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Football: Bears land elite defensive end from Atlanta

Cal got a significant recruiting commitment Wednesday when Russell Ude, a top defensive end from The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Ga., picked the Bears over a glut of top schools.

Ude, rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, announced his decision on Twitter:

“They Told Me I Couldn’t Do It. Proud To Announce I Am Committed to The University of California #GodIsGood #CalGang15

Scout.com rates Ude as a three-star prospect, but either way he helps address an area of need for the Bears.

Yeah, defense.

Ryan Gorcey of Scout.com reports that Ude actually gave Cal a “secret” commitment two months ago, but decided the time was right to make it public. Oral commitments, of course, are not binding until signing day, and Ude told Scout he still intends to take other visits.

Ude is 6-foot-3 and somewhere between 245 and 260-ish pounds, depending on which website you believe.

Others liked him, too: Oregon, Washington, UCLA and USC showed interest among Pac-12 schools. Wisconsin, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Michigan State also made offers.

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Basketball: Ivan Rabb trims list to 5, including Cal

Five-star East Bay basketball prospect Ivan Rabb has trimmed his list of potential colleges from seven to five, and Cal remains in the hunt, his high school coach confirmed Friday.

Rabb, a 6-foot-10 forward from Bishop O’Dowd High and a top-10 national recruit, eliminated North Carolina and Georgetown from consideration.

Still in play are Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA . . . and Cal. It’s heady competition for the Bears, but new coach Cuonzo Martin has made Rabb a priority since he was hired last spring.

“He seemed very relieved today to have it down to five,” O’Dowd coach Lou Richie said. “He called all the schools before it went public. It’s taking a long time, but he’s handling it the right way.”

Richie said Rabb is making his first official campus visit this weekend, leaving Saturday for Kentucky. He has not yet scheduled his other four trips.

Rabb was not available for comment.

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Basketball: Four-star guard to choose among 3 on Friday

Shooting guard Kerwin Roach, a top-100 prospect from Houston who visited Cal three weeks ago, says he will announce his college choice on Friday morning.

Roach has narrowed his field to Cal, Texas and Wichita State, and has made official visits to all three. A 6-foot-3 senior at North Shore High, was at Texas last weekend.

“Any decision dealing with your life is difficult,” said Roach, when asked if the decision will be easy.

Roach is rated as a four-star prospect by Scout, Rivals and ESPN. Rivals has him ranked as the No. 34 overall recruit in the nation, while Scout puts him at No. 82, ESPN at No. 99.

He said he enjoyed his visit to Berkeley on the first weekend of October.

“I was really impressed by the weather,” he said enthusiastically. “The program’s about to take off, about to rise with Coach Martin. I really liked his vision.”

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Basketball: Rabb not ready to cut list to five

Five-star prospect Ivan Rabb, the No. 1 recruiting target of new Cal basketball Cuonzo Martin, isn’t quite ready to trim his list of schools to five, after all.

We reported early this week that Rabb, a 6-foot-10 forward from Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland, told his coach that he would shorten his list of possible colleges from seven to five by this weekend.

O’Dowd coach Lou Richie told me tonight that North Carolina has scheduled a home visit this week, and Rabb wants to wait until after that to pick the five schools he will visit.

His list of seven, besides Cal, includes Arizona, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA.

Stay tuned.

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Basketball: Ivan Rabb close to naming Final 5

Five-star recruit Ivan Rabb will announce his five college finalists by the end of this weekend, his coach at Bishop O’Dowd High in Oakland said.

Rabb, a 6-foot-10 forward rated among the nation’s top-10 prospects, told O’Dowd coach Lou Richie on Tuesday morning that by Sunday he expects to inform coaches at the five schools to which he will make official campus visits.

Currently, Rabb has seven schools on his list, including Cal.

The others are Arizona, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and UCLA.

Richie said Rabb will call the two schools he is eliminating, then talk with the remaining five to schedule his visits.

“Ivan wants to control the process and wants to do it the right way,” said Richie, who declined to guess whether Cal will be one of the finalists.

He said Rabb could make his final decision on a college destination this fall, but may also spread out his visits and wait until the spring to pick one.

1

Football: QB commit Bowers to arrive in January

Cal commit Ross Bowers, rated as a four-star quarterback prospect by ESPN, has signed a financial aid agreement as part of the program’s 2015 recruiting class and will enroll in classes in January in time to participate in spring workouts.

Cal coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement that Bowers is “exactly what we are looking for in a quarterback. He has shown great leadership and does all the things we want a quarterback to do. We’re excited about his future.”

Bowers, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder from Bothell High in Washington, originally committed to Cal in July. By signing a financial aid agreement, he is able to enroll mid-year after early gradutation from high school.

Bowers is rated as the No. 2 prospect in the state of Washington and the No. 12 overall quarterback in the nation, according to ESPN. He was given three stars by 247Sports, Scout and Rivals.

On the heels of a junior season in which he passed for 2,097 yards and 21 touchdowns for a 9-3 team, Bowers has led Bothell to a 3-0 start this fall and a No. 3 state ranking. He has passed for 688 yards with eight touchdowns and one interception this season.

Bowers, who won’t turn 18 until November, comes off a strong summer camp showing in which he was an Elite 11 finalist, participated in The Opening and was named MVP of the Oregon Nike Football Training Camp.

Bowers’ father John is in his first season as assistant head coach at James Madison University and his mother Joanne is head women’s gymnastics coach at Washington.

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Basketball: New Cal coach Cuonzo Martin tries to make recruiting inroads with powerful Oakland Soldiers

The recruiting frenzy of mid-summer is behind them, but the job does not stop for new Cal basketball coach Cuonzo Martin and his staff.

“These guys are working, working, working,” said Frank Knight, the coach at Moreau Catholic High in Hayward. “Their thing is they don’t want to let any more local kids leave.”

Two years ago it was Oakland’s Brandon Ashley who left. Last year, it was San Jose’s Aaron Gordon. Both five-star prospects signed with Arizona. Both played for the Oakland Soldiers, one of the top AAU traveling basketball teams in the U.S.

If Martin wants to elevate Cal’s position in the college basketball world, recruiting analyst Josh Gershon of scout.com said the Bears will have to begin attracting the best home-grown talent. That means attracting Soldiers.

“The bottom line at Cal is you can have a good program without doing a great (recruiting) job in the Bay Area,” Gershon said. “But you’re never going to have much more than a good program. You have to keep the local kids at home.”

Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Football: In 2nd round, Bears lose out on McKinley

Below is staff writer Phil Jensen’s story:

Contra Costa College defensive end/linebacker Takkarist McKinley is headed to UCLA after signing with the school Thursday afternoon.

McKinley, a former Kennedy-Richmond star, signed a national letter of intent with Cal in February 2013, but was deemed a non-qualifier by the university. Instead, he played for the Comets and had 10 sacks as a freshman.

A paperwork error was the cause for him being deemed a non-qualifier, McKinley said. According to a text from Contra Costa College coach Alonzo Carter, “the (NCAA) clearinghouse didn’t calculate his summer school grades from his 11th grade summer school.”

Once the mistake was discovered, he was cleared to enroll. He said he will arrive at UCLA on Tuesday.

“I want to play with the best,” said McKinley, who has four years to play three seasons. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

McKinley said that in addition to UCLA, he also considered Arizona State, Oklahoma, Missouri, USC, Oregon and Cal before signing with the Bruins. He said UCLA had been his number one school since he took an unofficial visit in the summer.

McKinley was rated a four-star defensive end in the JC ranks by rivals.com.