With the beginning of training camp now less than 48 hours away, here is a list of some newcomers to watch this fall:
1. Michael Calvin, wide receiver. He came to Cal as one of the more heralded prep wide receivers in the country, and it showed as a scout team player last season. Sometimes, it was hard not to watch him instead of the first and second stringers at practice. Calvin didn’t necessarily have a great spring, but sometimes that’s expected for a redshirt freshman who is coming off a scout season. Remember that Calvin spent all of last season running all of the opponents’ plays, so the springtime was a chance for him to digest Cal’s playbook. And you could see him getting better and more comfortable as spring went on, and he played pretty well during the last week. With the departure of DeSean Jackson, Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan, Calvin should be the Bears’ No. 1 receiver this season.
2. Nyan Boateng, wide receiver. Boateng transferred from Florida to Cal in time for 2007 spring practice, and he looked like the best player on the field. He has can’t-miss talent. But he almost didn’t make it to this season after struggling in the classroom and running into legal trouble last summer. He appears to have his act together now, although his work habits could have been better this spring. Coach Jeff Tedford is happy with how Boateng is progressing, and he could be a potential star if he does the right things.
3. DE Ernie Owusu. This guy has amazing strength and had a good spring. Given the Bears’ problems along the defensive line last season, it shouldn’t hurt Owusu’s chances for playing time that he is a redshirt freshman. The coaching staff simply wants production. There will be less chances for defensive linemen to get on the field becuase of the switch to the 3-4, and Owusu would have to pass Rulon Davis, Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu in the pecking order. But if anyone falters or is injured, Owusu could get a chance.
4. David Seawright, kicker. Seawright, a walk-on true freshman, should handle kickoff duties immediately. The Bears have an incumbent field goal kicker in Jordan Kay, but he was inconsistent last season after filling in for injured starter Tom Schneider. Seawright will get a chance to compete with Kay in the fall.
5. Mitchell Schwartz, offensive tackle. Schwartz was part of Cal’s stellar offensive line class from 2007. After redshirting last season, he made an impact in the spring. With Mike Gibson off the the NFL and Mike Tepper moving from right tackle to left tackle, there is a spot for the taking. Chet Teofilo is penciled in at right tackle for the time being, but Schwartz could give him a run for the money during camp.