By Greg Biggins
Cal could be on the verge of putting together one of its best recruiting classes in years after picking up two more elite prospects over the weekend. The headliner was Nick Forbes (Frederick, Md./Thomas Jefferson), one of the elite linebacker prospects in the country. Forbes earned LB MVP honors at the Penn State NFTC and has the size and talent to play early for the Bears.
Ironically, at the time of the Nike Camp, if there was a school out West that looked to have a good shot at Forbes, it was the Bears in-state rival Stanford. That all changed after the linebacker camped with Cal over the weekend and decided to pull the trigger.
Forbes actually committed before the camp even took place on Saturday. He spent Friday touring the campus and decided he had seen enough. Along with earlier commitments from Cecil Whiteside (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor) and David Wilkerson (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista), the Bears may have the top linebacker class in the nation.
Whiteside is underrated nationally, but earned LB MVP honors at the loaded USC NFTC. Wilkerson earned first team, all-state underclass honors last season and like Forbes, has the ability to swing between any of the linebacker positions in Cal's 3-4 scheme. Whiteside is probably the best athlete of the group and is a natural weakside linebacker with superior cover skills. The three complement each other very well and all could see the field at the same time down the line.
The Bears also landed one of the state's true road graders in offensive lineman Alex Crosthwaite (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral). He was the top lineman on arguably the state's best offensive line a year ago. He's a true guard prospect with natural strength, toughness and a mean streak.
Crosthwaite is the third offensive lineman the Bears have secured and probably the best of the group. He turned down offers from schools like Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Nebraska, Fresno State, Minnesota, Duke, UNLV and San Diego State. He was also beginning to draw heavy interest from USC and UCLA.
In other positive news for the Bears, quarterback-commit Austin Hinder (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) had by far his best workout of the spring at the Nike Camp in Colorado. Hinder struggled a bit at the Elite 11 regional camp at Cal and the Nike Camp at Stanford back in May, but was spinning it very well with a lot of zip in Boulder over the weekend.
Hinder already has all the intangibles you could want in a quarterback. He's a great kid, a natural leader and his teammates will love playing with him. He works hard and has a strong desire to be coached and get better. When you combine all that with his physical tools on a frame that will easily be able to pack on a lot of weight, it's easy to see why quarterback guru Jeff Tedford made Hinder such a huge priority.