Football: Class gets a lift from Hawaiian guard

Cal’s football recruiting class netted at least one surprise Wednesday morning when Semisi Uluave, a huge offensive guard from Honolulu, joined the Bears on signing day.

Uluave, a teammate of Cal-bound wideout Kanawai Noa at Punahou School, picked the Bears over UCLA, Texas Tech and Oregon. Although Noa had reportedly been campaigning for Cal, Uluave’s decision was a bit unexpected.

But it was a welcome addition to a position group that took a couple hits in Cal’s recruiting over the past several weeks. Placer offensive lineman Johnny Capra flipped to Utah, then Nick Buchanan of Dunwoody, Georgia, withdrew his commitment to Cal on Monday.

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Football: Signing day is here


Cal’s coaches went to bed Tuesday night wondering what national signing day would bring for two of their commitments from the Southeast.

Wednesday morning arrived and the Bears kept one and lost one.

Defensive tackle Luc Bequette of Little Rock, Arkansas, sent in his signed letter-of-intent, choosing the Bears over strong, late pushes from Florida and Georgia.

But defensive back Keith Washington of Prattville, Alabama, flipped to Michigan, where he signed with new coach Jim Harbaugh.

Otherwise, things moved quickly and went according to form for the Golden Bears. By 8 a.m., they had 13 signed letters in hand, to go with four players who signed at mid-year and already are enrolled in classes.

In particular, Cal closed the deal on its biggest recruits – wideout Carlos Strickland of Dallas and defensive end Russell Ude of Atlanta. The Bears signed all four of their four-star commitments, also securing defensive back Malik Psalms and running back Lonny Powell, who signed at mid-year.

Bequette’s status was unclear after he’d taken trips the past two weekends to Georgia and Florida. In the end, he stayed with Cal, as Dykes signed seven of eight players from the Southeast with whom they had commitments.

“Proud to be a Golden Bear,” Bequette posted on his Twitter account. “This is going to be a great next 3-5 years. Thanks for the supporters. Next up . . . Prove everybody else wrong. . .”

“Luc is an under the radar student-athlete that we saw at our camp last summer. He has played both offensive and defensive line, and we like him as a defensive tackle,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said on the school’s athletic website. “We thought he really moved well. He is a young player with a tremendous upside that we think makes a lot of sense.”

Click here for video highights of Bequette in action.

Bequette has some serious athletic genes in his favor. His father Chris played football at Arkansas, his mother, Debi Thomas, is a Stanford grad and was the 1988 Olympic bronze medalist figure skater, and cousin Jake plays for the New England Patriots.

Cal also got Wednesday morning letters from: OL Ryan Gibson, Ath Billy McCrary, WR Brandon Singleton, DB DePriest Turner, DL Zeandae Johnson, DL Cameron Saffle, P Dylan Klumph, OL Patrick Mekari and DL Trevor Howard.

Already signed at mid-year, in addition to Powell, are QB Ross Bowers, DB Derron Brown and DE DeVante Wilson. All four will participate in spring practice.

Here are Dykes’ first comments on several of his top signees, courtesy of Cal’s website:

On Ude: “Russell is your prototypical defensive end. He has great size, great speed and is a very productive football player. He’s also an excellent student who comes from a great family and is just a solid person. He’s one of those kids that has the maturity to potentially come in and play early. We really like his upside. He’s going to continue to develop and we really like what he brings to our program.” Click here for video.

On Strickland: “Carlos is one of the elite wide receivers in the country. He has the exact size and speed everyone is looking for. When you put the film on I don’t know that anyone has a better combination of that in the entire country. He can go get the ball. We’re really fortunate that he has chosen to become a part of our program. He has an opportunity to get on the field relatively quickly and become a special player.” Click here for video.

On Psalms: “Malik was a very productive high school football player and is exactly what we’re looking for as a defensive back. He’s got length and tremendous athleticism and knows how to play the ball. He really changes direction well for someone with his size. He is also a great student.” Click here for video.


Football: Cal’s commit list on eve of signing day

With one day to go before national letters of intent are signed, here is Cal’s expected recruiting class, currently at 23 players.

