Bearizona: How Cal Landed Six Commits From State 48

There have been strong recruiting efforts from out-of-state schools in recent years.

USC landed the top two players in Arizona in 2016 in Austin Jackson and Isaiah Pola-Mao. Washington landed offensive tackle Matteo Mele and cornerback Dominique Hampton the following year. 

But you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better recruiting effort in Arizona than the Cal Bears in this 2019 class:

  • Desert Vista defensive tackle Brett Johnson
  • Chandler running back DeCarlos Brooks
  • Higley quarterback Spencer Brasch
  • Liberty linebacker Ryan Puskas
  • Liberty defensive end Braxten Croteau
  • Perry offensive tackle Brayden Rohme

This group features arguably the top interior defensive lineman, running back, offensive tackle, two leaders of one of the best defenses in the state and a quarterback headliners in one of Arizona’s best classes at that position. In a recruiting world based on stars, Arizona’s a bright constellation for the Bears.

In short, this group could be transformative for Cal moving forward.

“This group from AZ is strong,” Croteau said in a message. “We have been talking and getting a lot closer. I think we are all alike in the way that we love football and get things done the right way in the classroom. That’s what makes Cal a perfect fit.”

And the architect of this group has heavy ties to the desert. Cal special teams coodinator Charlie Ragle took a decorated Chaparral program to new heights in the 2000s and spent time recruiting for the University of Arizona before heading to Cal.

He’s always made Arizona a priority when recruiting, and he saw a big return with this class.

How Cal set itself apart:

They were early on offering these guys. Cal was Puskas’, Croteau’s and Johnson’s first Power 5 offer. They were second for Brooks, fifth for Brasch and sixth from Rohme. While they were early on the recruits, the recruits were early committig to them. Puskas, Croteau and Johnson all committed on April 15th. Brasch pledged in June, Brooks in July. Rohme was a bit of a holdout until August, four months before early signing day.

The other factor is was Ragle. One of the first things the commits recognized in his recruitment was how he didn’t mince words.

“You can see how much he cares about you and the sport, that meant a lot to me,” Rohme said in a message. “He kept it 100% honest the whole time and most of all is a good person, and his sensor of humor is 10/10.”

He was honest, upfront and critical in his conversations with these six players.

“He’ll tell you straightforward how it is,” Brasch said. “He won’t sugarcoat anything. He’ll tell you straight up how he feels about it.”

Cal did their due diligence to land a half-dozen players from Arizona. Now, it’s time for the desert half-dozen to take advantage.

“I want this group to really put in for Arizona and show that we producer ballers just like California and Texas,” Rohme said. “They have already started to change the culture at Cal, and I believe it’s our job to finish the job and win some Pac-12 championships.”

Mixing his passions for sports and storytelling, Jordan comes to Sports360az as a multimedia reporter/producer looking to share the best stories Arizona has to offer. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @JordyHamm