Football: Dykes upbeat about recruiting outlook after signing five mid-year prospects

On the day he announced the signing of four junior college defensive players and a versatile mid-year high school graduate, Cal coach Sonny Dykes predicted even bigger recruiting news.

Dykes said the coaching staff has been “incredibly well-received” by potential recruits on the heels of a 1-11 season, and he has high expectations for the Feb. 5 high school signing day.

“I would expect it to be a top-three in the league (class). I would be shocked if it’s not,” Dykes said. “I don’t think (the 2013 season) had any negative impact on recruiting at all.”

The Bears currently are nowhere close to a top-three Pac-12 class, at least according to the online recruiting sites. Scout.com rates Cal’s list of oral commitments as No. 9 in the conference, while Rivals.com ranks the Bears No. 10. Dykes said he expects to sign 13 to 15 high school players.

On Wednesday, the Bears addressed some immediate needs on defense. They got defensive end Jonathan Johnson to flip from Arizona State, giving them a pass rusher they lacked last fall.

Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 240-pounder, grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa., and played the past two seasons at Pierce College in Los Angeles. He is rated as a three-star prospect by Scout.com.

The Bears also signed three earlier commitments: defensive tackle Trevor Kelly and safety/outside linebacker Sam Atoe from College of San Mateo and defensive tackle David Davis of Long Beach City College.

All four will enroll in classes after the semester break and be available for spring workouts, and Dykes said he expects all of them to compete for starting jobs.

Cal also signed mid-year high school graduate Devante Downs, a fullback/linebacker from Mountainlake Terrace, Wash.

A 6-foot-2, 225-pounder, Downs missed all of the 2013 season after suffering a knee injury last June and probably will participate in spring workouts on a limited basis, Dykes said.

Dykes also addressed a variety of other topics during a half-hour teleconference with reporters:


There have been no changes to the coaching staff, but Dykes would not rule out movement in the coming weeks. “That’s always fluid,” he said. “We’ll see how things play out. We’re always looking to try to get better.”


Five juniors have asked for NFL evalutions: running back Brendan Bigelow, tight end/receiver Richard Rodgers, linebacker Khairi Fortt, cornerback Kam Jackson and safety Michael Lowe. Dykes said he will discuss each situation after the reports come back. “I always want to do what’s best for the student-athlete,” he said.


Dykes said he won’t sign off on the release of any player trying to transfer to another Pac-12 school, which is fairly standard. That means quarterback Zach Kline, hoping to move to Oregon State, will have to file an appeal or face a two-year waiting period to become eligible to play.


Dykes said quarterback Jared Goff, who had surgery after disclocating his shoulder in the Big Game, is ahead of schedule in his recovery. Defensive end Brennan Scarlett, who missed all of 2013 with a hand injury, is close to being medically cleared. And defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil, sidelined all season by a knee injury, is feeling less pain after surgery last month, but probably will miss spring ball.


Wide receiver Trevor Davis, a transfer from Hawaii who worked on the scout team in the fall, was put on scholarship. A junior from Alhambra High-Martinez, Davis caught 45 passes in two seasons at Hawaii.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Juancho

    So i guess we can take back those kudos of how kind dykes was to sign off on klines transfer. What did kline do to puss him off ? Cut the kid a break.

    Excited about his optimism for the class. Means he expects a few studs. Mixon et al.

    As i expected looks like fortt and bigelow will leave. Both are physical specimens who will be drafted on combine work.

    Jalil is someone im chalking up as done. Injury bug took him down. Same way i feel about forbes and mclure and senastian and scarlett.

    We need to not count on those guys. If they heel up itll be gravy. But jalil has a chronic knee. Scarlett chronic hand. Forbes chronic back. Mclure chronic knees. Avery is injury prone from style of play.

    I pray they heel up. But coaches need to develop those around them as the new starters.

  • covinared

    Don’t see any of those requesting evaluations going in the draft.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    I’d like to take him seriously, but #3 in the conference? Does he take us for idiots? This is the kind of statement, should he come nowhere near, will haunt him. I already considered him a smooth talking used car salesman. Reading this bold face proclamation sounds an awful lot like “This Nova will get you 40 mpg on the freeway” (and at least that COULD be true if you were going down hill in nuetral!).

