Cal football: Bears sign Zion Echols and Victor Viramontes


Cal got good signing-day news from running back Zion Echols and quarterback Victor Viramontes, who both signed on with the Bears Wednesday.

As was speculated for the past week or so, three-star offensive guard Francisco Perez flipped from Cal to UCLA on national signing day Wednesday, staying close to his home in Baldwin Park.

The 6-foot-3 1/2, 300-pounder thanked the Cal coaching staff on Twitter and said the decision was not easy.

Cal also lost out on running back/linebacker Beau Bisharat, a four-star prospect from Jesuit High in Carmichael. The one-time Stanford commit signed with Colorado.

The Bears still were awaiting word from all-purpose standout Zion Echols of Covina, who was expected to choose between Cal and Washington State, and quarterback Victor Viramontes of Norco, who also was considering Utah and Arizona.

Cal, which signed nine mid-year players, got signatures from all 14 of the remaining commitments they had, including defensive back Josh Drayden of Dallas.

The Bears slipped five spots in Scout.com’s national rankings from No. 36 on Tuesday to No. 41 by midday. Scout rated Cal’s class No. 8 in the Pac-12. Rivals.com gives the Bears’ haul a more favorable ranking, listing them No. 33 nationally and No. 5 in the conference.

Officially onboard after committing earlier were: defensive linemen Tevin Paul, Chris Yaghi, Chinedu Udeogu and Evan Weaver, linebacker Cameron Goode, wide receivers Logan Gamble, Matt Laris and Drew Kobayashi, offensive linemen Daniel Juarez and Gentle Williams and defensive backs Nygel Edmonds, Camryn Bynum and Traveon Beck.


Cal football: Will Bears retain or add to 24-player class?

These are the 24 players who already have signed or who have orally committed to Wednesday.

The nine players who have signed are enrolled in school. According to Scout.com, three more players could be added on Wednesday — running back Zion Echols, a former commit who is choosing between Cal and Washington State; quarterback Victor Viramontes, who will announce Wednesday at 1 p.m. between the Bears, Utah and Arizona; and running back Beau Bisharat, who recently decommitted from Stanford.

On the down side for Cal, Scout is predicting offensive guard Francisco Perez likely will sign with UCLA.

Traveon Beck — Position: CB. H/W: 5-10/171. Hometown: Bellflower

Russell Becker-x — Pos: DE. H/W: 6-4/255. HT: Maple Grove, Minn.

Camryn Bynum — Pos: CB. H/W: 5-11/164. HT: Corona

Derrick Clark-x — Pos: RB. H/W: 5-10/195. HT: San Diego

Jake Curhan-x — Pos: OT. H/W: 6-7/305. HT: Larkspur

Josh Drayden — Pos: CB. H/W: 5-10/165. HT: Dallas

Jordan Duncan-x — Pos: WR. H/W: 6-2/190. HT: Hattiesburg, Miss.

Nygel Edmonds — Pos: CB. H/W: 5-11/182. HT: Chattanooga, Tn.

Marloshawn Franklin-x — Pos: CB. H/W: 6-1/185. HT: Mesa, Az.

Logan Gamble — Pos: WR. H/W: 6-5/200. HT: Long Beach

Max Gilliam-x — Pos: QB. H/W: 6-1/185. HT: Thousand Oaks

Cameron Goode — Pos: OLB. H/W: 6-3/205. HT: Klein, Texas

Daniel Juarez — Pos: OT. H/W: 6-4/250. HT: Corona

Drew Kobayashi — Pos: WR. H/W: 6-2/180. HT: Honolulu

Matt Laris — Pos: WR. H/W: 6-4/210. HT: Sammamish, Wa.

Francisco Perez — Pos: OG. H/W: 6-3/300. HT: Baldwin Park

Tevin Paul — Pos: DE. H/W: 6-4/255. HT: Austin, Texas

Melquise Stovall-x — Pos: WR. H/W: 5-8/180. HT: Lancaster

Chinedu Udeogu — Pos: DE. H/W: 6-2/245. HT: North Bethesda, Md.

Jordan Veasy-x — Pos: WR. H/W: 6-3/215. HT: Gadsden, Ala.

Dwayne Wallace-x — Pos: OG. H/W: 6-5/340. HT: Riverside

Evan Weaver — Pos: DE. H/W: 6-3/241. HT: Spokane, Wa.

Gentle Williams — Pos: OT. H/W: 6-3/278. HT: Florence, Miss.

