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Cal football: Trevor Davis gets NFL combine invite

Wide receiver/return special Trevor Davis of Cal has been invited to participate in the NFL Combine, he announced via Twitter.

Davis joins former teammates Daniel Lasco and Stephen Anderson, who previously said they will participate in the Feb. 23-29 tryout camp in Indianapolis.

Quarterback Jared Goff and wide receiver Kenny Lawler, who both will enter the NFL draft following their junior seasons, also are expected to get combine invitations. The official list of invites will not be announced until next week.

Wide receiver Bryce Treggs said on Twitter that he was not invited to the combine, but that he will fully participate at Cal’s Pro Day.

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Former Cal cornerback Cedric Dozier is headed to Kansas State as  graduate transfer and will be eligible to play immediately in 2016. Dozier was a consensus four-star recruit who started regularly in 2013 and 2014, but saw his playing time drop dramatically last fall.

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Former Cal offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, hired last week to the same position at Middle Tennessee State, told me he’s already bought a home in the Nashville area.

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Football: Kenny Lawler’s dash to NFL leaves Cal starting over at wide receiver position

First-team All-Pac-12 wide receiver Kenny Lawler, who caught 13 touchdown passes as a junior this fall, announced Tuesday that he will bypass his final year of eligibility at Cal to enter the NFL draft.

Lawler said he went back and forth on the issue over recent weeks, before receiving feedback from the NFL after the Bears returned from their 55-36 win over Air Force at the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 29.

“I’m very thankful for what the NFL had to say,” he said, declining to provide specifics. “After the bowl game, I had another talk with my parents and made the best decision.”

Lawler joins record-setting quarterback Jared Goff as Cal juniors who are turning pro, although he said Goff’s announcement last week had no bearing on his decision.

A 6-foot-4 native of Pomona, Lawler caught 52 passes for 658 yards this season, averaging 12.7 yards per catch, despite being slowed by injury late in the season. But he got healthy in time to catch five passes for 75 yards, including three TDs, against Air Force.

Lawler caught 137 passes for 1,706 yards and 27 touchdowns in his three-year Cal career.

CBSSports.com rates Lawler as the ninth-best receiver in the 2016 draft class. NFLDraftGeek.com has him listed as the No. 17 wideout prospect.

“Where I fall in the draft is going to be determined by what I do in the combine,” said Lawler, who hopes to be invited to the NFL’s pre-draft camp. “I’m just going to remain humble and work so I can put myself in the best position to go as high as possible in the draft.”

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Football: Tony Franklin praises Jared Goff for work ethic that elevated him to `elite status’

No one on the Cal football staff worked more closely with Jared Goff on a day-to-day basis than offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tony Franklin.

Franklin was visiting family in New York on Thursday and unable to be on hand for Goff’s announcement that he is entering the NFL draft. Franklin offered his thoughts and sentiments in a statement:

“I am excited for Jared and his family as they move into their next challenge. I include his family because I firmly believe that Jerry and Nancy have played an integral role in molding Jared into one of the best quarterbacks to ever play college football. But more important is how they raised him to being a really good human being with a heart and soul that all parents should strive for their children to possess.

“It has been a beautiful adventure traveling this journey with Jared and watching him develop from a skinny kid — who was extremely well-coached in high school — to a young man with elite leadership skills that blended perfectly with his physical talent. Jared worked diligently to master his craft.

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Football: Cal quarterback Jared Goff has known for a while it was time to enter the NFL draft

Jared Goff said he’s known since midseason that he was ready to enter the NFL draft, but that didn’t make it any easier when the Cal junior quarterback announced his intentions Thursday morning.

At a news conference at Memorial Stadium, with his parents and family members in the audience, Goff was uncharacteristically emotional as he talked about his plans and thanked all those who contributed to his prolific college career.

“All the people that have had an impact on me, it’s kind of hard to put into words. That’s why I’ve been a little emotional,” said Goff, fighting off tears. “Thinking about all my teammates and all the fun we’ve had. But I’m definitely excited.”

A 21-year-old from Marin, Goff is rated as one of the top two NFL quarterback prospects in this class and projected to be a high first-round draft pick.

Jerry Goff, a Cal alum and former major league baseball player, said Jared’s decision was “foregone conclusion” even before the bowl game. But watching his son take the next step toward his football dreams hit him hard, too.

“I got a little emotional. It’s stuff you always think about, but when you see it . . . it’s a little surreal,” he said. “I’m happy for him and excited and anxious and all the other words for his future.”

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Football: Does this sound like a guy who is coming back?

After Cal’s 55-36 win over Air Force, Jared Goff stopped short of saying he is headed to the NFL.

Goff said he would discuss the issue with his family, then make a decision. But the junior from Marin spoke in past-tense terms about his Cal career.

“It’s been a fun ride,” Goff said. “To go from 1-11 (in 2013) to last year being so close, to this year winning eight games and finishing with a bowl victory, it’s really as much as you can ask for. It’s been a lot of fun.”

That’s all we have for now. But it sounds like the remaining process may be little more than a formality.

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Columnist Marcus Thompson says it’s time for Goff to try the NFL

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Cal fans at Fort Worth chanted, “One more year,” at the game’s end.

“I was chanting that, too,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said, only half-joking.

Dykes said he will confer with Goff, but also sounded like he already knows the outcome.

“None of these decisions these guys have to make are easy decisions,” Dykes said. “I’ll give my two cents and just try to advise him but the way I see this thing is if he’s got an opportunity to be one of the top draft picks or the first quarterback taken in the draft, then I don’t think there’s much of a decision to make, quite frankly.