    After the 1-11 debacle, I was figuring anything inside of a #35 national recruiting ranking would be a major step forward, inside 30 would be a tremendous win, gathering momentum.

    Seriously, does anyone think he can crack the top half of the conference in recruiting this year? I’m saying the man is either a complete BS artist or he’s just plain delusional.

    Prove me wrong with that #3 in conference recruiting class, Sonny. Please.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Dykes needs to change his stand on Kline’s transfer. First, it should count as a player getting a new coach. Second, Kline was professional as all hell off the field, something that should be rewarded.

    I don’t care that he is staying in conference. Dykes threw him under the bus enough. I swear I am really starting to hate Sonny Dykes personally. He’s not coming off as that good guy we were sold when he was hired.

  • Bold words from Dykes… top three in the conference for the HS Class…I hope he is right..we got a lot of ground to make up and also to hold to what we have…right now rivals rates our class 10th in the pac 12..to get to top three will require Mixon and several other 4 star types to sign up…I will settle for top five in the conference if he can pull it off…

  • steve

    whatever. Kline cares about one thing and that’s kline. His cal song and dance is over. He got cocky and couldn’t compete. He expected a hand out and got Goffed. And then he decides to go to oregon state after all his cal preaching. good riddance. You mean to tell me no other school would take him? hardly. fumbelow i only know his name for obvious reasons. he will be a great special teams person in the nfl and then fizzle out and get cut in a year. all speed no football talent. Those other players – who are they? I’ve never heard of them making a consistent meaningful contribution. Dykes is delusional. end football at cal and retain the nobelaurettes that stanford will poach.

  • wehofx

    Extremely disappointed SD is playing hardball w Zach. All I can say is that I expected ZK to go to a school like Duke, NU or vandy. Maybe this will “encourage” him to rethink his transfer. That said, it sucks.

    If SD is willing to play hardball w ZK, he better show some consistency and play hardball w buh.

    RE: SD’s recruiting projection. It’s a binary solution. Come feb 11(??), he’s gotta know if he’s wrong, he’ll be on the HOT seat 1 season earlier.

    I’m hopeful he’s right. Top 3 in the Pac? HOT DAMN!

  • milo

    Wow, 3rd in the conference in recruiting? So who’s at #1 and #2, and #4, #5?

    U$C, UCLA, Oregon, Stanford? Then there’s ASU and UDub with Petersen.

    Maybe it’s true, but dude after getting cold cocked and barfed on with a 1-11 season, it’s better to lay low and say little. This is the Texass talker crap I hate. You only get to boast or brag if you do something. One win over a FCS is not something.

    Please STFU and just win.

  • Rob Bear

    Amen to #6. Can you imagine if the rest of the team thought this way? I’m not starting, therefore I am leaving – and to a school in our conference? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Just because you are a quarterback, you do not have the right to throw your former teammates under the bus.

    Straighten the ship Bears! Instead of wishing this guy all of the luck at OSU and a pro career on a platter, make him regret his decision to play for a competing school in our conference. With EXTREME PREJUDICE BEARS!

  • HeteroscedasticBear

    I take Sonny Dykes as seriously as I do, John Candy. Come to think of it, he looks a lot like John Candy (double chin). If he were alive, he could play SD in a movie.

    We’re stuck with SD and his decisions. I don’t like it, but what else can we do? Gotta hope.

    Go Bears!

  • KC

    Good to hear Dykes thinks we have some momentum in recruiting as we need help at a lot of positions, pretty much everywhere except WR. But how dare he be positive about our recruiting efforts…my god, the vast majority of people who comment here would rather go negative immediately. These are difficult times no doubt, but the constant negativity and spite is tiring.

    Go Bears!

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Rob Bear, c’mon man. There is a big difference between a player leaving because he is not going to start and what happened with Kline, as in told he was not in their plans moving forward, behind Goff now, likely behind Rubenzer next season, and don’t forget how often Sonny threw him under the bus with the media.

    Is he supposed to be a TEAM guy and start doing special teams play, giving up QB?