Because commitments aren’t binding until paperwork is in, things remain fluid. Word is that three-star DT Luc Bequette is waffling and considering a late offer from Florida.

Also, Cal Rivals is reporting that Alabama prep defensive back Keith Washington is now considering an offer from new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and will announce Wednesday morning at 5:30 a.m. PT.

The Bears already have lost offensive lineman Johnny Capra and Nick Buchanan in recent weeks.

I will update Cal’s signings Wednesday in this space or via Twitter (@JeffFaraudo).

Cal will announce signings beginning Wednesday morning on CalBears.com/Signing Day 


Austin Aaron: WR, Napa, 6-5, 200
Antoine Albert: CB, Oakland, 6-2, 220
Greyson Bankhead: WR, Corona, 5-9, 155
Luc Bequette: DT, Little Rock, Ark 6-3, 290
x-Ross Bowers: QB, Bothell, WA, 6-1, 175
x-Derron Brown: Safety, Laveen, AZ, 6-2, 195
Ryan Gibson: C, Bay St. Louis, MS, 6-2, 271
Billy McCrary III: Ath, Leander, TX, 5-11, 187
Trevor Howard: OLB, Westlake Village, 6-3, 224
Zeandae Johnson: DL, Fresno, 6-2, 240
Dylan Klumph: P/PK, Encino, 6-3, 225
Patrick Mekari: OL, Westlake Village, 6-5, 280
Kanawai Noa: WR, Honolulu, 6-0, 170
x-Lonny Powell: RB, Sacramento, 6-1, 205
Malik Psalms: CB, Chino Hills, 6-2, 175
Evan Rambo: Safety, Pasadena, 6-3, 190
Cameron Saffle: DL, Sammamish, WA, 6-3, 221
Brandon Singleton: WR, Bouttee, LA, 6-0, 170
Carlos Strickland: WR, Dallas, TX, 6-4, 195
DePriest Turner: Safety, Mobile, Ala, 6-2, 170
Russell Ude: DE, Atlanta, GA, 6-3, 245
x-DeVante Wilson: DE, Corona, 6-5, 245
Keith Washington: CB, Prattville, Ala, 6-2, 170

x–Already have signed financial aid agreements and are enrolled in classes, enabling them to participate in spring practice.


Basketball: Cal 4-star SG target commits to Oregon

It’s not all football recruiting this week.

Shooting guard Tyler Dorsey, one of three elite-level prospects being chased by Cal coach Cuonzo Martin and his staff, has committed to Oregon.

The 6-foot-4 scorer from Pasadena, is rated by Scout.com as the nation’s 11th-best shooting guard, the No. 40 overall prospect. ESPN.com rates Dorsey No. 38 overall in the country. He picked the Ducks over Cal, Arizona State, Colorado and Kansas.

Update: Dorsey scored 48 points Tuesday night — 22 of them in the fourth quarter — leading Pasadena-Maranatha to an 83-74 win over Village Christian.

The Bears continue to be in the hunt for a pair of top-10 prospects rated as five stars, including Bishop O’Dowd High power forward Ivan Rabb, a 6-10 power forward who is rated as the nation’s No. 5 overall prospect, according to Scout.

Rabb has trimmed his list of potential schools to Cal, Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA.

The Bears also are in the mix with 6-9, 265-pound center Caleb Swanigan of Homestead Senior HS in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Swanigan, rated the No. 9 overall player in the nation, has offers from many of the country’s top programs, including Arizona, Duke, Kansas and Kentucky.

ESPN.com ranks Rabb and Swanigan as the Nos. 6 and 8 prospect in the nation.

Martin, while unable to comment on unsigned prospects, said Tuesday he would like to bring in two recruits for next season. Currently, the Bears have no signed or verbally committed players in the class of 2015.


Football: Bears lose 3-star O-line commit

Nick Buchanan, a three-star offensive line commitment from Dunwoody, Ga., de-committed from Cal on Monday night and is expected to sign with Florida, according to SB Nation. He also recently took a recruiting trip to Georgia.

Here is Buchanan’s announcement on Twitter:

“With a heavy heart, and in my best interest I have officially decided to deccommit from the University of California, Berkeley.