“I’ll be incredibly supportive. Whatever he decides, he’ll make the decision for the right reasons and I have complete confidence in that. Ultimately my job is to give him my advice and tell him what I think and what I feel and he’s got to sit down with his family and decide what’s best.”

Stay tuned. We should know something soon.

If we don’t already.

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Football: ESPN’s Todd McShay projects Jared Goff to 49ers

ESPN draft expert Todd McShay, in his latest mock draft, said Wednesday that he expects Cal junior quarterback Jared Goff to be taken next spring with the No. 5 overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers.

“This is assuming the 49ers move on from Colin Kaepernick in the offseason. I think Goff would benefit from returning to school for his senior season to get bigger and stronger, but I get the sense that’s not going to happen,” McShay wrote.

“He got into some bad habits with his mechanics behind an O-line that did not protect well, but when his feet are right, he can be deadly accurate. With a high football IQ and great work ethic, I have faith he will put in the time to get better.”

McShay predicts Ohio State linebacker Joey Bosa will go No. 1, followed by quarterback Paxton Lynch of Memphis, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss and Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

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Football: ESPN’s Todd McShay says Jared Goff should stay

ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay provided their opinions today on the top quarterback prospects for the 2016 NFL draft, including Cal junior Jared Goff. Here are excerpts from their online conversation:

— Who are the quarterbacks we’ll be talking about on the first night of the draft?

Kiper: Two for certain, three possible, and a fourth for good measure.

Paxton Lynch of Memphis and Jared Goff of Cal are two possible top-10 picks right now. Lynch has the great range of tools, and Goff has a special arm, moves well and has a ton of experience. The third name to add to the Round 1 mix is Connor Cook of Michigan State, who at his best looks like a first-round lock, but can struggle with ball placement on his throws. The name to watch as a possible late first-round pick, perhaps by some team trading back into the first round, is Carson Wentz of North Dakota State. Forget the school name. If Wentz, a 6-foot-5, 235-pounder, were playing for Bama or Florida State you’d think, `Man, that team has a really good QB.’ He can move really well.

— Good QB class, bad QB class, or average QB class?

McShay: It’s a disappointing QB class compared with its preseason potential. The bright spot has been the emergence of Paxton Miller (28 TDs, 3 INTS). If he leaves early, he’s likely to be the first QB drafted. Jared Goff makes some exceptional throws but is still too inconsistent with his accuracy (11 INTs in 9 Pac-12 games). I’d like to see him return to school to improve is footwork and add bulk/strength to his frame, but it appears he has different plans. Neither Lynch nor Goff will receive as high a grade as Jameis Winston last year, but I expect both to be first-round picks if they declare.

— Is there a QB who can start right away and not look bad?

McShay: No. None of the 2016 QB prospects are as NFL-ready as Winston was coming into this season, and we all saw how long it took him to adjust to the NFL. Of this year’s batch, Connor Cook is the most prepared mentally, given his extensive experience in a pro-style offense. But like Mel mentioned earlier, his accuracy issues are a concern. Jared Goff, who plays in a spread system, and Paxton Lynch, who has had a lack of elite competition, will face big adjustments at the next level.

— What about the underclassmen who could use another year of development?

McShay: All the quarterbacks. Seriously. I talked about it above, but none of these guys are ready to be effective Day 1 starters in the NFL. I’d prefer to see them come back and continue to develop their skill sets.

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Football: Mel Kiper Jr. projects Jared Goff as No. 3 pick

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his latest 2016 NFL draft projections on Wednesday, and he has Cal quarterback Jared Goff going third in the first round.

Here is Kiper’s evaluation:

3. Jared Goff, QB, California Golden Bears

Goff is putting on a show so far this year, separating himself from critiques that say the system creates the QB at Cal. Goff has a hose when he wants to really cut it loose, is able to drill the ball down the field and into tight windows with ease, and he has effective movement skills and anticipation for a player with good length who seems to see the whole field. He can also move defenders with his eyes pretty well and will continue to get better.

Goff has not addressed whether he will enter the NFL draft after this season, saying again Wednesday that he is giving the topic none of his attention during his junior season with the Bears.

Kiper’s top three picks are juniors, with Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche at No. 1 and Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa at No. 2.

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Football: Daniel Lasco gets some ESPN love

Who is the best NFL running back prospect in the Pac-12 right now?

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay suggests it’s Cal senior Daniel Lasco.

BTW, check out No. 5 on the list — Sonny Dykes coached him as a freshman in 2012.

Here is McShay’s list top 10 running backs for the 2016 NFL draft:

1. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State*
2. Derrick Henry, Alabama*
3. Corey Clement, Wisconsin*
4. James Conner, Pittsburgh
5. Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech
6. Josh Ferguson, Illinois
7. Daniel Lasco, California
8. Devontae Booker, Utah
9. Russell Hansbrough, Missouri
10. Storm Woods, Oregon State

* – denotes underclassman

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Football: Will Chris Harper be drafted?

The safe answer: Probably not.

The former Cal wideout is tough to find on most NFL mock drafts, but that doesn’t mean he won’t play on Sundays, coach Sonny Dykes said.

“You never know about the draft and how it’s going to go down,” Dykes said Thursday before the draft’s first round. “The good thing for Chris is there’s only one team that’s got to like him. And there’s a lot to like. He’s a good football player.”

Rounds 2 and 3 of the NFL draft will go today, with rounds 4 through 7 set for Saturday.

Dykes admitted he was surprised when Harper opted to enter the draft after his junior season. He said Harper told him in December he planned to return to school for the 2014 season.

Although he’s far from a sure thing, Harper is Cal’s best hope to keep a 28-year streak going.

Cal has had at least one player taken in the NFL draft every year since 1986, when no Bears were chosen among 333 players taken in what was then a 12-round draft.