Bright and early on National Letter of Intent Day, one Cerritos College alum called a current Falcon to make sure they would be united.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who played at the Southern California junior college from 1979-80, placed a call to current Cerritos linebacker Ryan Davis to confirm that his oral commitment to join the Bears was solid.
"He called me and woke me up," said Davis, who signed his letter of intent with Cal later that morning. "It was all cool because I know Coach Tedford is a good guy. We both come from Cerritos."
Tedford didn't call every potential recruit that morning, but Davis had just orally committed a few days earlier after decommitting from Washington. That followed a decommitment from Cal.
Almost one week into training camp, Davis is happy with his decision to come to Berkeley. He's battling Devin Bishop, Chris Little and fellow junior college transfer Jarred Price for the starting job at weakside outside linebacker, the spot that former standout Zack Follett vacated.
"My expectation coming in was just to learn more, get better and adjust to a new system," Davis said. "They told me I would have an opportunity to compete. What I need to do is learn the plays more and ask more questions. I really do have a long way to go."
Davis played defensive end at Cerritos, but the Bears believed he was a perfect fit to play rush linebacker. Problem is, Price, who was recruited to play both inside and outside, has separated himself during the early days of camp. And
Little, who was the star of the spring scrimmage, is pushing Bishop more than anyone. Bishop has been taking the first-team reps at that position.
"We have some good competition there," Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said. "Our JC guys are coming along about the right pace. We're trying not to throw too much at them every day but enough to keep them going."
While Gregory acknowledged that Price has opened some eyes early on, he warned that it's much too early to draw any solid conclusions. He said he fully expects Davis to see playing time in some capacity this season. A third JC linebacker, Jerome Meadows, is seeing time both inside and outside.
The Bears lost an accomplished trio of linebackers from last season — Follett, Worrell Williams and Anthony Felder. But Cal has Eddie Young returning at the strongside outside spot, with Mike Mohamed, who backed up all four linebacker positions last year and actually played more than anyone, returning to play the inside. Sophomore Mychal Kendricks emerged in the spring and has a pretty good handle on the other inside spot.
That leaves the weakside outside position as one of the most competitive in camp.
Bishop, the younger brother of former Cal standout linebacker Desmond Bishop, played well as a backup near the end of last season and continued it in the spring.
"Competition is making us all better," Bishop said. "It's real exciting. I've been waiting for this. Now that the time is here, I just want to get out there and have fun and do my best."
The competition would be a little lighter had Davis decided to remain with Washington. After his original commitment to Cal, he said he "got caught up with the glamour of Washington," especially the chance to work with Huskies defensive coordinator Nick Holt, who had built a reputation at USC.
"Once I really looked at both, the 3-4 defense was something I wanted to be a part of more," Davis said. "I knew Cal had a great coaching staff already. I basically put two and two together and saw the opportunity to be a better player on defense."