Cal Football Countdown: 51 Days, True Freshmen Who Could Play Early
Yesterday, the Cal football countdown covered the redshirts who should play a bigger role in 2019. Today, it's a look at the members of the 2019 class who could crack the depth chart right away.
The four-game redshirt rule means that more guys will get some sort of run in 2019, but these are five guys, who like the five from 2018 (Chris Brown, Nikko Remigio, Will Craig, Joseph Ogunbanjo, and Aaron Maldonado), may not need the redshirt year.
BRETT JOHNSON, Defensive Line
Johnson was Cal's highest rated high school commitment of the 2019 class, and impressed the most when seen in live situations. The Arizona defensive lineman was the best lineman in the state and could've made an argument for the best player in the state. Johnson should get some reps on Cal's defensive line this year, either as a defensive end or on the interior in the nickel.
DeCarlos Brooks, Running Back
Chris Brown forced his way into playing time a year ago at running back, and Brooks could end up in a similar position with a good fall camp. Brooks is a different kind of runner than Brown, smaller, but with great balance and plenty of agility out of cuts and broken tackles. Brooks was the 6A player of the year in Arizona with a 2000 yard season and 17 touchdowns just during Chandler's playoff run.
Ben Coleman, Defensive Line
Coleman should add depth to the nose guard spot, as someone with legitimate size straight out of the box. Coleman didn't play much during his senior year due to an injury, but should challenge at a spot where Cal needs bodies. If Siu Fuimaono gets hurt, Coleman could see more time than expected early.
Blake Antzoulatos, Inside Linebacker
Antzoulatos was at his best when playing against some of the best competition that southern California had to offer, which makes him the most ready of Cal's inside linebackers going into the 2019 season. The depth chart is crowded on the inside, but Antzoulatos' tackling ability should garner him reps on special teams, along with in certain packages.
Makai Polk, Wide Receiver
A bit of a wild card here, as Polk had some issues with being sick during spring ball, but this is based on projection. Polk, at 6'3", gives the Bears another wideout who can get up and make contested catches. In seeing him play live, he's great with the ball in his hands. With a spring and summer of conditioning under his belt, Polk should see some early playing time for his measureables, much like Ogunbanjo a year ago.