Cal may have lost the Big Three, but another trio could be on the horizon.

The Bears have to move on this season without accomplished linebackers Zack Follett, Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder. Cal may have found another threesome who could anchor its potentially dominant defense in the future.

Cal received an oral commitment over the weekend from linebacker Nick Forbes of Frederick, Md. That gives the Bears three linebackers in their 2010 recruiting class who each is ranked in the top 15 nationally at his position by scout.com.

Forbes is the No. 7-rated outside linebacker, Monte Vista's David Wilkerson is the 10th-ranked middle linebacker, and Cecil Whiteside of Newport Beach is scout.com.'s No. 14 middle linebacker.

The Bears appear to be benefiting from their switch to the 3-4 defense, which showcases the talents of the linebackers.

"This class is looking really good defensively," Forbes said. "The 3-4 is a pro-style defense. It's very aggressive and very active. It makes it very appealing. There are a ton of packages you can throw into it. It's exciting to think about."

Forbes picked Cal over several other major programs, including Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Wake Forest and Boston College. The Bears now have eight commitments for 2010.

Cal reportedly is high on the list of a handful of top-rated defensive linemen, including two defensive ends ranked among scout.com.'s top 12 and two defensive tackles rated in the top seven.


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Forbes cited academics and the family atmosphere of the program as the primary reasons he chose Cal. He said the addition of the Student-Athlete High-Performance Center and renovated Memorial Stadium wasn't really a big factor in his decision but acknowledged it can only help the program.

"It doesn't have to be the largest weight room or have the most equipment, as long as it has the essentials needed to get the work done," he said. "But I do feel like I'm coming in to something special."

Forbes said he's actually happy the new facilities won't be completed by the time he arrives in Berkeley.

"(Linebackers) coach (Kenwick) Thompson said the facilities are not the best, but they are still productive and doing well. It gives them a chip on their shoulder," Forbes said. "They might not have as great facilities as others do, but they have that hardworking mentality. I like that."