Dasarte Yarnway, a running back at Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco, is headed to Cal. Yarnway, an Oakland native, had Cal as his leader for months, and many Cal fans assumed that he would eventually choose to play in Berkeley.
Yarnway, listed at 6'0" and 215 pounds by Rivals.com, is a consensus four-star, top-25 back (No. 21 Rivals, No. 23 Scout). His signing is the biggest by the Bears since they picked up the commitment of quarterback Allan Bridgford, and gives the (thus far very small) 2009 Cal class the No. 19 and No. 33 overall players in the state of California.
Most exciting from a Cal fan's perspective is that it appears that over the past few years, coach Jeff Tedford has picked up a succession of running backs that could continue the recent tradition of powerful backfield duos (or trios) in Berkeley. Former backs include Joe Echimandu, J.J. Arrington, Marshawn Lynch, and Justin Forsett.
Yarnway is slightly taller and weighs about the same as Arrington, the last Pac-10 rusher to reach the 2,000-yard plateau. Dasarte describes himself as a "downhill runner" on his Scout.com profile.
Arrington and the Cal offensive line punished opposing defenses, especially in 2004, when he helped freshman Marshawn Lynch to average over eight yards a carry, mostly in the second half, and Yarnway no doubt hopes to do the same during his Cal career.
Yarnway will join a crowded backfield depth chart that includes Covaughn DeBoskie, Shane Vereen, and, of course, Jahvid Best, but could be used to soften up defenses, as well as in short-yardage situations, where his size and shiftiness could be extremely valuable. It will be a very competitive offseason between running backs, as even Best will only be a junior in 2009.
Although Vareen has shown both speed and the ability to run for tough yardage, and DeBoskie (who is currently red-shirted) was a top-30 running back when he signed, Yarnway could be a future star as well. Hopefully, the next Lavelle Hawkins is also out there somewhere.