The Bears made their eighth commitment of the 2023 class today, shooting a verbal 6-3/245 Rio Hondo (Arcadia, CA) Prep OLB Ryan McCullochthis afternoon.
“I just think going into it I just wanted to go somewhere where I could push myself the most but academically and athletically and I think at Cal they’re a perfect match for me in that aspect,” McCullock told about the reason for his engagement. at Cal.
The tri-sport athlete has had plenty of opportunities to see the program up close and personal with three visits to Berkeley in the past five months.
“I’ve been there three times,” McCulloch said. “My sister lives close by, so it was easier to make these unofficial visits so I could see her every time I rode. The first time was for the spring game. Then I went up there for a camp and then last week I was up there for the barbecue. Cal proposed to me before camp but they wanted me to visit whenever I could. I kinda made my deal at the barbecue.
During his visits, things clicked for McCulloch as he began to see more clearly how well he could fit into the program and develop under the tutelage of new OLB coach Vic So’oto.
“After meeting Coach So’oto, I got a lot of great feedback,” McCulloch said. “They compared the movie of guys like Cameron Goode and Marqez Bimage to mine and they showed me clips of myself and how they think I have the potential to do some of the same things.
“I talk with Coach So’oto and Coach (Ben Hawk) Schrider the most. He’s a hometown kid. They’re both great guys. I think Coach So’oto is the kind of coach who can really push me to my limits and at the same time I think he’s a great guy and a great family man and coach.
Many players aspiring to play at the top level are playing the transfer game, seeking greater exposure opportunities to try and fulfill their dreams, but McCulloch was convinced – with a little help – that success would find him where it was. was if he worked hard enough to get his goals. He thought about it seriously, at least before coming to that conclusion.
“Yeah, absolutely,” McCulloch said of his intention to transfer at some point. “I’m not going to lie about it. Early in high school I almost made it to second grade, but after talking to my parents and Coach Carson, my head coach, I think the intentions of the people there were real and that they would eventually help me. to be a better person and a better young man, so I think that’s why I stayed. I spoke to my father and he agreed. He said if I work hard I’ll get those Power 5, Pac-12 scholarships I wanted. After my freshman year, I set a goal to take football seriously and play in college.
“I think I’m really lucky that it worked out that way and that I stayed at home. The way my school works is we have a sister school called Pearl Prep for grades 1-6 and I was there. Then a lot of students from there go to Rio Hondo Preps, so we’ve been together for a long time. I have known my classmates since we were little.
Attending such a small school, the program needs all the athletes it can get, so there is little to no bench time for almost everyone in the program.
McCulloch had 76 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and 13 sacks on defense. On the other side of the ball, the 3-star OLB gained 408 yards on 67 carries and six rushing touchdowns and caught seven passes for 192 yards and three receiving touchdowns.
“It’s kind of crazy,” McCulloch said. “We all have to play it both ways and everyone plays about three sports. This year, I won’t be able to play basketball, so I’ll just play football and baseball.
Also an accomplished baseball player, McCulloch had an impressive .462 batting average, seven home runs and 46 RBIs to lead the region.
The Bears beat Colorado, Washington and Ivy League universities Harvard, Yale and Columbia for his commitment.
McCulloch becomes eighth Bear commit in Class 23, joining WR Nyziah Hunter, DT Ashton Sanders, DL Zürich-AshfordOF Tiumalu AfalavaHE B Cade Uluavesecurity RJ Jones and CB Sailasa Vadrawale.
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