    It’s simply different for QBs. Other positions have multiple spots that they can compete for AND be a back-up for. There remains a good chance to play, if not soon, in a year or two with work. For a QB, especially one not recruited by a HC for a specific system, his chances at playing time get WORSE as new prospects come in. He’d be QB#3 next year, #4 or lower the year after.

    It’s plain BS to not let play in the Pac 12 after a year off, as if that isn’t hard enough. Plus, if Dykes is so down on the kid, wouldn’t Cal be better off with him sucking for an opponent in our conference? That’s unless Dykes is wrong, of course.

  • The Wisdom Cow

    KC, had he proclaimed “top hald of the conference,” I’d have doubted it would happen, but would have agreed that the optimistic outlook is needed, especially while still recruiting. However, top 3? That’s delusional. It’s too optimistic. It’s the kind of thing a recruit reads, a recruit being contacted by most of the Pac, the type needed to be a top 3 class, and said recruit laughs his ass off.

    You have to take an objectively reasonable perspective and then push the optimistic press release quotes just out of reach. People (specifically recruits and their parents) have to read it and think, “Yeah, if things fall into place, that COULD happen.”

    Again, had he said “top half” of the conference, I wouldn’t be critical, but when he just floats fantasy out there, it does more harm than good.

  • HeteroscedasticBear

    FYI. Our friend Tosh Lupoi is going to be in big trouble. I think one way to make money is if Sandy puts Tosh Lupoi’s face in the men’s urinals and you have to pay $1 to use them. I’m sure that would generate a lot of revenue.


  • Wehofx

    sorry jf but too good not to share.

    Boat ‘ho at it again


    if link isn’t hot. Gary Klein lat.

  • Raf

    Wooooow. Not looking good of Lupoi. In a year or two he’ll be knocking on Cal’s door hat in hand, looking for a job as a water boy. But at least he’ll be a water boy with a boat ;). Would we take him back?

  • 707 Bear

    Hetero…thanks for the link to an excellent–and ugly–investigation by the LA Times.

    If true, Tosh is in BIG trouble.

    On a lighter note…..season tickets for the 2014 football season are available for purchase and make an excellent Christmas gift.

    Go Bears

  • Larry

    Will Downs play LB or FB/Bone at Cal?

  • Larry

    Wow, that LA Times article on Tosh making payments is crazy. He would fit right in at U$C! I bet U$C hires Tosh, he is the perfect douche bag for them.

  • Steve W

    Sounds like Dykes is expecting to land both Rubenzer and Tre Watson. I watched most of the Corona/Bosco game last week and saw Watson put up 233 yards on one of the top defenses in the state. Watson is smallish but extremely durable and has explosive quickness hitting the holes. A few downsides, though: he is not good at breaking tackles and doesn’t seem too interested in taking on defenders trying to kill his quarterback. He would be an exciting addition, but not the program changer I had thought when reading about his stats.

  • Eric

    No commentary from Woj/Moron re Tosh-gate II?

  • Gobears49

    Got to hand it to Dykes. He has swashbuckling style. But with his prediction, we’ll soon find out if he is all hat and no cattle (Texas talk for someone not being able to produce what he says he will).

    With regard to not giving approval to Kline not being able to transfer to a Pac 12 school without sitting out two years, which Dykes said was “fairly standard,” to make a fair judgment about the fairness of that, I would love to see stats as to how many football players transferred within the Pac 10 and Pac 12 conference and how many of those were hit with a two year period where the player had to sit out.

    For all of the great things Kline tried to do for Cal, which I think included trying to encourage other good football players to enroll at Cal, which was far beyond what was expected from him, I think if there were even one or two players who were allowed to transfer within league without having to sit out two years, Cal should approve the transfer with only a one year sit-out period. Again, if a one-year period has been imposed in at least two situations, Sandy could show some unusual class and sit down with our gunslinger coach and convince him it is the fair thing to do under the circumstances.

  • Gobears49

    Here is a link to the article published online in the L.A. Times this evening about Lupoi. Also a quote from it.


    A USC person with knowledge of the process said Lupoi’s chance of being hired by USC was now “less than zero.” The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation and requested anonymity.

  • Gobears49

    BTW, I’d be surprised if Dykes has the authority to make a determination how many years Kline has to sit out. That is not really a football decision, since Kline will no longer be playing for Cal. That should be an athletic department decision and thus should directly fall into Sandy’s lap. She should listen to what Dykes has to say, but the final decision should be hers.

