SAN LUIS OBISPO, California. – A total of 13 recruits, all athletes of the California high school, signed national letters of intent during the early signing period for the class of 2021.
The three offensive linesmen, a quarterback, a wide receiver and a tight, as well as three defensive linesmen, two defenders and two defensive backs all signed national letters of intent on Wednesday. Five of the 13 players led their teams in preparation for the 2019 state championships, including three from a high school, Corona del Mar.
The announcement was made by Bo Baldwin, Mustang’s freshman football coach, and Don Oberhelman, Cal Poly’s athletic director.
The early signing period for Division I football is only three days. Also on Wednesdays, the period of signature of the community transfer of the middle year is opened and closed on the 15th. January shopping. The usual time limit for signatures is 3. Until February 1st. April set.
Going back to last February, we continue to find variety and length, said Baldwin, who was hired in December 2019 to lead the Mustangs’ football program after nine seasons as head coach at Eastern Washington and recently three seasons as offensive coordinator at Cal. Range and length are extremely advantageous in most positions, and it is difficult to manage when you are on the other side of the ball.
Our foundation here is fantastic, and I love working with the student athletes who are here, but you’ll always find areas where we can get involved, maybe get a little more into the quarterback, or maybe get a little more human, Baldwin added. In any case, I think that this lesson, together with many of the ones we were able to sign last year, in December and February, will help us to take this program to a higher level.
Seven out of 13 recruits are six feet or higher, most of them in the outer linebacker, defensive or mid forward positions. They have the length and size that Baldwin and his coaches were looking for, despite the COVID-19 pandemic that forced coaches across the country to recruit not through personal visits, but by phone, email, video, film and YouTube.
Our assistants have done an excellent job in this process. They have built these relationships and worked hard at a time when recruitment is not easy, Baldwin said. That’s different. It was hard, but it’s hard for everyone. We’re not at a disadvantage because we’re all dealing with the same thing. It’s a challenge. There is no denying that it is difficult to get from primary school to high school, but we are all in the same boat. You have to dig deeper, find creative ways to get an idea of what you want your class to look like.
Cal Poly won the Big Sky Championship in its first season in the conference (2012), set a record 32-32 in its first eight years in the Big Sky, won five conference titles in the past 16 years, including four in its eight years in the Great West Conference (2004-11), and finished fourth in the play-offs of the NCAA Division I in 2016 for the NCAA Football Championship.
From the left : Jake Trachtman (74), Thomas Bouda (58) and Tommy Griffin (3) of Corona Del Mar, all signed with Cal Poly. Photo submitted.
Cal Poly will start its postponed 2020 football season on the 27th. February against southern Utah, with a 1 p.m. kick-off set at Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
Signature (in alphabetical order) :
Thomas Buda, DT, 6-3, 240, Newport Beach, California. (Corona del Mar High School) One of three Mustangs to play under coach Dan O’Shea at Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, California. Buda made 28 tackles in 2019 as a junior, 11 of which for a lost yard and 6.5 bags. The team leader also called a rushed quarterback and intercepted a pass. The Sea Kings have a 16-0 record in 2019, including first place in the Sunset League, the CIF Division 3 Championship and the California Division 1-A State Championship. Bouda was named the best offensive lineman in the Sunset League, the lineman of his team of the year, the second All-Orange County team and was named the Dream Team by the Daily Pilot. In 2018, Buda, a sophomore, made eight tackles in 11 games. Buda was also recruited by the military in West Point, Nevada, Stetson, North Arizona, the Navy, the State of Sacramento and the east of Washington. He chose Cal Poly because the academics are top class and that defines your future very well. I have a very good relationship with the management and I look forward to the future.
Baldwin: Another excellent Corona del Mar player, Bouda has the ability to play a very free technique or a defensive end in certain patterns that emphasize his size, hardness and strength and his athletics to come out. He is extremely strong with his hands, incredibly strong and his bike is at a level you don’t often see. He is constantly on the move and under pressure, and playing the key with his height and weight says a lot about his mental endurance and motor skills and the incredible physical abilities he will bring. It also brings versatility to our defense.
