Cal U beefs up with grid recruits
TribLIVE Sports Videos
CALIFORNIA -- The California University football team opens spring practice Saturday and veteran coach John Luckhardt says he is more excited about his new players than he has ever been in his previous 10 seasons at the school.
Luckhardt says his latest recruits have been, "the most responsive group we've had here."
"We're going to be young, but we are certainly not short on talent," said Luckhardt.
Luckhardt said he changed the off-season program and was able to take advantage of the mild weather over the winter. He added that his staff put the players through the rigors of tough training.
"We've done a lot of different things and I'm really surprised at how our players have responded," he said.
Although the Vulcans certainly don't have a bare cupboard when it comes to returning starters, he said the battle for backup positions and some starting positions will be interesting this spring.
For example, even though Peter Lalich returns at quarterback, Luckhardt noted that two newcomers are going to wage a fierce battle for the backup job.
Austin Stock, of Miami, Fla., quarterbacked Miami Central High to a state title last season. He and redshirt freshman Bill Schroeder give the Vulcans great depth at quarterback.
Luckhardt had high words of praise for Bubba Brown, of Kissimmee, Fla., who was the Florida Class AAAA Player of the Year in 2008.
He was a Kansas State recruit who has transferred to Cal and will be a redshirt sophomore.
"He's the closest thing to Antoine Bagwell that we've had here since Bagwell left," Luckhardt said.
Incoming fullback Scott Covert, son of former Pitt and NFL star Jimbo Covert, is a transfer from Iowa.
"He's a 250-pound fullback with great credentials," Luckhardt said of Covert.
On the offensive line, Cal will have great depth thanks to Chris George, Wayne Jones and Mike Price.
George (6-4, 305) played two years ago at Cal before leaving and Luckhardt has called him impressive.
Jones (6-3, 320) is a Pitt transfer who once played in the Big 33 Classic.
Price (6-6, 315) is a transfer from the University of Virginia.
Cal has added two new tight ends, one of whom is a familiar name.
Desmond Green (6-5, 245), who quarterbacked Clairton to WPIAL and PIAA championships, will be a redshirt freshman. Green signed with Texas Tech after graduating from Clairton. However, he was an NCAA clearinghouse casualty, Luckhardt said, referring to academic issues.
The other tight end, Andy Cerett, is a transfer from Temple. Cerett (6-5, 248) was one of the nation's best punters while in high school.
On defense, Luckhardt is really excited about defensive tackle Jason Cates (6-4, 360), who the coach said is "like another Casey Hampton."
The Michigan transfer could end up being a top NFL prospect if he loses another 20 pounds, Luckhardt said.
"Nobody has pushed this kid around and nobody will," he said. "He has two years of eligibility remaining and is going to be a force."
Another addition to the defensive front is mid-year transfer Ken Smith (6-7, 315), who Luckhardt said may be the most impressive newcomer in terms of ability.
"We've also added a defensive back in Brandon Saunders, a recruit from Liberty Union," Luckhardt said. "He's real talented kid."
"All in all, it's been a great recruiting year for us and we are still waiting for four more kids we expect to join us soon," he said. "We should have more competition at spots than we've ever had before."
Cal's annual Spring Game will be played April 28.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Greensburg Salem’s Howard shines at state meet
- Ligonier-based group sponsors rafting adventures to help ease veterans’ anxiety
- Polamalu could be next in long line of Steelers greats given unceremonial exit
- Experts: Clinton took dangerous path with email system
- Pirates pitcher Locke fighting for 5th spot in starting rotation
- Hempfield man charged with giving gun to teen girl
- Penguins’ Lovejoy embracing defensive pairing with Pouliot
- Kittanning YMCA offering fitness program unique to Pa.
- WVU’s Gee a president with broad interest in sports
- Pitt instructor witnesses history in China’s ‘Wasteland’
- Skater skirts and dresses look to heat up the spring