    That’s my opinion. Would love to hear if anyone thinks I am wrong about that.

  • Steve

    He doesn’t. It’s an NCAA decision. So yes you are wrong.

    Anyway, the point is the rule is to discourage all the kids transferring in-conference and on to the next greatest thing. It is college football, not the pros. He signed up to go to the school, follow through. He has no sense of commitment or what it means to take school seriously. Otherwise the last place he would have gone to is Oregon State. And in the most roundabout way at that. Are you telling me he couldn’t have gone to Harvard? Yale? All those schools had his kind of ‘talent’? Duke? The list goes on.

    Have fun at the JC Kline. I’ll laugh when he sits at Oregon State since Riley knows how to pick up kids who WANT TO COMPETE.

  • The Wisdom Cow


    I love how U$C, after they have already hired Sark, and after discovered the Tosh issue, say they are certain Sark is clean.

    It’s just one more degree of separation, plausible deniability.

    YET, I can’t wait to learn what an investigation of Tosh’s bank statements say. If the 3k came out of his account, he’s done. But what if it didn’t? Could there be a hush hush slush fund of $100 bills sitting around that new UW stadium? This could get juicy as all hell.

    Remember, Tosh fell on the sword for Tedford and Co with the faked injuries, and he was bitter as all hell about it later. Do you think he’s going to fall on a sword for Sark and U$C’s new hire after thay declare his chances to be hired as nil?

  • The Wisdom Cow

    Steve, oh please. It’s a two way street. He signed up to play in Tedford’s pro set offense, too. I guess I may think differently had he been given a real shot to step in, had he gotten a full week of first team reps, but the whole thing felt like he got the shaft to me. Regardless, everything he did in his time here was above and beyond. It’s not like he would get to play next season.

    Like GoBears49 wrote, if there is a kid you waive the 2nd year for, it would be him. Absolutes shouldn’t apply.

  • steve

    He already had his chance to jump ship first year. He sat and waited to be handed the job. I don’t see why you think he’s so dedicated to Cal and that he’s done so much for the program. He tried to keep his skill players so HE would look better if he got a chance to start. How did he go above and beyond by sitting on the bench and throwing a bunch of picks and garbage TDs? You have a severe case of philo-backupitis and i suggest you get treatment for it. The RULES WERE NOT MEANT TO BE BROKEN!!!

    I don’t see how you are getting this imaginary conspiracy either. He had his chance in practice. He didn’t capitalize. Keep hoping for his talent to materialize but when it comes down to it, the kid couldn’t do what Kevin Riley did, and that’s start at Cal.

    NEXT MAN UP !!!!!!!!

  • Tosh-Gate…Sounds like he took courses from Coach Bozeman.
    Let’s see the Head DC didn’t he come from U Tenn? Could be we are looking at a Miami like situation at the good old UW….Shaq you ready to transfer back home yet?

  • Easy Ed

    Wow! I knew that eventually Tosh “Piece of $hit” Lupoi would show his true colors but not this soon. Based upon my reading of the article in the Seattle and LA Times, I believe the informant is connected to Sarsleazian. The Sleazemeister knows he can’t bring the Piece of $hit with him to USC and he doesn’t want his cheating ass at UW so he leaks this story. Typical of the Sleazmeister, he did the same thing to Cal, we had new facilities and everything we needed to clean up with recruits and the Sleazemeister comes in and steals the Piece of $hit. UW builds new facilities and the Sleazemeister takes steps to cripple their program. PERFECT! UW is destroyed, Piece of $hit is eliminated and USC has the Sleazemeister, Kharma is a BITCH,

  • The Wisdom Cow

    If I have back-up-itis, you have He’s-Leaving-Cal-Screw-Him-And-Belittle-Him-Itis.

  • Easy Ed

    Sure thing Wisdom Cow. I have a really bad case. Eat $hit and die Tosh.

  • Gobears49


    Based upon what you said in your comment #25 above, I think you are wrong, at least based upon what Jeff wrote.

