I would surmise if he's from California, he may have family that wants to see him play, may have a shot at playing immediately if they have a need at his position. Perhaps the school offers a field of study he's interested in, could be any number of reasons.
For depth and some to most are more developed in terms of strength and conditioning so they'd provide better immediate depth instead of high school prospects. Until depth is fully established in that position like it should be then we will keep getting juco players.
Jan 8, 2020: The Oregon State Beavers signed all but one of their verbal commitments during the December early signing period with the lone holdout being Alex Lemon, the nation’s No. 2 junior college defensive end. At the time, sources close to the situation indicated that the 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive lineman, out of San Diego Mesa College (California), was unlikely to qualify academically during the 2019-2020 school year.
On Wednesday, Lemon clarified his situation, stating that due to both personal family matters and academic issues he will be returning to San Diego Mesa College for another year and hopes to be a mid-year transfer in the 2021 recruiting class. “I still plan on signing with Oregon State - it’s possible,” he said. “But because of some personal situations with my family I won’t be graduating until next winter.” Lemon later added that academics were also a factor and that he had more work to do in the classroom in order to transfer to a Division I school. Alex Lemon, Oregon State pledge and nation’s No. 2 JC DE, to remain in junior college until 2021 recruiting cycle
HS junior (2016-17): 42 tackles, 4.5 TFL & 2 sacks in 10 games
HS senior (2017-18): 62 tackles, 12.5 TFL & 3 sacks in 11 games
JUCO freshman (2018-19): 9 tackles, 1.5 TFL & 1 sack in 6 games
I’ll add J Reed to that list. A guy who I coached (was on the staff but not his position coach at Goldsboro).
The truth is I see JUCOs as a win, win. Instead of spending 2-3 years developing a kid while he takes up one of your 85 spots, allow a CC to do so. Especially when it comes to positions like linemen who need time to grow and develop