BERKELEY -- New Cal coach Sonny Dykes believes he began the process of rebuilding the offensive and defensive lines with his 25-man recruiting class, but potential holes remain as the Bears look forward to spring workouts in three weeks.
"Next year's class will probably have a little more star power," Dykes said Wednesday. "To me, we addressed exactly what we needed in this class, which is depth on the offensive and defensive lines."
The Bears lost out on four-star offensive guard Cameron Hunt, who signed with Oregon, as expected. But they landed five offensive linemen and eight defensive linemen to play in their new 4-3 alignment.
By comparison, former coach Jeff Tedford's first recruiting class at Cal in 2002 consisted of 12 players and was ranked No. 62 nationally by Scout. Former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh signed 19 players his first year of 2007 for a No. 43 ranking, according to Scout.
There are concerns, however. The Bears missed on two safety prospects they sought, and Dykes admitted, "One need we feel we came up a little bit short on is the defensive backs."
Cal signed two cornerbacks, including four-star Darius Allensworth, who is recovering from an
Meanwhile, the Bears signed just one running back -- 5-foot-8 speedster Khalfani Muhammad of Notre Dame-Sherman Oaks -- and face the prospect of being without a player at that position when spring practice begins Feb. 25.
Brendan Bigelow and Daniel Lasco, the Bears' two returnees at the position, both underwent recent minor surgeries. "All will be fine as we enter two-a-days in the fall," Dykes said. "It's going to look a little crazy this spring. I'm going to be playing running back this spring."
Bigelow, who rushed for 431 yards and averaged 9.8 yards per attempt as the Bears' No. 3 back last fall, had knee surgery for a meniscus tear. Bigelow had two ACL surgeries on his right knee in high school.
Lasco had what Dykes described as minor shoulder surgery.
Dykes anticipates Muhammad will be in the mix as a freshman. "He's a game-breaker," Dykes said of Muhammad, the 100- and 200-meter state sprint champ last spring. "He's somebody who can make things happen when he gets the ball in his hands."
Dykes said the "Cal brand" was a more powerful recruiting tool than he anticipated but acknowledged that the program's poor academic record was used against the Bears by
Signing strong students who can play football was a priority, he said, noting that only one of the 25 players signed still has yet to qualify academically for admission to school.
"We all know there's some academic issues," Dykes said. "We feel this class will help fix that."
The Bears cut ties with as many as four players who had accepted offers from the previous regime but didn't measure up in the classroom. Dykes said there will no additions to this class, meaning that defensive back Trey Cheek of Lawrenceville, Ga., no longer is part of their future.
Already, the coaching staff is courting high school players in the 2014 class -- including Freedom-Oakley running back Joe Mixon, who has offers from about two dozen high-level schools.
"We're going to be incredibly aggressive moving forward," Dykes said. "I'm really excited about next year's class already. We're going to make some big splashes pretty quickly."
According to scout.com, Cal's class ranked sixth in the Pac-12, but it slips to eighth in average star ranking of its players (2.81 on a 5-star scale).