Running back Brendan Bigelow became the fifth Cal junior to announce he intends to declare for the NFL draft, the athletic department confirmed. Wednesday is the deadline for juniors to enter their name.
Bigelow burst onto the scene with a spectacular 160-yard, two touchdown rushing performance at Ohio State as a sophomore in 2012. His spinning, 81-yard sprint around left end at Columbus left Buckeyes defenders groping for air and sparked the imagination of Cal fans.
But the Fresno native couldn’t transform that performance into steady production. He was in and out of the lineup in 2012, finishing the season with 431 rushing yards and a gaudy 9.8 yards per attempt.
His junior season under new coach Sonny Dykes was no more successful. Battling the effects of offseason knee surgery early in the season, Bigelow never found a consistent rhythm and seemed often to run without confidence.
The coaching staff actually moved him to slot receiver at midseason, then returned him to running back. He wound up with 421 rushing yards — 107 of them with his only two touchdowns against Colorado in Week 11. He caught 34 passes for 202 yards.
One of the fastest players on the Cal team, Bigelow finished his career with 877 rushing yards. He will become at least the 18th junior to enter the draft.
Bigelow follows four other Cal juniors who have declared their intention to enter the draft: cornerback Kam Jackson, tight end Richard Rodgers, linebacker Khairi Fortt and defensive tackle Viliami Moala.
A Cal athletic department spokesperson said Dykes would not be available to comment.