Chris Yaghi — Pos: DT. H/W: 6-3/270. HT: Santa Ana

Some of the heights and weights are from Scout.com recruiting lists.

x-Mid-year signee and enrolled in school.



Cal football notebook: Recruiting class close to complete

Cal has 24 recruiting commitments, including nine players who have signed scholarship papers and will enroll for the spring semester. But that’s not the end of the Bears’ 2016 recruiting class.

Coach Sonny Dykes said he anticipates signing 28 players on Feb. 3.

“A couple guys we feel pretty good about that have told us privately they’re coming,” he told reporters Wednesday.

He expects to land one more wide receiver, offensive and defensive lineman and linebacker. Possibly a 10th player could enroll for the spring semester, he said.

The Bears’ recruiting class currently is ranked fifth of sixth in the Pac-12 by most of the online recruiting services, and Dykes said Cal’s 8-5 record and bowl game appearance in 2015 is only one reason the program is having more success luring talent to Berkeley.

“The program has much more credibility than it has before,” said Dykes, who took over in 2013 after the Bears went 3-9 in coach Jeff Tedford’s final season. Cal was 1-11 in Dykes’ debut. “People know we can win. They’ve seen us compete, see we’re not that far off.”

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Cal football: Bears flip 4-star DB from Stanford

Cal scored a rare football victory over Stanford on Tuesday when four-star cornerback Nygel Edmonds of Chattanooga, Tennessee, flipped from the Cardinal and committed to the Bears, according to multiple recruiting sources.

Edmonds, a 6-foot, 180-pounder from the McCallie School for Boys, had committed to Stanford last April and was admitted to school last month, according to Rivals.com.

But after also receiving offers from the likes of national championship combatants Alabama and Clemson, Edmonds chose Cal.

He is rated as a four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 27 cornerback by ESPN. Rivals has him as the No. 12 cornerback prospect and a four-star recruit. Scout lists Edmonds as a three-star prospect.

The Bears now have five defensive backs in their 24-player 2016 recruiting class. The letter-of-intent signing day is Feb. 3 and oral commitments aren’t binding until then.

But, for what it’s worth, landing Edmonds helps the Bears continue to climb in the latest recruiting rankings:

Rivals: No. 5 in Pac-12, No. 21 in nation

Scout: No. 6 in Pac-12, No. 33 in nation

247Sports: No. 6 in Pac-12, No. 32 in nation


Football: Cal signs 4-star wide receiver

Melquise Stovall, a consensus four-star wide receiver from Paraclete High in Lancaster, has signed a financial aid agreement with Cal and becomes the ninth member of the Bears’ 2016 recruiting class who will arrive on campus for the spring semester and be available to participate in spring workouts.

Stovall, a 5-foot-9, 185-pounder (listed by Scout as 5-7 1/2, 177) , is projected as an inside slot receiver for the Bears. He is among three receivers who will enroll at midyear and compete for openings at a position where Cal is losing five seniors.

Rated as the No. 3 all-purpose player by both 247Sports and Rivals, Stovall totaled 4,785 all-purpose yards during his three-year high school varsity career. Stovall played on both sides of the ball and as a senior scored 14 touchdowns, including at least one rushing, receiving, returning a kick, a punt and an interception.

He caught 46 passes for 740 yards and five TDs this fall, along with 450 rushing yards and six more scores.

As a junior, he totaled 2,455 all-purpose yards — 1,603 of them rushing — and scored 24 touchdowns.

Stovall had offers from every Pac-12 school except Stanford and Oregon, according to Scout, along with Miami and Notre Dame. He committed to Cal on Dec. 21.


Football: Texas visit can have recruiting dividends

Texas native Vic Enwere was having a little fun with Cal teammate James Looney, who grew up in Florida.

“I’m always going to say Texas high school football is better,” said Enwere, the Bears’ sophomore running back.

“Florida has the best high school football by far,” countered Looney, a sophomore defensive tackle.

Enwere got the last word: “You rank Texas first, California, Wyoming . . . then Florida.”

For the Bears, Texas sits behind only California as a key recruiting ground. Cal has six Texans on its roster and three commitments from the state who intend to sign in February.

As a result, Texas is where the Bears want to be this week. Fort Worth – site of the Bears’ Dec. 29 date with Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl – is their ideal postseason landing spot.

“This is a big deal,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said of playing a bowl game in his home state of Texas.

Assistant head coach Mark Tommerdahl, one of six members of the Cal staff who recruits in Texas, said the value of heading to the Lone Star state is “immeasurable.”

