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.


Football: Cal adds sixth DB prospect to class

Cal got an oral commitment Sunday from cornerback Keith Washington, a consensus three-star prospect from Prattville HS in Alabama. Washington, 6-2, 170 pounds, runs a 4.30 40-yard dash, according to Scout.com.

Washington’s commitment boosts Cal’s national ranking to No. 35 by Rivals.com, which gives three of the Bears’ prospects as four-star players, and 15 others as three stars. Scout puts the Bears’ prospective class at No. 50, ranking 18 of their 20 commitments as three-star players.

Washington is the sixth high school or junior college defensive back expected to join the Bears next fall. He is rated by Scout as the No. 4 corner prospect in the state of Alabama.

Washington chose Cal over offers from Duke, Indiana, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina and Missouri, among other schools, according to both Scout and Rivals.


Football: Cal OT commit visiting Georgia

On the same day Cal commit Nick Buchanan, a three-star offensive tackle from Dunwoody, Ga., began a weekend recruiting visit to Georgia, Scout.com on Friday released its final top-100 California prospects.

Topping the list is De La Salle High defensive lineman Kahlil McKenzie, who is headed to Tennessee.

There are 13 USC commits on the list – 11 of them ranked among the top 41 – and 10 players expected to sign Feb. 4 with UCLA.

Arizona State and Oregon have claims on six of the top-100 from California. Washington and Washington State are each poised to sign five of them, Arizona four.

Cal has three from the state’s elite list, none in the top 50.

Running back Lonny Powell of Sacramento, who already is enrolled as a mid-year high school graduate, checks in at No. 62 on Scout’s list of top CA prospects. Also expected to join the Bears are No. 78 WR Aaron Austin and No. 79 CB Malik Psalms.

There are 22 non-committed players on the list, but Cal is by means a lock to get any of them.

Coach Sonny Dykes seems on pace to land a decent class, with 19 players currently committed. But Scout’s listings are a reminder that the new coaching regime still has ground to cover before it can claim a fair share of the in-state market.

Earlier this week the Bears lost three-star offensive lineman Johnny Capra of Placer High, who flipped to Utah. Now Buchanan is being pulled by Georgia and its SEC rival, Florida.

Cal also is hosting recruits on campus this weekend, including San Diego prep defensive back Frank Buncom IV.

Stay tuned. It’s that time of the year when uncertainty and chaos reigns.


Football: O-line commit flips to Utah

Three-star offensive line commit Johnny Capra of Placer High has flipped to Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Capra, a 6-foot-5, 280-pounder, had committed to Cal months ago. But he visited the Utes last weekend and announced he will sign with them Feb. 4.

Capra’s change of heart lives the Bears with currently just two offensive line commitments — three-star prospect Ryan Gibson of Bay St. Louis, Missouri, and two-star Nick Buchanan of Dunwoody, Georgia.

Cal still has 19 prospects either committed or signed as mid-year enrollees.

It’s unclear whether offensive line coach Zach Yenser’s recent departure for Kansas influenced Capra’s decision. In his brief comments to the Salt Lake Tribune, Capra said only that he was convinced to go with Utah after his visit.


Meanwhile, Louisiana prep wideout and state 300-meter hurdles recordholder Brandon Singleton told the Times Picayune of New Orleans that he has decommitted from Georgia Tech and will visit Cal this weekend.

The 6-foot, 170-pounder from Hahnville, High, has been recruited hard by Miami and Georgia, and also has offers from Cal and Minnesota. He told the Times Picayune is also still is considering Georgia Tech but wanted to be free to consider all his options before signing day.

Scout.com rates Singleton as a three-star prospect and ranks him as the 10th-best wide receiver prospect in Louisiana.



Football: RB recruit Powell enrolls at mid-year

Cal got a jump on letter-of-intent day with the announcement that running back Lonny Powell, who gave an oral commitment in May, has signed a financial aid agreement and is joining the Cal program as a mid-year enrollee.

Powell, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder from Sacramento High, played in the recent Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. He is rated as a four-star “athlete” by Rivals.com, a three-star linebacker by Scout.com. The letter-of-intent signing period begins Feb. 4.

“We’re excited about Lonny and his future at Cal, and we’re excited that he is a part of our program,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “Lonny has done a great job in being able to graduate early from high school. He is coming to Cal as a running back but is a unique athlete who was a really productive player on both sides of the football in high school.

“Lonny brings toughness, strength and a strong work ethic to our program.”

Powell, who is expected to begin his Cal career as a running back, played three seasons of varsity football from 2012-14 with his teams combining for a 29-9 overall mark and an 18-3 Metropolitan League record.

Continue Reading


Football: Sonny Dykes talks recruiting

My conversation this week with Cal coach Sonny Dykes on the state of their recruiting with less than three weeks until signing day.

* How have you guys been received since the end of the season? And given that nothing is final until signing day, what do you think of the state of your class so far?

“I’m really encouraged. I think it was pretty obvious to people across the country that we got better. Certainly potential college football players see the trajectory of the program. The first year you’re just trying to hold onto the class they’d recruited here. The second year was tough just because of the kind of season we had. This year I think kids can see where we’re headed and I think they’re excited about it. I feel like we have a lot of momentum.

“We’re a lot further along than we were a year ago. We’ve identified guys a lot earlier. We’ve established much better relationships with coaches and players. There’s just a lot more doors that are open to us now. I’m really encouraged and I think it’s going to continue to get nothing but better.

“There’s four or five key players that we need to close strongly on. If we can do I think we’ll be really excited about this class and ready to start on the next one. The next one will be better than this one.

“That’s what we’re doing – we’re making sure we get better every year. They saw how close we were to being a really good football team in the best league in college football. They see the youth on our team and the number of returning starters coming back. And they get a pretty clear message that we’re headed in a good direction and I think they want to be a part of it.”

Continue Reading


Football: Bears on way to solid recruiting class

Recruits may be waiting to see if Cal football’s improvement can be sustained before making a mad rush to Memorial Stadium.

With signing day four weeks away, the Golden Bears appear on their way to landing a solid class of newcomers capable of addressing some specific areas of need. But the 20 prospects Cal already has lined up don’t constitute a recruiting haul significantly better than a year ago, even though the Bears made a leap from 1-11 in 2013 to 5-7 in coach Sonny Dykes’ second season.

“They’re developing a good class,” said Adam Gorney, West Coast recruiting expert for Rivals. “They just have to win on the field and kids will take notice.”

Currently, Rivals rates Cal’s class No. 35 in the country and ninth in the Pac-12. Scout has elevated the Bears from 11th in the conference six weeks ago to ninth, but lists them just 49th nationally.

A year ago, Cal was rated No. 44 by Scout, No. 46 by Rivals, and eighth in the conference by both recruiting services.

Click here to read the rest of this story.


Football: Versatile commit perhaps headed to safety

The website Scout.com lists DePriest Turner as a wide receiver prospect. Rivals.com notes he is a dual-threat quarterback.

Cal got the Mobile, Alabama native to flip from Duke and give an oral commitment, and Turner may be earmarked to play safety for the Bears, according to Rivals.

A 6-foot-1, 184-pounder from Murphy High in Mobile, Turner is rated as a three-star prospect by both recruiting websites. Scout lists him as the No. 2 prep wideout in Alabama.

He would be the fifth defensive back commitment for the Bears, who also have four wideout commits. Cal has 20 players committed to its 2015 recruiting class.