Dominic Childress, DL, 6-3, 275, Tracy, California. (Mountain House High School) A wrestler and basketball player, Childress made 40 tackles (19 solo) as junior head coach Jason McCloskey at Mountain House High School, located about 8 miles northwest of Tracy. His figures also include 2.5 rush tackles for yardage loss, all bags, as well as a quarterback’s hurry and four pass breaks. Mustangs were 1-9 in 2019. In the second year of the 2018-19 basketball season, Childress achieved an average of 9.0 points and 6.2 rebounds.
Baldwin: He’s only played soccer for two years. He is captain of both the football team and the wrestling team, and has many rough and high ceilings. He has a very good work ethic, is really explosive with the ball, shows great balance and can be something on the defensive. He can play nose-tackel and defensive tackle. The ability to be versatile on this side of the ball speaks volumes. He will graduate early and join us in January.
Josh Cuevas, TE, 6-4, 230, Los Angeles, California. (Campbell Hall High School) As junior head coach Dennis Keys at Campbell Hall in 2019, Cuevas captured 55 passes for 700 yards and 11 touchdowns on offense and registered 62 passes, 10 lost yards and four bags, as well as four steals and two pass breaks. He also scored a quick touchdown on a 20-yard run. Campbell Hall won 4-6 in 2019 and Cuevas was named the offensive player of the year. In 2018, in his second year, Cuevas took 31 passes for 380 yards and 10 touchdowns and made 32 tackles with a forced mess, an interception and four pass breaks on defense. He was named Rookie of the Year of his team and ended up in the second team of the All-Gold Coast. Cuevas also plays baseball for the Vikings and scores 0.226 in 23 games in the first year, 0.294 in the second year in 2019 and 0.353 in six games in the junior in 2020 before the season ends due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Basketball player and for the Vikings he has been playing sports since he was three years old. Cuevas also received offers from San Jose State, UC Davis and Tarleton State before he decided to continue his academic and athletic career with the Mustangs, because Cal Poly not only has a very competitive football program, but also an excellent facility.
Baldwin: Cuevas is a very athletic child, big and physical, he is 6-4 and 245 tall and plays on both sides of the ball, which you really like because it also shows a certain mentality of playing a lot of pictures and fatigue. We are also very excited about some of the physical attributes he showed to the defense. He shows great strength and toughness as a ball carrier and passer-by, a tight end with the athletic ability to do something after the catch. He has a very good landing radius, and not only is he a receiver playing at the end of the line, but he is physically in the running game and gives you a kind of built-in man.
Tommy Griffin, C, 6-2, 195, Corona del Mar, California. (Corona del Mar High School) The second of three final-year students of the Corona del Mar High School selected in Cal Poly. Griffin has worked with the Sea Kings a total of 107 tackles and 11 strikes for 125 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons. As junior coach under Dan O’Shea, Griffin recorded 64 tackles (30 solo) in 2019, including 4.5 for a lost yard, as well as three interceptions, 19 stride breaks and an awkward recovery. His interception two seconds from the end ended the Corona del Mar state championship season in Division 1-A and captured a perfect 16-0 season. The Sea Kings were the champions of the Sunset League and also won the Division 3 title in the southern part of the CIF. Griffin was named First Team All-Sunset League, First Team All-Orange County, First Team All-CIF – Southern Section Division 3 and landed on the Daily Pilot Dream Team. In 2018 he counted 43 tackles (17 solo) with 10 broken passes as second year. Griffin received offers from 10 schools in Division I, including San Jose State, Nevada, Army West Point, Navy, Penn State, Columbia and UC Davis, before choosing Mustang because of its excellent balance between academics and athletics, its geographical location and confidence in its management staff.
Baldwin: He is the son of a former coach and a natural leader with an incredible length and reach at the security post. He is also very good at football and intelligent, very well balanced in a defensive back position. We don’t always have boys of that height, the ability to cover the field and play physically, but we also have athletics, footwork, immaterial things of that height. He brings a lot of versatility and talent, and his maturity outside the field will contribute to his early success.