“This is a great place for us to go and spend five days,” Tommerdahl said.

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Football: Cal signs 4 JC players to arrive next month

Cal has signed four junior college football players who will enroll in January and participate in spring ball.

The Bears landed defensive end Rusty Becker (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) from Minnesota State Community and Technical College, cornerback Marloshawn Franklin (6-0, 180) of Mesa (Arizona) Community College, wide receiver Jordan Veasy (6-3, 215) of Golden West College and offensive lineman Dwayne Wallace (6-5, 240) of Riverside City College.

All four players are ranked among the top 11 JC players at their position, according to various ratings services.

“The student-athletes we have signed today will help us to continue developing more depth in our program,” coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “The good thing is that they don’t necessarily have to be immediate fixes, but they have the ability to do that and getting them here for spring football gives them a huge opportunity to get on the field and contribute from day one.”

Along with four high school prospects who previously signed scholarship papers, the Bears now have eight players arriving on campus next month.

Here are thumbnail bios on the four JC signees:

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Football: Is former top-rated prep QB interested in Cal?

Kyle Allen, the consensus No. 1 high school quarterback prospect in the country two years ago, has left Texas A&M to transfer to another school.

Gerry Hamilton of ESPN tweeted that his destination could be Cal.

I’ve found no evidence that it’s a done deal – or close to it. In fact, Oklahoma also is being mentioned as Allen’s possible landing place.

FoxSports quoted Allen saying, “Oklahoma comes to mind because it does fit all those things, and my old (high school) teammate (Mark Andrews) is a receiver there, and coach (Bob) Stoops is an all-time great coach.”

But Cal was among nearly 20 schools that offered Allen out of Desert Mountain High in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he was rated the No. 1 QB prospect by both Scout and Rivals. Stanford’s Keller Chryst was No. 2 on the Rivals list.

A 6-foot-3, 210-pound sophomore, Allen made the surprise announcement Thursday that he is transferring. A&M has granted him release from his scholarship.

In two seasons with the Aggies, Allen passed for 3,532 yards with 33 touchdowns and 14 touchdowns. He completed 61.5 percent of his attempts.

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Football: Amid the chaos, Cal lands JC O-lineman

Cal got a commitment this week from a player who could fill the one anticipated opening in their offensive line this spring.

Dwayne Wallace, a 6-foot-5, 340-pound guard from Riverside Community College, will enroll mid-year and participate in spring ball. He will compete for the spot vacated by Jordan Rigsbee, the only senior on the Bears’ current stating O-line.

According to Scout.com, Wallace improved his grade-point average to 3.4 during his time at Riverside.

Wallace, rated as a two-star player by Scout, also had offers from Arizona State and Washington State in the Pac-12, along with Arkansas, Kansas State, Louisville, San Diego State and UNLV.

Earlier in the week, the Bears got a commitment from cornerback Marloshawn Franklin,  6-1, 185-pound cornerback from Mesa CC in Arizona. Scout rates him as a two-star prospect.

But the chaos surrounding the Bears and coach Sonny Dykes’ contract situation may also have led to the de-commitment by Markus Wright, a linebacker from Jordan High in Columbus, Georgia, who announced is reopening his recruiting.

Cal’s recruiting class currently stands at 22 players and ranks 40th nationally, according to Scout.


Football: Prep running back to join Cal in time for spring ball

Running back Derrick Clark of San Diego has signed a financial aid agreement with Cal and will become the fourth high school prospect to enroll midyear and be available for spring practice, Cal announced Friday.

Clark, from Mission Bay High, rushed for 1,361 yards and 13 touchdowns this fall in his first season as a full-time running back. A consensus three-star prospect, Clark also caught nine passes for 236 yards and three TDs and threw three touchdowns.

Clark’s Mission Bay team is 10-2 and plays Saturday in the CIF San Diego Section Division III championship game against top-seeded Bonita Vista at Southwestern College.

“We’re excited that Derrick will be joining our football program in January,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “He is a versatile running back with a skill set that fits nicely into our offense both running the ball and coming out of the backfield as a receiver.

“He also has tremendous character and an excellent academic background that will serve him well within the culture of our football team and in the classroom.”

Clark will join three other early Cal signees who are enrolling for the spring semester: offensive tackle Jake Curhan of Redwood High in Larkspur, wide receiver Jordan Duncan of Oak Grove High in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and quarterback Max Gilliam of Thousand Oaks High.