixon before the dead period began, which means they were the last voices in his ear before he'll decide at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. All that makes his sudden and surprising elimination of Cal a bit suspect, and could set the stage for some surprise shenanigans come Jan. 4.
Devante Downs, Montlake Terrace (Wash.)


Positional Ranking: FB 6
All-American Game: U.S. Army

VIDEO:
Junior Highlights, Part 1:

Junior Highlights, Part 2:

Sept. 12, 2012 vs. Lynwood:
Signed with California

Scouting Report: Though he won't be able to play as he continues to rehab from an ACL tear suffered in June, Downs will be in San Antonio for the game. A two-way prospect, offensively Downs looks like an optimal power-back. With good speed, and good size, he's a load to handle up the middle and does a good job of keeping his legs going and gaining yards after contact. Originally we had him rated as an outside linebacker, but his best position in college, at this stage at least, is likely as a power back.

Cal head coach Sonny Dykes says: "He's a big kid. He can play a ton of different positions. He's kind of gone back and forth, quite frankly, about where he wants to play. We're going to let him play where he wants to. We think he's that type of talent. He's 6-2-plus, 230 pounds, runs well, has been a running back. He could be a linebacker, he could play a lot of different positions for us. He's a great student, he's a great fit for Cal, academically, very mature kid. He's coming off of a knee injury, but I think I would expect him to go through spring football maybe in a limited capacity. I don't think he'll be a full-go guy this spring, but I think he'll have a chance to come in here and get his feet wet, learn what we're doing, do a lot of things, and I think he's a guy who's physically mature and will have an opportunity to get on the field for us, quickly."
Erik Brown, Fontana (Calif.) Summit


Positional Ranking: WR 27
All-American Game: Semper Fidelis
Location: Carson, Calif.
Date/Time: Jan. 5, 2014, 6 PM PST
TV: FOX Sports 1

VIDEO:
The Opening:

Junior Highlights:
Committed to California

Scouting Report: Brown is one of the most polished receivers in the west. He's a smooth route runner with good hands, deceptive speed and the athleticism to jump over smaller defensive backs and make the difficult catch in traffic. He runs well after the catch and can make plays down the field but probably projects best as a solid possession type receiver who can occasionally stretch the field.

For a player with his physical gifts, the knock on Brown has been his productivity on the field. Brown has yet to truly dominate at the H.S level the way he does on the summer 7 on 7 circuit. Part of that can be traced to breaking in a new quarterback as well as a system that doesn't feature him as much as you might expect.

Overall Analysis: This is a big pickup for the Bears and comes at a time when the program really needed a jolt of momentum. Brown has as much upside as just about any receiver in the state and with proper coaching, should be able to develop in to a difference maker early in his college career. The Bears have the kind of system that should allow Brown to excel in several different areas and his size and natural pass catching skills should make him a quarterbacks best friend from day one. -- Greg Biggins
Shay Fields, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco


Positional Ranking: WR 74
All-American Game: Semper Fidelis

VIDEO:
2012 Highlights:
Committed to: USC

Scouting Report: Fields isn't the biggest receiver, but he's one of the more pristine route-runners you'll find and has some of the softest hands of any receiver in the region. Very fundamentally sound as a receiver, and also does a terrific job as a downfield blocker. His uncle, Brian Treggs, is one of the finest receivers in Cal history, and his cousin Bryce is a sophomore receiver with the Bears. Brian Treggs is the receivers coach at Bosco so Fields has been training with him much of his life and is similar to how his cousin was out of high school in high football IQ, using his hands to catch, great body control and very good route running. -- Brandon Huffman

Why He Could Flip: The new staff at USC is not as enamored with Fields as he is with the Trojans, and the Bears could very easily capitalize. Cal brought entire offensive staff to his in-home visit, and it made a big impression. The fact that he's a relative of Bryce Treggs, and that he shares a close bond with the Bears' 2015 quarterback target Josh Rosen play huge in Cal's favor.
Chandler Leniu, Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco


Positional Ranking: MLB 12
All-American Game: Semper Fidelis

VIDEO:
PTP Kumite Highlights:

2012 Highlights:

2011 Highlights:
Committed to: Washington State

Scouting Report: Leniu played on a loaded team that will have seven to eight players sign Div I and many feel he's the best high school player in the group. He's only about 6-1 and that's really the only thing keeping him from having double digit offers right now. Leniu is very active and is equally strong in run support as well as being able to drop back in to coverage. He's a tackling machine (he had 23 against Corona Centennial in the state semifinal game), has a great nose for the ball and plays with a non-stop motor. -- Scout West Recruiting Team

Why He Could Flip: Leniu has described his commitment to the Cougars as "soft ... nothing big." Cal defensive coordinator Andy Buh came down at the last minute before the December dead period began to offer Leniu, and it made a big impression. The Bears can offer Leniu the chance to get early reps, since the depth at middle linebacker is uncertain, with Hardy Nickerson, Jr., and Nick Forbes both recovering from injury and freshman Chad Whitener uncertain to stay. Leniu considers Fields "a brother," and if Fields flips, chances go way up for Leniu. Those chances go up even further if Leniu takes an official visit in January.
Marcus Griffin, Bellevue (Wash.)


Positional Ranking: DT 28
All-American Game: Semper Fidelis

VIDEO:
Oregon NFTC:

2012 Highlights:
School choices: Arizona, Arizona State, California, UCLA, Washington, Washington State

Scouting Report: He is simply dominant as an inside pass rusher and shows all the tools you're looking for in a next level tackle. He has a solid frame at 6-2, 299 pounds, is very quick off the ball, uses his hands well and has a motor. He now looks like one of the top five DT prospects in the region. -- Brandon Huffman

Shows a wide array of skills ... He showed very good quickness off the snap, uses his hands very well, has great raw power and the closing speed to easily get around an opposing guard or center after he initially beats them. -- Greg Biggins

Where do the Bears stand? It was widely thought that Cal's persistence was one of the reasons Griffin decommitted from Washington State, and now that Downs has signed, the chances that the Bears land Griffin go way up. Cal has a lot to sell Griffin -- who took home a state title in December -- particularly the prospect of early playing time. True freshman Jacobi Hunter stepped in during the 2013 season and became one of the few bright spots on defense. By all accounts, Griffin is more polished at this point than Hunter was last year, so early playing time is a very real possibility.

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