What a whirlwind.
According to Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
football coach Chad Nightingale, the 6-foot-7, 315-pound interior lineman Freddie Tagaloa
, has received between 25 and 50 texts and calls to day about his recruitment the last two weeks.
Tagaloa gave Cal coach Jeff Tedford a verbal commitment last weekend and firmed it up Wednesday night when offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Jim Michalczik visited the house.
It's been a really rough recruiting process for Tagaloa, the nation's No. 69 recruit overall by CBS/MaxPreps recruiting expert Tom Lemming
It came down between Stanford, Oregon, USC and the Bears.
Nightingale, a former Cal receiver, said he's made a point to be very objective in guiding Tagaloa, who has been a starting center on Salesian's nationally-recognized basketball team since his freshman season.
Though the family visited Stanford several times and seemed to be leaning that direction, Tagaloa ultimate felt more comfortable at Cal and especially with Michalczik said Nightingale.
Cal's engineering department, the team's strong Polynesian history and being so near home for a large extended family to watch him play were other considerations to pick the Bears, according to Nightingale.
It didn't hurt that former Salesian star Jahvid Best had a good experience at Cal.
Salesian (12-0) is getting ready to play Ferndale
(12-1) in a North Coast Section Division IV title game on Saturday at Alhambra High School.
"There's no doubt that Freddie made a informed decision," Nightingale said. "It's been a long and drawn out process for sure. Frankly it's worn him out the last couple of weeks. He feels relieved that the process is over and very strong and convicted with the choice he made.
"Now he can just relax and play."
As soon as football ends likely on Saturday – there's a remote chance that if Salesian wins it could be selected for a CIF Bowl Game – he'll practice three days with the basketball team which will fly to Florida on Thursday for the City of Palms Classic
, regarded as the most prestigious tournament in the country.
Tagaloa, a 3.77 student, received football offers during his freshman season even though he had never played the game until that point.
A tremendous athlete – had 25 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks and five dunks in a Northern California playoff game against Santa Cruz last year – Tagaloa's toughest challenge on the football field is contact.
"In basketball, you avoid it," Nightingale said. "In football, you initiate it. It's not a problem any more, but at first he wasn't terribly aggressive."
Nightingale said Tagaloa, 17, is the largest – no pun intended – interior lineman recruit in the East Bay since De La Salle's Aaron Taylor and Derek Landri.
Taylor won a Super Bowl title with the Packers and had a successful but brief six-year career in the NFL due to knee injuries. He's now a host and analyst for CBS College Sports.
Landri is in his sixth season in the NFL, currently with the Eagles, his third team.
Both played at Notre Dame.
"Those guys were ahead of Freddie in terms of experience and being aggressive in high school," Nightingale said. "But Freddie is three inches taller than both those guys and weighs 35 pounds more. In terms of upside and physical ability, I can't imagine there's anyone in then nation with more."
Tagaloa's commitment to Cal was falsely leaked a couple of weeks ago, according to Nightingale, when the offensive lineman told some friends he was leaning toward the Bears.
Those friends tweeted that Tagaloa had committed, started an avalanche of calls and texts, not only from the media but college coaches.
"To Freddie's credit, he's been able to handle the flurry and merry-go-round of recruiting and focus on playing excellent football and being a good teammate," Nightingale said. "He's so dominate up front on the offensive line and so disruptive on the defensive line. He's had a great season.
"Now he's just getting ready for Ferndale."
According to Lemming, much of Tagaloa's recruitment is based on his sheer size and athleticism.
"He appears to have an exceptionally high
ceiling," Lemming said. "On film he's a steady, technically sound tackle who improves
with every game.
"An outstanding run blocker, he has
an aggressive style of play, is very athletic, can bend his knees, and
shows good hand placement and technique. Has an excellent punch and
shows the athletic ability to slide and mirror and cut off speed rusher. The scouts have been impressed with his quick footwork and flexibility."