California fans still smarting about the 2010 regular season should take heart from a recent uptick in the recruiting season, as the Bears have gone from unranked to No. 15 in the latest ESPN Recruiting rankings.
Cal ranks No. 2 among the five ranked Pac-10 teams. USC is 10th overall, Stanford 16, Oregon 20th and Washington 21st.
The Bears' recent surge leaves them with 15 commitments, including six four-star players and four from the ESPNU 150.
Here's what ESPN Recruiting had to say:
Within a week, the Bears gained pledges from three ESPNU 150 defensive prospects and RB Brendon Bigelow (Fresno, Calif./Central East), a former Washington commit who has been slowed by injuries (if he hadn't been, he might also be in the ESPNU 150). It is the defensive firepower headed to Berkeley that is most impressive, though, and the biggest reason for Cal's major jump in the rankings. Safety Avery Walls (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy) is one of the more explosive and productive safeties in the country and is instinctive enough to see early playing time. Defensive tackle Todd Barr (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood) and outside linebacker Jason Gibson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) are disruptive front-seven defenders who fit well into Cal's 3-4 defensive scheme.
USC has one five-star player, five ESPNU 150 members and seven four-star players among its 22 total commitments, and it moved up from No. 13. Said ESPN Recruiting:
It was a matter of time before Lane Kiffin and his experienced recruiting staff made a move up the class rankings. Highlighted by the recent addition of five-star receiver George Farmer (Gardena, Calif./Serra), who is No. 13 in the ESPNU 150, the Trojans move into the top 10.
Of course, there is plenty of time for classes to add -- and lose -- players. These five schools still are going head-to-head on a number of top prospects -- the Oregon-Washington competition for a few figures to be particularly intriguing -- and watch out for UCLA making a late surge.