Zion Hall, WR/RS, 5-7, 165, Bakersfield, California. (Garces Memorial High School) under head coach Richard Cornford at Ridgeview High School in 2019, Hall captured 70 passes for 893 yards and eight touchdowns and was selected to the All-Southern Yosemite League first team and Bakersfield’s California All-Conference team. He also ran once, and it was a 51-yard touchdown, averaging 26.2 yards per kick return and 16.6 yards per kick return. The wolf pack won 8-4 points, won the Southern title of the Yosemite League and advanced to the quarter-finals of the CIF Central Division playoffs. Hall, who made 13 assists against Clovis North and 10 against Frontier, was named after the first team in the All-South Yosemite League and was selected by Fresno County. He was team captain and had a 4.1 point average. In the second year, Hall ran for 285 yards and six touchdowns and caught four passes for 57 yards and two more scores. He was invited to the All-American Bowl in Texas. Hall has been transferred to Garces Memorial for his last season, which hasn’t been played yet. Hall is accepted for Bethel College, Rose-Hulman, Webber International, Nevada, San Diego and Pacific, Oregon. Hall chose Cal Poly because it was the school I went to most, the connection with the coaches was real and the location was close to where my family lives.
Baldwin: Zion is an explosive athlete who can really break his neck in defense. He has a natural ability to catch the ball and run after it. It gives you a lot of flexibility in the position, can beat a cornerback one-on-one and can escape in a man-to-man situation. He brings the ability to make large pieces in our attack.
Je’Cob Jones, LB, 5-11, 220, Fresno, California. (Central High School) Over the past two seasons, under coach Kyle Biggs, Jones has done 207 performances at the Central High School in Fresno. His stats as a junior include 85 tackles (24 solo), 13.0 for lost yardage, five sacks and two interceptions and a safety score. Jones recorded 122 tackles (40 solo) in his second year with 14.0 for lost yardage, seven sacks and two more interceptions en route to the First-Team All-State and Tri-Tiver Athletic Conference Defensive Co-Player of the Year award. He also made 15 stops as a rookie. Jones collected a total of 13 quarterback bags in 2018 and 2019 and returned an interception for a touchdown each season – 58 yards against Clovis in the second year and 70 yards against Edison in the first year. During his career with the Grizzlies, he also kept the ball in attack, collecting 264 running yards and 13 touchdowns. Jones, who was named All-CIF defensive player of the year and ended up on the varsity junior squad of Fresno State Bees, helped Central achieve a perfect 15-0 score in 2019, including the All-CIF defensive player of the year, the All-CIF Central Division title and the California State 1-AA Division crown. He also landed on the first state team. As a three-star smoker for 247Sports, Jones has an average of 4,6440 points and is ranked 63rd nationwide for the indoor lineman’s score. The honor student volunteer decided to continue his athletic and academic career at Cal Poly after receiving offers from the states of Fresno, Idaho, North Arizona, Sacramento, Davis University and eastern Washington. He chose the Mustang because I believe it is the best choice for me and for what I hope to achieve as a student-athlete. I followed my heart in this decision.
Baldwin: Jones is a real dynamic linebacker. He has the toughness, athletics and wrestling skills you want for the job. Je’Cob is a natural leader and has had success on and off the field. His maturity and ability to be dynamic and do so much at a high level in the linebacker position, as well as his maturity on and off the field, gives him a great opportunity to make an impact for us early on.
Campbell McHarg, OL, 6-4, 305, Thousand Oaks, California. (Bishop Alemany High School) McHarg transferred to Bishop Alemany for his final season after two competitive seasons at Calabasas High School. As a junior with the Coyotes under coach Chris Claiborne, McHarg was named after the All-State, All-Marmont League and All-Los Angeles County First Team as an offensive lineman in 2019, allowing Calabasasas to achieve a 7-3 overall score and a Marmonte League championship. McHarg, who has also been recruited by Sacramento, Illinois, Bryant, Long Island, San Diego, Northern Arizona, Montana, Georgetown and Northern Colorado, chose Cal Poly for his excellent coaches and outstanding academics.
