Zion Echols, a three-star “athlete” prospect from Charter Oaks High in West Covina, had offers from seven Pac-12 schools and announced Saturday he will attend Cal.
A 5-foot-10, 170-pounder, Echols also had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State, Utah and Washington State in the Pac-12, along with Boise State, BYU, LSU and San Jose State.
Cal got its third oral commitment from a defensive back Wednesday when cornerback Traveon Bell of St. John Bosco-Bellflower chose the Bears.
Bell announced his commitment on Twitter: “Well it’s official ! … I’m so happy and blessed to say I have committed to being a Cal Bear !! #CalGang2016 !!!”
Bell is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder chose Cal over Arizona State, Washington, Wisconsin and San Jose State, among others, according to Rivals.com.
He is Cal’s eighth 2016 commitment, joining safeties Marquel Dismuke and Shurod Thompson.
The long wait is over, presumably.
On the day before the spring signing period ends, five-star center Caleb Swanigan committed to Purdue, alma mater of his legal guardian and former Boilermaker football player Roosevelt Barnes.
Cal went hard after the 6-foot-9, 265-pounder from Fort Wayne, Indiana, who last month de-committed from Michigan State. Top-10 recruits and Cal signees Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown — Swanigan’s teammates on the postseason high school all-star circuit — tried to get him to Berkeley.
Instead, he stayed home and, in the process, likely kept peace in his family.
Commitments are not binding until a letter-of-intent is signed.
Here’s the story posted by Evan Daniels of Scout.com, who first reported the news Tuesday morning. Here’s more, from ESPN.com.
Cal got an oral commitment Friday from offensive tackle Jake Curhan, a 6-foot-7, 315-pounder from Redwood High in Larkspur.
Rated a three-star prospect by both Scout and Rivals, Curhan has a 3.97 grade-point average, according to the recruiting website.
He chose Cal after also getting offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Oregon State, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Washington State, among others.
Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News, who knows his stuff, has projected the Bears as the nation’s No. 13 team entering next season.
Heady stuff for a program that finished in a three-way tie for eighth place in the Pac-12 last season and did not participate in the postseason.
DeCourcy notes that Cal has three double-figure scorers returning in the backcourt — Tyrone Wallace, Jordan Mathews and Jabari Bird. “Elite recruit Jaylen Brown is better than all of them,” he writes. “McDonald’s All-American Ivan Rabb was one of the most coveted frontcourt recruits.”
But DeCourcy also points out, “What’s worrisome about the Bears is how truly mediocre with a fairly solid roster last season. We’re supposed to be excited about Jordan, Mathews and Bird returning, but they’re returning from a team that lost six of its final eight games and barely competed in two losses to Arizona.”
Here’s The Sporting News’ entire top-25:
1. Kansas; 2. Maryland; 3. North Carolina; 4. Kentucky; 5. Duke; 6. Virginia; 7. Iowa State; 8. Arizona; 9. Wichita State; 10. Gonzaga; 11. Oklahoma; 12. Villanova; 13. Cal; 14. North Carolina State; 15. Indiana; 16. West Virginia; 17. Cincinnati; 18. Michigan; 19. Oregon; 20. Wisconsin; 21. Florida State; 22. Butler; 23. Michigan State; 24. LSU; 25. Xavier.
Two-sport star Tony Gonzalez, who went on to become the most prolific tight end in NFL history, leads a class of eight who will be inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.
Induction ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30, at the annual Hall of Fame banquet at the Greek Orthodox Church Conference Center in Oakland. The inductees will also be honored at halftime of Cal’s Oct. 31 home football game vs. USC.
Gonzalez played football and basketball at Cal, earning first-team All-America honors by Football News and Sporting News as a junior in 1996, when he caught 44 passes for 699 yards and five touchdowns.
Gonzalez completed his career with 89 catches for 1,302 yards and eight scores.
He played in 82 games for the basketball team, helping Cal to the Sweet 16 of the 1997 NCAA Tournament, which included a 23-point performance in a win over Villanova in the second round.
The 13th overall pick of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, Gonzalez played 17 seasons and in 270 games in the NFL for the Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons, recording 1,325 catches — second-most in NFL history — for 15,127 yards and 111 touchdown receptions before retiring after the 2013 season.
He was a 10-time All-Pro, a 14-time Pro Bowl choice and a member of the NFL’s 2000’s All-Decade Team.
Others named to the Cal Hall of Fame:
Cal coach Cuonzo Martin spent time this week talking about his program on the Pac-12 Sports Report, and enjoyed the news that Arizona coach Sean Miller said the Bears can win the national title next season.
But he also stressed that in Pac-12 basketball, all things run through Arizona.
Click here to watch his interview.
One day after he de-committed from Michigan State, giving Cal fans a reason to be optimistic, five-star center Caleb Swanigan reportedly has committed to Purdue.
Here’s the story on the website 247Sports.
Michael Williams didn’t want the athletic director’s job at Cal for more than a few months when he took over on an interim basis last June, but he said a series of up-close exchanges with football player Austin Clark last fall changed his perspective.
“After every game, Austin would give me the biggest, sweatiest, bloodiest, nastiest hug,” Williams said. “You don’t get that anywhere else.”
Williams’ interim tag was officially removed from his athletic director title Friday after a search that took more than 10 months but ended where it began.
Football coach Sonny Dykes and basketball coach Cuonzo Martin were in attendance at the campus news conference for Williams’ formal introduction as athletic director, and both coaches said they were pleased the choice.
Williams said he is excited about the arc of the school’s two most visible sports programs.
“Sonny has told me the third year is the great year in the Sonny Dykes system, so I’m looking forward it. No pressure,” Williams said, chuckling. “Cuonzo has brought something to Cal we haven’t had in years and years and years. (Through recruiting) he’s made Cal basketball relevant in the months of April and May.”
Cal’s 2015-16 basketball schedule is not yet finalized, but we do know some key dates:
Nov. 13 — The season opener will be at Haas Pavilion against Rice. The Owls were 12-20 last season.
Nov. 26-27 — The Bears will play in the Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena in a four-team event also featuring San Diego State (27-9 in 2014-15), West Virginia (25-10) and Richmond (21-14). Matchups for the Thanksgiving week event have not been set.
Dec. 2 — Cal visits Wyoming (25-10), completing the home-and-home that began last season with a 45-42 Bears’ win in Berkeley.
Dec. 22 — The Bears travel to Virginia (30-4) to face a Cavaliers’ squad which began last season with 19 straight wins and finished with a third-round NCAA tournament loss to Michigan State.