FULLERTON, Calif. -- To whom did the Cal coaching staff compare three-star defender Trevor Howard?…
BEYOND THE COMMITMENT: Zeandae Johnson
In between, Cal scored commits on both lines, including offensive lineman Johnny Capra and first, with the commitment of Fresno (Calif.) Central East's Zeandae Johnson.
Johnson worked out for defensive line coach Fred Tate early in the day on Saturday, and after spending just three games on defense last year – yes, three games – Tate saw enough in the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder.
"I did those drills at the camp today, just balling, hoping for that offer," Johnson said on Saturday. "When I was at the camp, doing those drills, he was really instructive, and more hands-on. I like that."
Over the past several months, Johnson has been working hard on his defensive line play, after serving as a pass-catching tight end last season for the Grizzlies, hauling in 10 passes for 100 yards using his length, range and speed (he runs a 4.7-second 40).
"I'm going to be rocking the defensive side of the ball this year," Johnson said. "Last year, I had about four or five tackles. I didn't play defense that long."
What's he improved on the most?
"Mostly my hands, keeping them active," he said.
Johnson has also been focused on getting bigger and stronger in order to play defensive end at the next level.
"Ever since [Cal] started talking to me last spring, I've been working in that weight room and adding a bit more weight, a bit more weight. That's where those 10 pounds came from," Johnson said.
Johnson has a broad frame with a lot of room to add weight. While he doesn't have to add a whole lot in order to play end, he has plenty of room to get even bigger, perhaps into the 270-pound range, and at that size, he'd be ideal to place on the inside at defensive tackle, which, word is, is where the Bears see him eventually.
Saturday, though, was all about seeing how well he can fit in at end.
"Basically, they wanted to see my D-end skills, and we worked in those on drills in camp," Johnson said. "They liked what they saw."
After Johnson left campus, it didn't take long for the staff to call him.
"First, we went through some drills with coach Tate, and after that, we walked back to the office, had a little conversation. On the way home, I got a phone call from coach Tate, he offered, I committed. Simple," Johnson said, matter-of-factly.
Why did he pull the trigger so quickly? For one, he said Cal was his dream school. It was a no-brainer.
"Cal's just a special place," he said.
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