BERKELEY, Calif. - California coach Jeff Tedford sought speed and size in recruiting his next class of players. Tedford believed he got what he was looking for in the 26-player class revealed Wednesday. Rating services pegged Cal as the third-best class in the Pac-10 behind Southern California and Oregon. "You can't teach speed," Tedford said in reference to Parade All-American running back Jahvid Best, out of nearby Richmond. "And he's got plenty of it. "He is very elusive and very fast. He can cut on a dime, but when he gets in the open field, he has tremendous speed and can run away from people. You can see him do things physically that is going to translate to whatever level he plays."
Best was the star recruit for Cal. A track star as well, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Best rushed for 3,325 yards and scored 48 times as a senior. ESPN Insider rated him as the fastest back in the state of California. Best is a candidate to back up Justin Forsett, who is taking over for Marshawn Lynch, who left early for the NFL. Cal also landed running back Shane Vereen, the most heavily recruited player ever out of Valencia High School. Redshirts James Montgomery and Tracy Slocum could factor in the running back equation, forcing one of the newcomers to sit out as a freshman. But Best may have too much talent to not be used right away. Tedford's decision to go with the national flow of taller defensive backs and wide receivers paid off. Nyan Boateng, a 6-2 wide receiver and transfer from national champion Florida, was included among the 26 recruits. Also reeled in were a pair of 6-3 receivers, Michael Calvin out of San Lorenzo and Alex Lagemann from Saratoga.
Chris Conte, a 6-3 defensive back, was a late addition after originally choosing UCLA. Sean Cattouse of Chicago is another 6-3 defensive back. Tedford, a developer of quarterbacks, induced Brock Mansion to gravitate west from Texas. Mansion threw for 2,200 yards and 26 touchdowns as a senior for Episcopal School of Dallas. "He has great size (6-5, 225 pounds), great speed and a very good arm," Tedford said. "We're really excited about him. ... We have more guys from out of state than we've ever had. We're going to be a little bit more proactive with recruiting out of the state." Of the 26 recruits, 10 are from out of state.