|Bears Answer a Need On Special Teams|
One of the most glaring needs during Cal’s disappointing 2007 seasons was a kicker that could consistently put kicks deep into their opponent’s field. With a commitment from Rancho Bernardo High School kicker David Seawright, the Bears have potentially solved one of their biggest weaknesses.
|“I’d been up to Cal my sophomore year as a prospective student, even before football was in the picture,” said Seawright. “I was up there again for camp this summer along with an unofficial visit for the Arizona game.
“Really for the entire process, I was really confident in Cal. In my opinion, it was the best combination of athletics and academics out there. They’re always going to compete on the field but they’re one of the best around academically.
“My plan coming into this weekend was that I was going to commit unless something really went wrong. And to be honest, this weekend was even better than anything that I’d even expected. I was just blown away by everything.”
Seawright’s Rancho Bernardo squad had a bit of a disappointing season, going 4-6 with a 1st round playoff loss but the big 6-4/220 kicker/punter held up his end of the bargain, hitting 3 field goals over 50 yards along with an amazing 96 touchbacks –all but 3 of his total kickoffs on the season, with a 72 yard average per kick –all with a collegiate 1 inch tee. He also doubled impressively as a punter, averaging 42 yards per punt on the year which led San Diego County, earning All-CIF, All-Region and All-League honors as well as being selected to the SoCal Bowl
Despite his impressive punting prowess, Seawright will come in strictly as a kicker with redshirt freshman Bryan Anger ready to step into the punter role. With his big leg, look for Seawright to be a leading contender to take over for Andrew Larsen on kickoffs as well as getting a shot at competing for the starting kicking role.
Very few kickers come in with scholarships as it’s often hard to judge who will pan out at the demanding position.
There are many factors that contribute to the different dynamics between kicking in high school and college, including higher tees, which allow more lift on kicks, significantly wider goalposts and maybe the biggest factor of all; the pressure to come through with big kicks in front of crowds that dwarf anything any high school kicker has ever seen in competition leading up to their collegiate careers.
Many kickers choose to make their names by attending camps like Chris Sailor’s renowned program but Seawright opted to forego the publicity in favor of personal attention.
“The bigger camps are good for increased exposure but they’re not known for honing technique,” said Seawright. “I decided that I’d rather work at it and get better mechanically so I’d have a better chance to contribute early in my collegiate career rather than focusing on exposure.
John Matich of Kicking Systems was just what the doctor ordered for Seawright.
“Before I worked with John, when I just had power and raw ability, I was just as likely to make a 50 yard field goal as I was to shank a PAT. So he’s taken me and really worked on consistency in all facets of the game. He got me the consistency on kickoffs and field goals that I was looking for and was really able to use my size as an advantage with my power by increasing my flexibility and core strength to really help me improve.
“John worked with Billy Bennett from Torrey Pines High School and he ended up being one of the top five kickers in the country at Boston College and he’s helped a lot of other kickers develop, too.”
Seawright honed his leg strength playing soccer from a young age before taking up kicking.
“I played soccer up through my sophomore year but that year the football team was looking for a kicker and it worked out well enough for me that I decided to just focus on football after that year.”
With Seawright’s tremendous academics (3.9 GPA and 2080 SAT), from an academic standpoint he could have gone virtually anywhere and considered going the Ivy League route, with Harvard, Yale, Princeton and others expressing strong interest in him.
“I was talking about my dad about the combination of athletics and academics and what I’d have done if I had more exposure and more offers and we both agreed that even if I had offers from every program in the country, I still would’ve picked Cal with the combination of possibly being able to contribute early and their combination of academic and athletic achievement,” said Seawright.
“Early in the process, I let school know that didn’t fit my academic profile that I needed to go in a different direction. That obviously limited my offers but I don’t want to be naïve enough to expect that football will necessarily make a career for me. Even if football doesn’t work out for me long term, I’ve still got that amazing Cal degree.
As is usual for incoming Cal placekickers, Seawright will come in as a preferred walkon to compete for the job.
“They’re going to let us come in and compete and from my point of view, I just want to do everything I can to make Cal a better football program. While a scholarship would be good, that’s not my primary concern. My primary concern is to help make my team better and to compete in the best way that I can, concluded Seawright.”