Local prep star Lorenzo Alexander has made a verbal committment to attend Cal next fall, despite having the school far down his list for much of the recruiting process.
Alexander, a senior at Berkeley’s St. Mary’s College High School, is rated as a top-10 defensive tackle by most recruiting services. His committment comes as a bit of a surprise, as Cal wasn’t in his top five choices for most of the year. In fact, Alexander was set to head to the Bears’ biggest rival, Stanford. But when Stanford refused to accept him into school despite a 3.6 grade-point average and a 1050 SAT score, he turned to Cal.
“I was all set to go to Stanford but their admission department turned me down last week,” said Alexander, who lives in Oakland. “I had already been offered so I assumed I was cleared. I was just going to take my visit for the fun of it, but in my head, I was already a Cardinal, no doubt about it.”
“Cal was always in the picture, but probably around sixth or seventh,” he said. “But I wanted to stay closer to home.”
Alexander also considered Oregon, USC, UCLA, Miami (Fla.) and Georgia Tech. But Oregon doesn’t have an engineering program, USC is in transition after firing head coach Paul Hackett this week, and Alexander decided he wanted to stay on the west coast. eliminating Georgia Tech and Miami.
Alexander, who could play end or tackle in college, could be a factor for the Bears next year, as the defensive line will lose stalwarts Andre Carter and Jacob Waasdorp, both seniors. Just three players with significant playing experience will return on the line: end Tully Banta-Cain and tackles Daniel Nwangwu and Josh Beckham.
The 6-2, 275-pound Alexander tallied 15 sacks this season while playing on both the offensive and defensive lines for the Panthers, and even lined up a few times in the offensive backfield.
“Wait until you see him run,” Shaughnessy said. “He’s the most athletic-looking kid you’re going to see.”
Cal has received some other impressive commitments in the past few weeks, including Ryan Foltz from Westlake High School and linebacker Mike Wells out of Sahuaro High in Tucson, Ariz. Foltz is a speedy PrepStar All-American at safety and Wells is a 6-3, 230-pounder who runs a 4.6. Cal beat out Arizona State and Washington for Foltz, and ASU, Arizona, Colorado State, UCLA and USC recruited Wells.
Cal’s coaching staff is not allowed to comment on high school athletes until after they sign letters of intent. The first day players can sign is Feb. 7.