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.


Women’s basketball: Cal signee in McDonald’s game

Cal women’s signee Kristine Anigwe has been named a 2015 McDonald’s All-American and will represent the West in the 14th edition of the McDonald’s High School All-American game.

The Phoenix native becomes the 13th Golden Bear signee to be named a McDonald’s All-American.

Anigwe, named one of 16 nominees for the Naismith High School Player of the Year award earlier this week, is one of 24 girls selected for the McDonald’s game that will take place April 1 at the United Center in Chicago.

Anigwe is the third McDonald’s player recruited to Cal by coach Lindsay Gottlieb.

California Women’s Basketball McDonald’s All-Americans

Kristine Anigwe – 2015

Mikayla Cowling – 2014

Gabby Green – 2014

Reshanda Gray – 2011

Justine Hartman – 2011

Afure Jemerigbe – 2010

Lindsay Sherbert – 2010

Gennifer Brandon – 2009

Eliza Pierre – 2009

Tierra Rogers – 2009

DeNesha Stallworth – 2009

Alexis Gray-Lawson – 2005

Devanei Hampton – 2005


Football: Cal’s new recruiting geography

Four-star Texas wideout Carlos Strickland’s commitment to Cal on Tuesday made it nine prospects from the South headed to Berkeley next fall. That’s almost as many commits as the Bears have from all of California in the 2015 class.

Presuming Cal gets signatures from each of them next Wednesday, here’s the rundown on prospects from SEC territory that will become Golden Bears:

Alabama (2): Keith Washington, DB; DePriest Turner, Saf
Georgia (2): Russell Ude, DE; Nick Buchanan, OT
Texas (2): Billy McCrary III, Ath; Carlos Strickland, WR
Arkansas (1): Luc Bequette. DT
Louisiana (1): Brandon Singleton, WR
Mississippi (1): Ryan Gibson, C

Those nine players got 10 offers from eight different SEC schools.

Of course, coach Sonny Dykes and most of his assistants hail from that part of the country and have strong recruiting ties there. Dykes has said he wants to establish better relationships in the Bay Area, but that hasn’t happened yet.

The Bears’ current list of 23 commitments includes six from Southern California area, just two from the greater Bay Area and a total of 13 from out of state.

Consider that Jeff Tedford’s final two recruiting classes averaged 6.5 Southern California players, 5 out-of-state prospects and 4 from the South. Among that latter group, running back Daniel Lasco (Texas), receiver Maurice Harris (North Carolina) and punter Cole Leininger (Florida) remain.

The reality is only USC and UCLA have traditionally recruited as heavily in-state as Cal. And the Trojans and Bruins focus largely on Southern California, their talent-rich backyard.

Everyone else in the Pac-12, mostly out of necessity, looks beyond its own area, even its own state borders. You will note below that Arizona, Oregon and WSU have recruited no in-state players so far this season, and Oregon State has just one.

Here’s how the current 2015 classes stack up, geographically:

* ARIZONA (26 current commits). Southern California: 5; Out of state: 21; South: 6.

* ARIZONA STATE (19). SoCal: 7; Out of state: 14; South: 4.

* CAL (23). SoCal: 6; Out of state: 13; South: 9.

* COLORADO (18). SoCal: 4; Out of state: 14; South: 3.

* OREGON (21). SoCal: 7; Out of state: 21; South: 4.

* OREGON STATE (15). SoCal: 3; Out of state: 14; South: 7.

* STANFORD (18): SoCal: 5; Out of state: 12; South: 6.

* UCLA (17). SoCal: 8; Out of state: 6; South: 3.

* USC (20). SoCal: 12; Out of state: 5; South: 3.

* UTAH (22). SoCal: 6; Out of state: 16; South: 4.

* WASHINGTON (24). SoCal: 8; Out of state: 16; South: 1.

* WASHINGTON STATE (24). SoCal: 16. Out of state: 24; South: 0.


Football: Bears add fourth recruit in as many days

Cal didn’t need to trek to the Southeast to find its latest football recruit. The Bears went to the home of one of their current players.

Patrick Mekari, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive lineman from Westlake Village, is the younger brother of current Bears’ defensive tackle Tony Mekari.

With signing day now just a week off, the Bears have added a player to their commitment list four days in a row, bringing their class to 23 players.

Meanwhile, as expected, four-star defensive back prospect Frank Buncum IV of San Diego picked Stanford over Cal and other suitors.

Patrick Mekari is rated as a two-star prospect by Scout.


Basketball: Bears land four-star WR from Texas

Cal’s late recruiting push netted a significant commitment Tuesday when Carlos Strickland, rated a four-star wide receiver from Dallas, became the 22nd prospect to join the Bears.

Scout.com reported that Strickland, a 6-foot-4, 195-pounder from Skyline High, picked the Bears over Alabama, Ohio State, Texas, UCLA and Wisconsin, among others.

Scout, Rivals and ESPN all rate Strickland as a four-star prospect.

He is described on the Scout’s evaluation as “tall and wiry-strong wide receiver who always seems to be open. He runs clean routes and then uses his size and reach to make sure catches. One of his best attributes is his blocking ability.”

Strickland’s lone stated weakness is his lack of high-end speed.

But, Scout added, “He is a weapon in the red-zone using his size to make a mismatch over smaller defensive backs. He is a pretty good route runner as well. Just very well-rounded.”

He is rated by Scout as the nation’s No. 101 overall prospect, the 14th-best wideout on its list. Rivals has him at No. 132 nationally and the No. 12 wide receiver.

According to Rivals, Strickland caught 41 passes for 896 yards and 15 touchdowns last fall, after grabbed 33 receptions for 719 yards and 10 TDs as a junior.

Strickland’s commitment boosts Cal to No. 27 in Rivals team rankings, No. 42, according to Scout.

Commitments are not binding until the Feb. 4 national signing day.


Football: Latest wideout boosts Cal class to 21

Cal added a another wide receiver to its recruiting class, getting a commitment Monday from three-star prospect Brandon Singleton, who visited campus last weekend after de-committing from Georgia Tech.

Singleton is a 6-foot, 170-pounder from Hahnville HS in Boutte, Louisiana. He also is the state recordholder in the 300-meter hurdles, so he brings track speed. Singleton is rated as a three-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com.

Singleton joins Aaron Austin, Greyson Bankhead and Kanawai Noa as prospects being brought in specifically earmarked to play wideout. Rivals lists Billy McCrary as an athlete, leaving his future role open.

With Singleton, the Bears now have 21 commits or mid-year signees just nine days out from national signing day.

Rivals now has Cal’s class rated as tied for No. 32 nationally, while Scout boosted the Bears two spots to No. 48. These rankings are very fluid and will change daily — if not hourly — before Feb. 4.

The position breakdown of Cal’s recruits: WR — 4;  Safety — 4; Offensive line — 3; CB — 2; DE — 2; QB — 1; RB — 1; DT — 1; OLB — 1; Ath — 1; TE — 1.