Cal Poly football coach Beau Baldwin added another 13 recruits to his program this week, his second recruiting class since he became the Mustangs' head coach a little over 12 months ago.
That's two more classes than games he's coached in San Luis Obispo.
Baldwin took over for Tim Walsh, who retired after 11 seasons in 2019, and has yet to coach a game after the fall 2019 season was derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.
As it stands now, Cal Poly is scheduled to open the Baldwin era on Feb. 27 with a Big Sky Conference home game vs. Southern Utah.
The 13 recruits signed on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period, combine to make a versatile group that should impact positions across the board in years to come.
According to the school, the Mustangs signed three offensive linemen, a quarterback, one receiver, a tight end, three defensive linemen and a pair of linebackers and defensive backs Wednesday. Five of the 13 players led their teams to state championships in 2018, including three players from one school: Corona del Mar.
All 13 players are from California high schools, though none of them are from San Luis Obispo County or neighboring Santa Barbara County. The early signing period will close Friday. The junior college transfer signing period opened Wednesday and closes Jan. 15. The traditional signing period runs from Feb. 3 to April 1.
Cal Poly said seven of the 13 players signed this week are 6-foot-3 or taller, signaling the Mustangs' desire to get longer. Most of the recruits are from Los Angeles County, Orange County or Northern California.
“If you go back to last February, we're continuing to find range and length,” Baldwin said in a school-issued press release. “Range and length at most positions is extremely beneficial and it's hard to deal with it if you're on the other side of the ball."
Baldwin spent the last three seasons as Cal's offensive coordinator after leading the program at Eastern Washington for nine seasons as head coach, winning an FCS title in 2010.
Baldwin's class features three players from Corona del Mar: 6-foot-3 defensive tackle Thomas Bouda, 6-2 safety Tommy Griffin and 6-7 tackle Jake Trachtman.
The Mustangs did sign four players from the CIF Central Section: 5-7 receiver/return specialist Zion Hall from Bakersfield Garces High School; 5-11 linebacker Je'Kob Jones from Fresno Central; 6-foot quarterback Bryce Weiner from Fresno Bullard and 6-2 safety Dominick McCormack from Visalia Redwood.
The other members of the recruiting class are Dominic Childress (6-3, 275 DL) from Tracy Mountain House High; Josh Cuevas (6-4, 230 TE) from Los Angeles Campbell Hall; Campbell McHarg (6-4, 305 OL) a Thousand Oaks native who played at Mission Hills Alemany; Javon Murphy (6-2, 220 LB) from Newark and Hayward Stellar Prep; Josh Ngalaufe (6-2, 340 DL/OL) from Sacramento River City and Michael Otterstedt (6-4, 225 DE/ATH) from Vacaville.
This recruiting cycle has been different for coaches around the country, who have had to rely on phone calls, messages, videos and FaceTime sessions to recruit players.
“Our assistants have done a really great job in this process, building these relationships and working really hard during a time when recruiting is not easy right now,” Baldwin said in the release. “It's different. It has been tough, but it's tough for everybody. We're not at a disadvantage because we're all dealing with the same thing. It's a challenge. Not being able to see that growth from junior to senior year of high school is tough, but we're all in the same boat. You have to dig, finding creative ways to get an idea of what you want your class to look like.”
A breakdown of the recruiting class, with information and quotes from the head coach provided by Cal Poly's athletics communications department.
Thomas Bouda, DT, Corona del Mar
Bouda made 28 tackles, including 11 TFLs and 6.5 sacks in 2019.
Baldwin on Bouda: “Another outstanding player from Corona del Mar, Bouda has the ability to play true three technique or a defensive end in certain schemes, which shows his size, toughness and strength along with his athleticism to go out there. He’s extremely violent with his hands, incredibly strong and his motor is at a level which you just don't see very often."
Dominic Childress, DL, Mountain House
Childress made 40 tackles (19 solo) as a junior. His numbers also included 2.5 tackles for lost yardage, all sacks, along with one quarterback hurry and four pass breakups.