Baldwin: Campbell is a great physical athlete who has played all five positions before. His versatility at the front, the physicality he brings into play, the combination of toughness and maturity he shows on the field and which he has personally met…. He’s definitely someone we could see here, physically and mentally ready to play at the beginning of his career.
Dominic McCormack, C, 6-2, 180, Visalia, Caliph. (Redwood High School) McCormack made 50 tackles (31 solo), intercepted five passes, stopped another 10, picked up three fumbles and forced a junior fumble in 2019 under head coach Kevin Sharton at Redwood High School in Wissalia. McCormack won the first team of the West Yosemite League for safety and team training. He helped the Rangers to a 10-2 record, a second place in the West Yosemite League and a quarterfinal spot in the play-offs of the CIF Central Division. In the second year, McCormack made five assistants in offense and 30 tackled the defense. McCormack, who was also recruited by Vanguard, Sacramento State and UC Davis, chose Cal Poly to continue his academic and athletic career because I wanted to go to a school where I could get a good education while exercising in a strong program.
Baldwin: McCormack is a very determined young man. He sports in class and in the gym, and his average is 4.0, so his work ethic is at an incredibly high level. He’s a long-distance runner, and his ceiling can be incredibly high. It has incredible potential. He already brings a lot of immaterial things, but we are happy with his determination and zest for work. If he uses it during his studies, he will definitely explode.
Javon Murphy, LB, 6-2, 220, Newark, California. (Stellar Prep High School) Under coach Desmond Gumbs at Stellar Prep in Hayward, California, Murphy intercepted a total of 65 tackles and two assists as a junior in 2019. Captain Murphy was named MVP and earned a place in the second team of the North Coast All-CIF Division V team. As a free agent, he helped the Thunder get a score of 3-8 and a place in the semifinals of the North Shore Section CIF Division V. After earning three stars at 247Sports, Murphy received offers from Indiana, Atlantic Florida and Louisiana. He chose the Mustangs to stay close to home, play for his family and get a big degree.
Baldwin: Murphy plays with distance, height and athletics that simply cannot be learned. I think he’ll be very versatile in our defense. Depending on what he does during his stay at Cal Poly, he can play different positions. He does the right thing on and off the field, like all our boys, and his ability, maturity and versatility in defense and his skills will be an opportunity to be a potential early impact player for us.
Josh Ngaluafe, DL/OL, 6-2, 340, Sacramento, California. (River City High School) twice ranked by the Sacramento Bee as one of the highest offensive and defensive lines in the Sacramento area, Ngaluafe recorded 30 tackles, including four bags, intercepted a pass, forced three rumbles and recovered three more as a junior under Gabe Jimenez High School at the River City High School in Sacramento West in 2019. In his second year, with an average of 3.5 points, Ngaluafe was named after the first team in the All-Region League, was named River City’s Player of the Year and helped the Raiders achieve a 4-6 record and finish third in the Metropolitan League. In the second year, Ngaluafe had 31 tackles, including 5.5 sacks, and had to make a mistake to win the All-League and River City defensive player of the year award. He chose Mustang because it was the first and only school that offered me a scholarship. I am interested in the study of the school and I am happy to be part of the football program. I think the defensive line coach (Will Plemons) can really improve my game and make me a better player on and off the field.
Baldwin: He’s a real anchor-nose tackler and he also played on the offensive line. He’s a big, versatile man who can move and run. The athletics he exhibits for his size is something that cannot be taught and is not often seen. He also showed his athletics and versatility by playing rugby. That says a lot about the 110 kg fullback, which also plays rugby. The pieces he puts together are really unique, and we’re glad he did.