“Gotta thank the coaches for offering me a scholarship no doubt I wouldn’t be where I am with out that! Wish everyone there the best of luck!”

The defection of Buchanan, a 6-foot-4, 285-pounder, leaves the Bears with just two committed offensive linemen expected to sign Wednesday.

Buchanan is the second offensive line prospect to de-commit from the Bears since offensive line coach Zach Yenser left for a position at Kansas. Johnny Capra, a three-star tackle from Placer, flipped to Utah on Jan. 21.


Basketball: Singer’s late 3-pointer lifts Bears

FINAL SCORE: Cal 90, UW 88. Not how you would have guessed the Bears would win this game. After Wallace missed a 1-and-1 FT with 26.5 seconds left, Williams-Goss made a 16-foot jumper to put the Huskies up 88-87 with 19.5 seconds left. Cal called timeout, then passed the ball around before it wound up in the hands of Sam Singer at the top of the key.

UW coach Lorenzo Romar later explained the Huskies were in a zone defense on the final possession, hoping someone like Singer would have to take the big shot. And why not? He was 4 for 29 this season from the 3-point line.

But Singer took a soft jab step toward defender Andrew Andrews, then squared up and swished a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left. Williams-Goss, who scored 31 points, missed a desperation heave at the horn.

Quite a game for Singer, the sophomore backup point guard from Florida. He had 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and a huge steal on an inbounds play. He also got to the finish line despite playing with four fouls. Before making his game-winning shot, Singer had not made a 3-pointer since Jan. 4.

Cal completes a road sweep in Washington and improves to 13-9, 3-6 in the Pac-12. The Bears have climbed from a tie for last place into a three-way tie for ninth with Washington and Arizona State. They also completed a sweep in Washington for the second straight season.

Mathews scored 23 points for the Bears, shaking off the tough offensive game he had at WSU. Wallace had 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Kravish had 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots, giving him Cal’s career record of 209. And Bird showed more aggressiveness, at least in spurts, scoring 12 points for the second straight game.

Cal shot 60 percent from the field — just off its season high — and 75 percent of its free throws. The Bears had a monstrous 38-22 rebounding edge, allowing the Huskies just three offensive rebounds.

But they turned the ball over 14 times and were seemingly powerless to defend the Huskies off the dribble, allowing UW to shoot 60 percent in the second half, thanks to 14 layups, drives or dunks.

NEXT: USC at Haas Pavilion, Thursday, 8 p.m.

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Basketball: Bears go for sweep in Washington

Cal (12-9, 2-6) tries to complete a road sweep of the Washington schools for the second straight season when it faces Washington (14-6, 3-5) on Sunday at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle. Tipoff is noon.

The Bears ended a six-game losing streak Thursday with a 76-67 win at Washington State. Tyrone Wallace scored 26 points and became the latest Cal player to reach 1,000 points for his career.

Just as important, the Bears rediscovered offensive balance, getting scoring from nine different players. Five days earlier, in a loss to Arizona, only four Cal players scored.

Washington is coming off an 84-74 loss to Stanford that was more one-sided than the final score. The Huskies are playing the rest of the season without sophomore center and NCAA shot-block leader Robert Upshaw, who was dismissed from the UW team early this week, Upshaw had 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots on Jan. 2, when the Bears beat the Huskies 81-75 in Berkeley.

Jordan Mathews scored 31 points, David Kravish had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Wallace scored 19 in the home win over the Huskies. Jabari Bird, who had 12 points at WSU, had not returned from his foot injury for the first UW game.

– Kravish has equaled Cal’s career blocked shots record of 207, set by Michael Stewart (1994-97).

– No word on whether sophomore guard Roger Moute a Bidias will play Sunday. He sat out the WSU game with an ankle injury.


Football: Aaron Rodgers is NFL’s MVP again

Former Cal star Aaron Rodgers was named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player by the Associated Press for the second in four seasons.

Rodgers completed 341-of-520 passes (65.6%) for 4,381 yards with 38 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2014 for a 112.2 quarterback rating that was second-best in the NFL and the second-best of his 10-year NFL career. He led the Packers to the NFC Championship Game.

Previously, Rodgers also was named first-team All-Pro and was chosen to the Pro Bowl.