Baldwin on Childress: “He only played two years of football. A team captain of both the football team and as a wrestler, he’s got a lot of raw, raw high ceiling. He has extremely great work ethic, really explosive off the ball, shows great balance and can be multiple on defense. He can play nose and defensive tackle. That ability to be multiple on that side of the ball says a lot. He will graduate early and join us in January.”
Josh Cuevas, TE, Campbell Hall
As a junior in 2019, Cuevas caught 55 passes for 700 yards and 11 touchdowns on offense and notched 62 tackles, 10 for lost yardage and four sacks, along with four interceptions and a pair of pass breakups. As a sophomore in 2018, Cuevas caught 31 passes for 380 yards and 10 touchdowns and also made 32 tackles with one forced fumble, one interception and four pass breakups on defense. Cuevas also received offers from San Jose State, UC Davis and Tarleton State.
Baldwin on Cuevas: “Cuevas is really athletic, a big physical kid, has length at 6-4 and 245 and played on both sides of the ball which you really like to see because that shows also somewhat of a mentality playing a lot of snaps and playing tired. Also, some of the physicality he has shown on defense really excites us. He shows great strength and toughness as a ball carrier and pass catcher, a tight end with athletic ability to do something after the catch."
Tommy Griffin, S, Corona del Mar
Griffin’s career totals with the Sea Kings include 107 tackles and 11 catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns in two seasons. As a junior, Griffin notched 64 tackles (30 solo), including 4.5 for lost yardage, along with three interceptions, 19 pass breakups and one fumble recovery. His interception with two seconds remaining clinched Corona del Mar’s state championship in the 1-A Division, capping a perfect 16-0 season.
Baldwin on Griffin: “He is a son of a former coach and a natural leader with incredible length and range at the safety position. On top of that, he’s very football savvy and smart, really well rounded at the defensive back position. You don't always get guys with that much length, the ability to cover ground and play physical but also with athleticism, footwork, the intangibles with that much length. He brings a lot of versatility and talent to the table and his off-the-field maturity will add to his early success.”
Zion Hall, WR/RS, Garces
At Ridgeview in 2019, Hall caught 70 passes for 893 yards and eight touchdowns en route to first-team All-South Yosemite League honors and a spot on the Bakersfield Californian’s All-Area team. He also rushed one time and it was a 51-yard touchdown run, and also averaged 26.2 yards per kickoff return and 16.6 yards per punt return.
Baldwin on Hall: “Zion is an explosive athlete who really has the ability to take the top off a defense. He has natural ball-catching skills and run-after-catch ability. He gives you lots of versatility at the position, can beat a corner one on one and can separate in man-to-man situations. He brings big-play ability for our offense.”
Je’Kob Jones, LB, Central
Jones made 207 tackles in his last two seasons under head coach Kyle Biggs at Central High in Fresno. His statistics as a junior include 85 tackles (24 solo), 13.0 for lost yardage, five sacks and a pair of interceptions along with scoring a safety. Jones notched 122 tackles (40 solo) as a sophomore with 14.0 for lost yardage, seven sacks and two more interceptions en route to first-team all-state and Tri-Tiver Athletic Conference co-Defensive Player of the Year honors.
Baldwin on Jones: “Jones is a truly dynamic linebacker. He shows toughness, athleticism and tackling ability that you want in that position. A natural leader, Je’Kob has had consistent success on and off the field. His maturity and ability to be dynamic and being able to do so many things at a high level at the linebacker position along with his maturity on and off the field give him a great opportunity to be a very early impact for us.”
Campbell McHarg, OL, Alemany
McHarg transferred to Bishop Alemany for his senior season after playing two varsity seasons at Calabasas. As a junior with the Coyotes in 2019, McHarg was named to the all-state, All-Marmonte League and All-Los Angeles County first team as an offensive lineman and helped Calabasas to a 7-3 overall mark and Marmonte League championship. He was also recruited by Sacramento State, Illinois State, Bryant, Long Island, San Diego, Northern Arizona, Montana State, Georgetown and Northern Colorado.