    Jeff wrote the following — “Dykes said he won’t sign off on the release of any player trying to transfer to another Pac-12 school, which is fairly standard. That means quarterback Zach Kline, hoping to move to Oregon State, will have to file an appeal or face a two-year waiting period to become eligible to play.”

    Based upon what Jeff wrote it becomes what you have characterized as “an NCAA decision” only if the decision is placed in their lap to decide That only happens, per Jeff’s language above, when Cal doesn’t sign off on releasing Kline to allow him to play at OSU after only one year of not being able to play. So it only becomes an NCAA decision if Cal doesn’t sign off to allow Kline to play after only one year of not being to play, not the normal two years in this situation.

    If Cal does have a chance to sign off on the release to allow Kline to play sooner, I think that’s (or should be) a Sandy decision rather than a Dykes decision. Kline is effectively not on the Cal team anymore, or at least has evidenced his interest at playing at Cal an longer. That should make Cal’s decision is non-football matter and thus an administrative one, thus making it Sandy’s call, perhaps with some input from Dykes. At least that’s the way I see it.

  • 707 Bear

    On Kline:

    Make him sit out two more years!!!….you guys are tough.

    One year seems more than enough to stop players from jumping ship.

    College is about preparing for the future. Let Kline get on with his.

    On Tosh:

    I love a good dose of “schadenfreude” around the holidays.

    Go Bears

  • Gobears49

    Sark’s claims that he did not know anything about what Tosh was doing will likely be investigated but the NCAA, especially if Tosh gets into trouble. I think Sark’s future with USC is somewhat in doubt. Dykes could use this situation for his advantage, while not mentioning USC, to recruits that are considering USC. All he needs to say to those recruits is that neither he nor any of his staff, or former staff, is being investigated for anything.

  • Larry

    With the Kline thing, it was Sonny who sat him down and told Kline that he has no future at Cal other than a backup role. So I don’t blame Kline for leaving.
    With that said, this is a brutal business, like it or not, Sonny has to protect his position in the PAC-12.
    A win-win would be that Kline goes to a Big 10 school like Wisconsin or Minnesota and still have a chance at a Rose Bowl.

  • BlakeStreetBear

    This is what I’d say to Zach: “Tough titty said the kitty when the milk ran dry.”

    I like Sonny’s decision. It sets a precedent. You wanna come to Cal, you better come for real. Intra-conference transfers are bold requests coming from a highly recruited player. I don’t think it is in Cal’s best interest to let players switch within the conference – sorry Zach, sjsu will take you!

    Go Bears!

  • The Wisdom Cow

    BSB, I’m reaching the opposite conclusion based on the same PRECEDENT rationale.

    If you are a devoted little soldier and do everything right off the field, should things on the field go south, we’ll think about waiving the 2nd year.

    Consider, too, regardless of the “top 3 in conference” prediction, Cal is not exactly a prime destination right now. Why not win the close calls with recruits that are on the fence? Choose Cal and we’ll let you out to another Pac 12 school should things fall apart her if you take care of off the field business while you are here?

    I think it is reasonable to assume a significant portion of Pac 12 players WANT to be on the west coast in a top conference, and there is only one. With the above as precident, a player may be more willing to buy into a “play soon” pitch over one of the other currently more successful schools where he may be on the bench longer. Why not? “If it turns out I am not playing, I may be able to transfer and stay in the Pac,” he may think.

    I get the idea that you do not want guys going to rival schools and being able to divuldge play book and such, but Cal needs some extra selling points, especially after the debacle of a season.

    Last, how does it look in terms of confidence? Tell a recruit once you decide on Cal, we’re going to hold you to it no matter what, or tell a recruit “Yeah, we let Kline go. We’ll always consider waiving the year on a case by case basis. You are going to love it here and not want to leave anyways.”?

  • Gobears49

    I understand the need to take steps to discourage intra-conference transfers to avoid having a former Cal player play a significant role in leading his transferee school to victory over Cal.

    However, given that Kline has been such a model and outward supporter of Cal’s football program, even outwardly encouraging the best players to attend Cal, I think an exception to the two year rule should be applicable in his case. Cal could put this issue to bed by publicly indicating that in the future, no exceptions to the two year rule will be made, making it clear that the “tough tithes” rule, described above, will then apply.

