The Cal Bears are coming off a disappointing 2012 season that cost long-time head coach Jeff Tedford his job in Berkeley. Sonny Dykes takes over in the Bay Area with his work cut out for him and plenty of questions to answer about the future of Bears’ football. That uncertainty could be partially responsible for Cal commit Darius Allensworth doing his due diligence in checking out other programs. Should Cal be nervous?
The three-star cornerback committed to Cal way back in August, but watched the Bears stumble and trip through the season. Since last summer, the Bears have hired a whole new coaching staff and ushered in major changes to the program. Now, he’s doing everything he can to make sure the Golden Bears are still the best fit for him. That includes taking all of his official visits.
He took a trip to Madison in October to check out the Wisconsin Badgers, though their coaching upheaval this offseason likely hurts his chances of flipping to the Badgers. This past weekend, Allensworth was in the Palouse visiting with the Washington State Cougars, and came away very impressed.
“It was great. I’m glad I went. I had a good time and Coach [Mike] Leach is a cool dude. I’m definitely looking at Washington State and I loved it, actually. The players were cool and the program was really family-oriented. And Pullman was a cool city.”
The Cougars will likely make a strong push for Allensworth as their secondary ranked among the worst in the Pac 12. The prospect of making an immediate impact on the field along with a campus environment he seemed to enjoy, could get the California native to head north to the Pacific Northwest.
But Cal will still have the final say for his services among Pac 12 schools. Allensworth is scheduled to take an official visit to Berkeley on January 25 before checking out the Texas Tech Red Raiders on February 1. Expect Dykes and his staff to lay down the red carpet, reiterating why the Bears are the best fit for the versatile corner. And he’ll be just as needed in the Bay Area as he will be on the Palouse as Cal allowed an average of 33.1 yards per game last season, leaving plenty of positions open to upgrade in 2013.
For now, Allensworth is standing by his commitment to Cal, but it will be up to the Bears to keep him convinced that it is the right place for him to be. If they can’t, don’t be surprised to see a number of teams lining up to make the ball-hawking corner happy for the next four years.