Cal Football: Meet the 18 Early Signees in Wilcox’s First Class

CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 02: Head coach Justin Wilcox of the California Golden Bears watches his team during their game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 02: Head coach Justin Wilcox of the California Golden Bears watches his team during their game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Stadium on September 2, 2017 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

The Cal football team added 18 players on Wednesday during early signing period in what will be head coach Justin Wilcox’s first full recruiting class.

Wednesday was the beginning of the early signing period, and Cal football welcomed 18 new players to the team. Get to know all the new baby Bears.

Johnny Adams, Jr.
Running Back – 5’10”, 195 lbs – Ben Davis HS in Indianapolis, IN

Adams, Jr. leads the early recruits lists alphabetically, and was also the first player to commit to Cal on Wednesday. In 2017, he was the IndyStar’s Mr. Football after rushing for 1,424 yards and 16 touchdowns, helping lead his team to a perfect 14-0 record. Coach Justin Wilcox posited that Adams is an “explosive athlete who has the ability to make a difference at Cal early in his career”.

Nick Alftin
Outside Linebacker – 6’5″, 240 lbs – Archbishop Mitty HS in Woodside, CA

Alftin joins a team that needs some depth in the linebackers’ room, and was a great pass rusher in high school. He totaled 15 sacks and 31 tackles for loss along with 35 quarterback hurries in three years. He was rated as a defensive end, but is likely more valuable to the team’s 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker.

Chigozie Anusiem
Defensive Back – 6’1″, 180 lbs – Sonora HS in La Habra, CA

A four-star cornerback, Anusiem was also a great wide receiver in high school. On the defensive side, he recorded five interceptions and 28 passes defended in three years at Sonora High. Coach Wilcox mentioned that Anusiem has the “versatility to play at either cornerback or safety”.

Louie Bickett
Linebacker – 6’4″, 215 lbs – Torrey Pines HS in San Diego, CA

In three years as a varsity linebacker, Bickett was a playmaker for Torrey Pines. He piled up 318 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, and five interceptions, and was the Avocado League Defensive Player of the Years in 2017. He has the ability to play both inside and outside linebacker, a valuable trait in the Bears’ thin group.

Christopher Brown, Jr.
Running Back – 6’1″, 220 lbs – El Camino HS in Oceanside, CA

Brown is a big back with a big résumé, gaining 3,249 yards and scoring 34 times in three seasons at El Camino High. 247Sports has him ranked as the nation’s 12th-best running back, and with Vic Enwere graduating, he could find a role early as the bruising, short-yardage back before his role expands.

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McCallan Castles
Tight End – 6’5″, 235 lbs – South Tahoe HS in South Lake Tahoe, CA

He brings an excellent name to go along with an exciting skillset. Castles is a four-star tight end, and the ninth-best tight end in the nation according to ESPN. In 2016, he set school records with 65 receptions, 1,193 yards, and 16 touchdowns. He also plays basketball and does the high jump, with coach Wilcox saying he expects Castles to “continue to grow physically when he focuses on a single sport in college”.

Matthew Cindric
Offensive Line – 6’4″, 270 lbs – Skyline HS in Sammamish, WA

A first-team All-State offensive tackle in 2017, Cindric was named the KingCo League Lineman of the Year. He was pretty good on the defensive side as well, totaling 13 sacks and nine tackles for loss in 2017 to be named first-team all-league. He’s a four-star recruit, and the 98th-best tackle in the nation, as ranked by 247Sports.

Will Craig
Offensive Line – 6’5″, 270 lbs – Granite Bay HS in Granite Bay, CA

Craig is a big get for the Bears, rated as the nation’s 13th-best offensive tackle and the 196th player overall by Rivals. He played on the line both offensively and defensively, and was first-team All-Sierra Foothill League as an offensive tackle in 2016 and 2017. He will still probably need to add a little size, but Coach Wilcox and his staff think “he is coming in at a high enough level…he should make an impact on our program rather quickly”.

Colt Doughty
Linebacker – 6’1″, 235 lbs – College of San Mateo

One of two junior college transfers on this list, Doughty played two productive seasons with the College of San Mateo. While there, he piled up 17.5 tackles for loss and three sacks to go along with 177 tackles, leading the team in tackles both seasons. With Devante Downs and Raymond Davison graduating, Doughty has an opportunity to contribute right away.