  • Gobears49

    “tough titties” (overrided autocorrect)

  • BlakeStreetBear

    I just think there should be a rule, and no waiver this, no waiver that. If you sign an LOI for a school in a conference and they give you a scholarship then you have effectively waived your “right” to play for another school in the conference for ANY reason whatsoever. There are lots and lots of schools that play football. Zach choosing osu, which is not only in the pac12 but in the pac12 NORTH, is just asking for trouble and puts both coaches in a awkward situation. Zach coulda decided to play at about 50 other BCS schools without a hint of controversy, but he chose a school that is on the schedule every season. Signing an LOI is not just a formality, it is a contract between the university and the student-athlete and should not be taken lightly. Zach should go to San Jose State or UC Davis or any other non-pac12 school. And he will probably even win the QB job there as a 4th-year 22 year-old sophomore! Heck, Zach may play until he’s 27 if he doesn’t get the starting job at his next school, why not just transfer again!? Maybe back to Cal for his 8th-year senior year where he can be the holder or something?

  • milo

    You know what, these kids are still amateurs and many have a chance at a career at the next level. Yes they get a scholarship but lets get real, while it’s consensual, it’s not exactly a fair deal given how much money is being made off college football. Head coach is getting paid $2m/yr. Players get an education, room/board as well as limits on what he can do, like hold a PT job to earn a few bucks.

    Given all of this, and the regime change, cut Kline loose (or any player) and let him play where he wants.

  • wehofx


    GoldenBlogs ‏@GoldenBlogs 39m

    Oops. No 2-yr rule exists for intra-conference transfers. Kline & Tagaloa will probably spend next yr in a JC, then sign w/ their new school

  • Ray Finkle

    Coaches leave schools all the time for other schools and DON’T sit out a year. Plain and simple. Dykes is a total deuchebag and I cannot wait for him and SB to be fired next season. Kline is a great kid and 1 year is plenty. This sucks. What are you scared of Sonny?

  • Gobears49

    Should have known two year penalty for intra-conference transfers was WAY too severe.

    Here’s a pdf I found, with no date on it, which says for the Pac-12 the penalty for transferring to another Pac-12 school is no competition one academic year. Also, it seems to says that the transferee cannot get an athletic scholarship; for one year and also, for a waiver of the one-year rule, nine schools in the conference have to approve that waiver. I have no idea if this summary is correct or is in effect right now.


    I think a one year non-competition rule makes sense to discourage transfers within a conference, so now I’m on board with Dykes on this. I definitely wouldn’t be if he was trying to keep Kline from playing for two years.

  • Tommy Kelly

    Lost in this discussion is how many poor-performing QB recruits Cal has had over the last decade. It began with Joe Ayoob and Nate Longshore and has continued on from there. Even the so-called “successful” ones, such as Kevin Riley and Zack Maynard, were nothing to write home to mother about. When Tedford was hired, he immediately got both Kyle Boller and Aaron Rodgers rolling and everyone pronounced him a QB guru. After that — flop city! One can only hope that Goff is about to break this prolonged string of glaring failures at this most important position. If not, Luke Rebenzer — next up — lurks!

  • Gobears49

    Didn’t see the rule in the link above, but I would imagine that, if there is a rule that nine schools in the Pac-12 have to approve a waiver of the one year non-competition rule, one of those waivers must be by the transferor school.

  • Gobears49

    Tommy Kelly,

    I would rate the four QB’s you say were flops as follows:

    1 Longshore (who was not a flop, and at one time was rated in the top 10 QB’s in the country; he just injured his foot or ankle and never really recovered from it). He had an NFL arm and was an accurate thrower. I was surprised he didn’t get a decent shot in the NFL.
    2. Riley – I think he went downhill under Tedford.
    3. Ayoob tied with Maynard — both were not accurate passers though, I think, Maynard had decent overall stats in terms of yards passed for. Ayoob was a classy runner.

    Both Longshore and Riley were Elite 11 QB’s, which Cal specializes in recruiting. Cal is now tied with USC in recruiting them, at ten.

  • wehofx

    (I’m pretty sure) Wilkerson’s transfer to zona is one recent exception to SD’s policy.

    I guess you can say injury and class – jr(??) – are mitigating factors. Or, SD asked him to leave(??).