Addition of assistant coach James Montgomery: Josh is a great defender, you mean, he plays with about 330 pounds, but he has light feet, is very physical and aggressive, and is very good in class. We see him as a multi-position man, a kind of on the inside offensive or defensive line. In our offensive transition we have larger bodies, and we have done good work with guys like Ngaluafe, Trachtman and McHarg who have introduced very long bodies.
Michael Otterstedt, DE/ATH, 6-4, 225, Vacaville, California. (Vacaville High School) In 2019, while a junior at Vacaville High School, Otterstedt was a two-way player who picked up 12 passes for 184 yards and four touchdowns and made 43 tackles (20 solo) on defense, including a tackle for a lost yard. The Bulldogs won 8-3 in 2019, won the title Monticello Empire and qualified for the play-offs of CIF-Sac Joaquin Division II. Otterstedt was named Imperial League First Team All-Monticello because of his very closed character. Otterstedt, who also played junior baseball in Vacaville, has a 4.1 average and got offers from Davidson, UC Davis, San Diego and Montana before he chose Mustang, as Cal Poly was the only school I could go to and I had good contact with the coaching staff. It was the best decision for my future sports and academic career.
Baldwin: Michael played the tight game and security, which is an interesting combination. He played a little lighter in high school, but has since physically grown up. He played at 187 pounds, but his raise to 230 pounds is unbelievable. Part of what he’s going to do for us on the soccer field hasn’t shown up yet. He has the ability to play defense and outer defense. It gives you the opportunity to be very versatile in our defense.
Jake Trachtman, OT, 6-7, 295, Newport Beach, California. (Corona del Mar High School) The last of the three players of Corona del Mar High School to sign an NLI this week with Cal Poly. Trachtman helped the Sea Kings to a perfect 16-0 season, a first place in the Sunset League, a CIF Division 3 championship and the California 1-A Division State Championship of 2019. When the Sea Kings started as junior guard, he got a fracture in his left leg in the first game, which left him offside until week ten. A Jones’ fracture is a fracture between the base and shaft of the fifth metatarsal bone, the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the smallest toe of the foot, and is considered the most severe type of fracture that can occur on this bone. Trachtman came back to some extent as a blocker for Corona Del Mar in the playoffs. Trachtman broke his elbow in his second year. He was recruited by North Arizona, the University of San Diego, Colorado, Lehigh and Valparaiso before he decided to become a Mustang because he felt at home and I immediately fell in love with the campus and the city. The coaches who hired me are the best in the Big Sky.
Baldwin: Trachtman is a great athlete who as a junior only played a few games because of an injury. Even in these games, he showed incredible potential. Because of its length and its top, the sky is the limit for him. His film was very good and his best football is far ahead of him. In recent years, his power increase in the gym has taken an incredible turn.
Bryce Weiner, QB, 6-0, 185, Fresno, California. (Bullard High School) In 2019, as Don Arax Junior Coach at Bullard High School, Weiner made 60 percent of his passes (70 for 116) for 1,015 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games and missed the last seven due to a broken thumb. Weiner helped the Knights achieve a record 9-3, a second place in the District/Metro League and a place in the semi-finals of the CIF Central Division play-offs. He started seven games in the second year and made 71 of 117 passes for 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns. During his two seasons at university, Mr. Weiner had a 60.5% graduation rate. Weiner also played baseball with Bullard and was a member of Bullard’s 12 and under team that qualified for the 2015 Cal Ripken World Series in Monticello, Arkansas. I’m proud to say that the only school that actively recruited me was the one where I wanted to play football, Weiner said. I wanted to go to Cal Poly, whether it was for school or even the field. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to play both in class and on the field. Come on, Mustangs!
Baldwin: Bryce is someone who has experienced incredible growth from his second year in high school and his first year in high school to where he is now. After watching a few videos on YouTube, even though he couldn’t play, we watched how he throws the ball, what his body type looks like, an incredibly hard 4.0 student, who anticipates very well, is very accurate, and has the arm strength to make any kind of throw. We’re glad Bryce brought us the full package.
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