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January 30, 2013

Cal commit keeps recruiting diary



So what happens when you ask an offensive lineman to chronicle his official visit?

You get a recording of events that's honest, intelligent, and unfiltered in keeping with the position's unassuming reputation. And oh yeah, you hear a lot about food.

Committed to California since early January, and recently returned from his official visit, J.D. Hinnant gives us a look into the weekend's recruiting experience.

J.D. Hinnant's Recruiting Diary:

My family and I left Fountain Valley at around 9 a.m., and let me tell you, we were all ready for the long car ride ahead of us. The car ride lasted about 6 1/2 hours, but it was definitely worth it. When we arrived in Berkeley you could see the huge, gorgeous, white hotel from miles away.

When we finally got to the hotel, we were greeted warmly by [Cal staffers] Delaney [Gallagher] and Andrew [McGraw]. They gave us the keys to our rooms, and boy was I excited. It was by far the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in. When I got into my room I was in awe. They left me goodies on my bed and a jacket for the weekend.

Once we had gotten settled in, we headed down to one of the banquet rooms to meet some more of the recruits and visit with the coaching staff. We were met at the elevator by coach [Zach] Yenser and Jacob [Rosch]. At the little get together the first recruits I met were Tony Mekari and Caleb Coleman, who are both committed and really nice guys. During the get together I got to meet Coach [Sonny] Dykes for the first time. He is a really nice and genuine guy, and I can't wait to be able to play for him.

After the meeting with Coach Dykes, I went up to my room to get ready for the night out. We left the hotel on a bus at about 5:45 for the Port of Oakland. At the port we boarded a ferry to take us to pier 39. On the ferry I sat with Tony and Marcus Manley, who both seem to be beasts and I'm happy they're on our team. The ferry ride was pretty cold, but it was really nice seeing all the lights and going under the bridge.

When we arrived at Pier 39 the coaches gave us 20 minutes to walk around and check things out. Marcus and I shared a bucket of probably the best donuts I've ever had. We checked out a magic store, where our minds were blown by some of the tricks they showed us. Once the 20 minutes were over we all met at Neptune's. We ate with the whole coaching staff and a few of the current players. I had a steak and chicken dinner with clam chowder and chocolate cake. These were all super tasty.

Once dinner was over we took the bus back to the hotel. I sat next to Delaney and we had some pretty cool talks. When we arrived back at the hotel I got to go hang out on campus with Jared Goff, Ray Davison, Cameron Walker, and Edward Tandy. These guys are all committed, and I'm sure glad they are. We all had a great time, and didn't arrive back at the hotel 'til 2.

The next morning we had brunch with all the recruits and coaches. It was a pretty good breakfast; I had a ton of eggs, bacon, and sausage. After brunch we all took the bus down to the dorms we will be staying in for our first two years there. I was really impressed by what I saw! The dorms were super nice! Each dorm has 4 people, and 2 people to each bedroom. There's a living room, and a kitchen in each one too!

After that they took us down to the main part of campus. They first took us down to the Haas business center. It was super nice, and I was super excited because I'm thinking about majoring in business. Along the way Matt Cochran joined us, which was really cool since he's going to be one of my fellow lineman.

After the campus tour they took us into the stadium where we had lunch and got to do a tour. They really spoiled us with the food they gave us. We got to have Hot Dogs from top dog, pizza, and Ice Cream sandwiches from Creme. After we lunch we had a meeting with some of the Academic Advisors. Once that meeting was over we got to check out the weight room, locker room, and training room. These were the best of their kind that I've seen. They also showed us all the gear that we would be receiving. My mouth dropped when I saw how nice the gear is.

Next I had meetings with Coach [Tony] Franklin and Coach Yenser. Coach Franklin is a super nice guy, and I love the way he coaches the game. He seems to allow nothing less but to be disciplined to the max. He went over the rules for the offensive players with us, and it was unlike any meeting that I've ever been in. I loved it! Next we walked over to Coach Yenser's office to go over the offensive line play. I'm really excited to get the chance play this kind scheme. It's unlike anything I have ever seen before. It is very simple but extremely effective.

Once the meeting was over we just went onto the field and hung out with the current players and coaches. Then we headed to the box to have dinner. The view was phenomenal. The dinner had just a little bit of everything. All the appetizers in the world, plus basically any kind of meat you wanted for dinner. All of us lineman were pigging out!

Once dinner was over I left with Harrison Wilfley to his apartment. (Harrison was my host) I hung out with him, Jake Davis, and Stephen Anderson (all current players) that night. We had a great time! They took me into downtown Berkeley to try even more food. They took me to this Italian place called Gypsy's, which had seriously the best Calzone I've ever had. They also took me back to Crème which had a line going down the block just for Ice Cream!

The Next morning we woke up and had breakfast in the hotel for their Sunday brunch. There was so much food that you'd be there for days trying one of everything. They had everything from crab claws and prime rip to eggs and bacon. While we were eating we listened to Keiko [Price], who is the academic advisor, and some of the professors from a couple different departments.

After breakfast it was time to go, so we said goodbye to all the coaches and all the recruits and left. We didn't leave Berkeley quite then, however. We went to a store that had everything imaginable for CAL apparel, and my sisters and mom did not go home disappointed.

I loved my visit to CAL! It solidified my choice about going there for college. I had a great time. I have a ton of respect for the entire coaching staff, I had a lot of fun with the current players and recruits, and most of all I just loved the overall atmosphere of CAL. I'm proud to say that I'm going to become a CAL Golden Bear!


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