Baldwin on McHarg: “Campbell is a big physical athlete who has played all five positions up front. His versatility up front, the physicality he brings to the game, a combination of toughness and maturity that he showed on the field and meeting him in person ... he's definitely someone we could see coming in and being physically and mentally ready to play early in his career here.”
Dominick McCormack, S, Redwood
McCormack made 50 tackles (31 solo), intercepted five passes, broke up 10 other passes, recovered three fumbles and forced a fumble as a junior in 2019 at Redwood High in Visalia. McCormack earned first-team All-West Yosemite League honors as a safety as well as the team’s Coaches Award and helped the Rangers to a 10-2 overall record, second-place West Yosemite League finish and to the quarterfinal round of the CIF-Central Section Division 2 playoffs, where they lost to St. Joseph.
Baldwin on McCormack: “McCormack is a very determined young man. He grinds in the classroom, grinds in the weight room and carries a 4.0 GPA, so his work ethic is at an incredibly high level. He’s a long rangy athlete and his ceiling can be incredibly high."
Javon Murphy, LB, Stellar Prep
At Stellar Prep in Hayward, Murphy recorded 65 tackles and intercepted a pair of passes as a junior in 2019. A team captain, Murphy was named team defensive MVP and earned a spot on the All-CIF-North Coast Section Division V second team.
Baldwin on Murphy: “(He) plays with a range and length and an athleticism that you just can't teach. I think he will be very versatile in our defense. Depending on what he does during his time at Cal Poly, he will have the ability to play a number of different spots. He does the right things both on and off the field, like all of our guys, and his ability, his maturity and versatility on defense along with his skill set will add to a chance to be a potential early impact player for us.”
Josh Ngaluafe, DL/OL, River City
Twice rated by the Sacramento Bee as one of the top returning offensive and defensive linemen in the Sacramento area, Ngaluafe recorded 30 tackles, including four sacks, intercepted a pass, forced three fumbles and recovered three others as a junior at River City High School in West Sacramento in 2019.
Baldwin on Ngaluafe: “He's a true anchor nose tackle and also played on the offensive line as well. He’s very versatile, a big man who can move and run. The athleticism he shows for his size is something you can't teach and don't find very often."
Michael Otterstedt, DE/ATH, Vacaville
Otterstedt was a two-way player as a junior in 2019, catching 12 passes for 184 yards and four touchdowns and making 43 tackles (20 solo) on defense, including one tackle for lost yardage.
Baldwin on Otterstedt: “Michael played tight end and safety, which is an interesting combination. He played a little light in high school, but has since matured physically. He was playing at 187 pounds, but the growth he has made to get up to about 230 is incredible."
Jake Trachtman, OT, Corona del Mar
As the Sea Kings’ starting left guard as a junior, he suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot in the opener that kept him out until Week 10. Trachtman returned in whatever capacity he could, so in the playoffs, he served as a blocker for Corona Del Mar’s kicking team.
Baldwin on Trachtman: “Trachtman is a big long athlete who only played a couple games as a junior due to an injury. Even in those couple games, he showed incredible promise. The sky is the limit for him because of his length and his upside. His film was very good and his best football is way ahead of him."
Bryce Weiner, QB, Bullard
As a junior at Bullard in 2019, Weiner completed 60 percent of his passes (70 for 116) for 1,015 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games, missing the final seven contests due to a fractured thumb. Weiner helped the Knights to a 9-3 record, second-place County/Metro League finish and a berth in the semifinal round of the CIF-Central Section Division I playoffs. He started seven games as a sophomore and connected on 71 of 117 passes for 1,117 yards and seven touchdowns. In his two varsity seasons, Weiner compiled a 60.5 percent completion percentage.
Baldwin on Weiner: “Bryce is someone who just showed incredible growth from his sophomore and junior years to where he is now. Having been able to see some YouTube clips, even though he wasn’t able to play, we looked at how he looked throwing the ball, what he looked like in terms of his body type, 4.0 student, incredibly tough, anticipates really well, very accurate, and has the type of arm strength to make any throw. We're excited about the total package that Bryce brings.”
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