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Drew Kobayashi – best chance to be first Asian NFL WR – visits his new school, Cal

Cal wide receiver commit Drew Kobayashi discusses who will succeed Tony Franklin as the Bears’ offensive coordinator

Cal wide receiver commit Drew Kobayashi talks about the “shocking” departure of Tony Franklin, his teammate Nate Herbig, recovering from his hamstring injury and more.

California wide receiver commit Drew Kobayashi, like much of the Cal community, was surprised when the Bears’ offensive coordinator Tony Franklin resigned to take the same position closer to family at Middle Tennessee State, but, after his official visit this weekend, he’s reassured that the offense won’t be changing much, at least as far as he’s concerned.
“Coaches addressed us today (Sunday) about it, and they told us all that they’re working to keep it the same, and coach Sonny [Dykes] already has who he wants, or, already has people that he wants, and he’s just going to make sure that they keep it all in the spread, getting the ball out there to the receivers,” Kobabyashi said.
Initially, Kobayashi said, he was “shocked” when Franklin departed.
“Coach Franklin was a big deal for me, coming in to school,” Kobayashi said. “I really wanted to be in his offense, as well as Sonny Dykes’s, but it was shocking to know that he left, to go to Middle Tennessee. It was kind of shocking for me, but it was reassuring when coach Sonny said he was going to keep the same offense, and find someone just like him.”

Of course, it’s going to be tough to find someone quite like Franklin, though there are contenders, including Kansas OC and former Cal outside receivers coach Rob Likens.
Apart from the offense being addressed, the weekend was about shoring up some wavering commits, and pulling in new ones, which, for Kobayashi, meant working on offensive lineman Nate Herbig, a former Stanford commit who fould out last weekend that he’d been admitted into Stanford on his official visit to Palo Alto. Kobayashi flew in to the Bay Area on Wednesday, and Herbig on Thursday, so they didn’t share a plane flight, but they did share the weekend together.
“I think he had a great visit,” Kobayashi said of his high school teammate at Honolulu (HI) St. Louis. “I think he’s going to fit right in with Cal, and I think he really loves it and stuff. He hasn’t really said too much, about what he wants to pick, so I’m still confused on that. But, if he does pick Cal, I think he’ll be a great fit for us, and I know he loves all the boys that we had here on the visit, and for sure, he’s going to have a great time here.”
Kobayashi used his extra time in the Bay Area — he stayed through Sunday night, as well — to explore his new surroundings with his parents.

“We hit up the outlet mall, and we were driving around looking around San Leandro, cruising around the Oakland area, too, checking out the places,” Kobayashi said.
Of course, right in the middle of the weekend was the Cal basketball team’s upset win over No. 11 Arizona. Right in the middle of that were the official visitors, who stormed the court with the rest of the football team, and the student body.
“Aw, that was great,” Kobayashi said. “We had a bunch of fun storming that court after the game. That was a big game, and we loved the whole game. It kind of got all of us together. We were cheering, and felt like we were already in school, just cheering in the student section.”

After the game, Kobayashi and the rest of the visitors and their hosts — Kobayashi was hosted by JuCo receiver transfer Jordan Veasy, who just enrolled — tooled around Berkeley going to celebratory parties.
“He was great as a host, and he knew everything he was talking about,” Kobayashi said. “He knew the whole campus, where to go, and he had all the hookups and stuff. It was great. I was actually surprised about how much he knew about the campus, just being here for a week.”
Kobayashi got to speak with two other Islanders on campus, in receiver Kanawai Noa and Semisi Uluave.
“It was really reassuring knowing that Noa’s here, as well as Semisi Uluave,” Kobayashi said. “It was good to hear that they’re all here too, and that they’re coming back next year. I didn’t really get to talk to [Noa] much, because Kanawai had his surgery, so he was hanging out in the dorms, so he didn’t really get to do much. But, it’s good knowing that they’re here, and knowing that they’re doing so great here. My chance to move in next year, and maybe even get a spot, I just can’t wait for it.”
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The best part of the weekend for Kobayashi, was seeing the facilities.
“We saw the stadium, the whole place, and the players that are in school, and we were talking with them, and we got to hang out after the game, go around the school, and stuff like that,” Kobayashi said. “That was a cool experience just to have that.”
Kobayashi had a tough season this year, battling through a nagging right hamstring injury he suffered before the season, during a 7-on-7 tournament in Las Vegas.
“It was all throughout the preseason, and the season, so it was real bad; I just couldn’t get away from it,” said Kobayashi, who was still named second-team all-state, despite playing barely three quarters of a season.
“It’s gone now, so it’s not too big, but this past season, I had a lingering hamstring that’s kind of stuck with me,” Kobayashi said. “I had about seven or eight games. Right now, the coaches are making me condition. They said that the fastest way to be a redshirt is coming out unconditioned, so that’s what I’ve been doing, is just conditioning myself. I’ve been lifting some weight, trying not to get too much weight on me, because they want to keep me fast. I’m just lifting weights and conditioning.”
And Kobayashi certainly has speed. His best laser time is a 4.54 40, but he’s run 4.49 and 4.48 recently.
“I’ve been picking it back up,” Kobayashi said. “Right after my last game, I went back into therapy for my leg, because I didn’t have much time to do it during the season. Right after the season, I went back into therapy for four weeks, and then I started lifting heavy and getting back into shape, and I started running about two weeks ago.”
Kobayashi said he feels like his hamstring is fine now, but is keeping an eye on it during rehab.

Source: Visit Report: Kobayashi Talks OC Changes