Who is Cal recruiting at running back in 2021?

The Bears are looking at a bunch of different runners from across the nation.

Although the pandemic has stopped many Cal football operations of the spring, recruiting goes on. One of the major areas of need is adding another running back to the line of succession. The Bears definitely need one RB in this class, and would probably appreciate the chance at two.

Damien Moore and Chris Street provided Cal with a much needed athletic boost from the 2020 class. It will add depth to a position still in need of adding talent—Christopher Brown Jr. will be redshirt juniors, and Marcel Dancy and DeShawn Collins both redshirt seniors. This will be a good barometer of how Aristotle Thompson can recruit at a Power 5 position.

Here’s a look at top talent for the upcoming season.

Damir Collins, Portland (Ore.) (Hudl video highlights)

Potentially the best running back left on the board, the Jefferson all-purpose back has documented Cal in his top four, along with Oregon State, Maryland, and Arizona State. The stiffest competition is likely to come from the in-state Beavers.

Collins is currently listed as the 2nd best all-purpose back by 247 Sports Composite.

Byron Cardwell, San Diego (Ca.) (Hudl video highlights)

Cardwell is one of those prospects that Cal would love to land, but this is going to be a tough one. The four-star athlete has landed offers from most of the Pac-12, with LSU, Michigan, Penn State and Texas A&M also jumping into the fray. Nevertheless, Cal was warm early on Cardwell, who plans on being a running back in college.

Cardwell is ranked as the 16th best prospect in California and the 11th best running back in the nation by 247 Composite.

Justin Johnson, Edwardsville (Ill.) (Hudl video highlights)

One of the major pushes recruiting-wise recently has been with four-star running back Justin Johnson from Illinois. Johnson has been mostly on the radar of Big Ten programs, but Aristotle Thompson has picked up his efforts and located him as a significant target.

Johnson is ranked as the 28th best running back in the country by 247 Composite, and the eighth-best Illinois prospect.

Stevie Rocker Jr., Tucson (Az.) (Hudl video highlights)

It’s been a quiet recruitment so far for the Canyon Del Oro ball-carrier, who currently holds offers from Cal, Arizona, BYU and Nevada. That could all change relatively quickly as other programs start taking more notice. Even though Arizona is the hometown program, Cal probably has a good shot if the Bears miss out on other targets.

Rocker is ranked as the 81st-best running back in the nation and the 14th-best prospect from Arizona by 247 Composite.

Johnathan Arceneaux, Lawndale (Ca.) (Hudl video highlights)

Cal has also been looking under-the-radar to see if they can land a commit for someone who hasn’t broken out. One major California running back hails from Los Angeles County but has yet to pick up that much notoriety. Arceneaux currently holds five offers, the only Power 5 one coming from the Bears.