Jasper Friis
Offensive Line – 6’7″, 315 lbs – Aquinas HS in San Bernadino, CA

The massive Friis began playing American football while living in Germany, ironically enough, and continued to play after moving to the United States. He only has two seasons under his belt, but is already ranked as the 75th-best tackle in the nation by 247Sports. Coach Wilcox marked Friis as a “raw talent with a huge upside” who “has shown lots of promise during his short time playing the game”.

Aaron Maldonado
Defensive Line – 6’3″, 295 lbs – Bishop Amat HS in La Puente, CA

A two-time Mission League Defensive Player of the Year, he recorded 21.5 sacks and 26 tackles for loss at Bishop Amat. ESPN has him ranked as the nation’s 45th-best defensive tackle, and Coach Wilcox has had him on the radar since his early high school days. Coach also mentioned Maldonado’s strong academic track record.

Brandon Mello
Offensive Line – 6’6″, 285 lbs – Clayton Valley Charter HS in Clayton, CA

As a tackle, Mello helped pave the way for some extremely potent rushing attacks in his final two seasons at Clayton Valley. In 2016, his team averaged 315.2 yards on the ground before upping that average to 334 yards per game in 2017. Mello is part of an exciting group of linemen, with coach Wilcox believing that they give the team a “tremendous foundation for the future”.

Miles Owens
Offensive Line – 6’6″, 320 lbs – Bishop O’Dowd HS in Oakland, CA

Owens is another large individual, and played basketball and participated in track and field in addition to football. As a tackle, Owens is “just beginning to blossom…and will continue to grow”. Maybe with his size and obvious athletic ability, he could become a mauling guard in the middle of the line.

Nikko Remigio
Wide Receiver – 5’10”, 170 lbs – Mater Dei HS in Orange, CA

Remigio was part of the nation’s top-ranked team at Mater Dei, and twice earned All-Trinity League honors in three years. He caught 111 passes for 1,695 yards and 19 touchdowns, and was a four-star prospect by 247Sports and Rivals. The Bears have a deep receiving group, but adding a talented player like Remigio is never a bad thing.

Evan Tattersall
Athlete – 6’2″, 225 lbs – Granite Bay HS in Granite, CA

Tattersall is quite the versatile player, standing out as a high schooler on offense, defense, and special teams. As an outside linebacker, he was ranked as the 50th-best in the nation by 247Sports. Coach Wilcox loves the versatility this young man brings, and won’t limit him to a single position. The team expects Tattersall to “find his way onto the field somewhere early in his career”.

JH Tevis
Outside Linebacker – 6’3″, 225 lbs – Menlo HS in Piedmont, CA

Tevis’ high school numbers jump off the page. He racked up 105 tackles for loss, 51 sacks, four pass defenses, six forced fumbles, and 40 quarterback hurries in three years at Menlo. In 2016, he was the Peninsula Athletic League’s Ocean Division’s Defensive Player of the Year, and won the league’s overall Player of the Year the next season. He is an exciting addition to a linebacker group that is in need of some bodies.

Lone Toailoa
Defensive Line – 6’2″, 265 lbs – Mt. San Antonio College – from Auckland, New Zealand

Toailoa is another guy short on experience but long on talent. He was a rugby player in New Zealand, but came to the States to play football. He was a first-team All-American as a redshirt freshman in 2016, and second-team All-SCFA National Division Central League in 2017. Coach Wilcox is impressed with his transition, saying he “continues to develop…every day” and is a “strong and powerful force” who can help the team dominate in the trenches.

Slater Zellers
Long Snapper – 6’1″, 210 lbs – Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, AZ

Long snappers never get the recognition they deserve (unless things are going bad), but the Bears got a good one in Zellers. He was an Under All-American and ESPN’s top-rated long snapper in the nation, while coach Wilcox called him “one of the most developed and talented long snappers we have ever seen at the prep level”.

Next: NFL Player of the Week: Week 15

One notable name missing from the Bears’ early commits is Atonio Mafi. The 6’3″, 350-pound defensive tackle had committed to Cal, but flipped to conference rival UCLA, where former Bears’ defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro is the new defensive coordinator.

Welcome to the 18 new members of the team, and Go Bears!