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Football: Ex-Cal trio set for NFL combine

Three former Cal players will put their skills on display at the NFL combine, beginning Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Deandre Coleman will be among 56 defensive linemen being scrutinized by NFL scouts, Khairi Fortt will be one of 35 linebackers on hand and Richard Rodgers is one of 22 tight ends at the week-long camp.

A total of 335 NFL hopefuls will participate in the combine.

Here is the daily schedule of events, courtesy of 

Wednesday, Feb. 19
• PK/ST/OL/TE medical pre-exam and X-rays, orientation, interviews

Thursday, Feb. 20
• PK/ST/OL/TE measurements, medical exams, media, interviews
• QB/WR/RB medical pre-exam and X-rays, orientation, interviews

Friday, Feb. 21
• PK/ST workout; PK/ST/OL/TE bench press, psychological testing, interviews
• QB/WR/RB measurements, medical exams, media, interviews
• DL/LB medical pre-exam and X-rays, orientation, interviews

Saturday, Feb. 22
• OL/TE on-field workout (timing, stations, skill drills)
• QB/WR/RB psychological testing, bench press, interviews
• DL/LB measurements, medical exams, media, interviews
• DB medical pre-exam and X-rays, orientation, interviews

Sunday, Feb. 23
• QB/WR/RB on-field workout (timing, stations, skill drills)
• DL/LB psychological testing, bench press, interviews
• DB measurements, medical exams, media, interviews

Monday, Feb. 24
• DL/LB on-field workout (timing, stations, skill drills)
• DB psychological testing, bench press, interviews

Tuesday, Feb. 25
• DB on-field workout (timing, stations, skill drills)

Posted on Monday, February 17th, 2014
Under: Football, NFL Draft | 11 Comments »
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Football: Brendan Bigelow makes 5 Cal juniors who intend to declare for the NFL draft

Running back Brendan Bigelow became the fifth Cal junior to announce he intends to declare for the NFL draft, the athletic department confirmed. Wednesday is the deadline for juniors to enter their name.

Bigelow burst onto the scene with a spectacular 160-yard, two touchdown rushing performance at Ohio State as a sophomore in 2012. His spinning, 81-yard sprint around left end at Columbus left Buckeyes defenders groping for air and sparked the imagination of Cal fans.

But the Fresno native couldn’t transform that performance into steady production. He was in and out of the lineup in 2012, finishing the season with 431 rushing yards and a gaudy 9.8 yards per attempt.

His junior season under new coach Sonny Dykes was no more successful. Battling the effects of offseason knee surgery early in the season, Bigelow never found a consistent rhythm and seemed often to run without confidence.

The coaching staff actually moved him to slot receiver at midseason, then returned him to running back. He wound up with 421 rushing yards — 107 of them with his only two touchdowns against Colorado in Week 11. He caught 34 passes for 202 yards.

One of the fastest players on the Cal team, Bigelow finished his career with 877 rushing yards. He will become at least the 18th junior to enter the draft.

Bigelow follows four other Cal juniors who have declared their intention to enter the draft: cornerback Kam Jackson, tight end Richard Rodgers, linebacker Khairi Fortt and defensive tackle Viliami Moala.

A Cal athletic department spokesperson said Dykes would not be available to comment.

Posted on Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
Under: Football, NFL Draft | 26 Comments »
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Football: Junior exodus continues — linebacker Khairi Fortt to declare for NFL draft

Junior linebacker Khairi Fortt announced via twitter this morning that he “is declaring” for the NFL draft.

That makes three Cal juniors who will leave school early for the pros. Fortt joins cornerback Kam Jackson and tight end Richard Rodgers.

Will be curious to see how many of them actually are drafted. How many NFL players can a one-win team have?

Fortt, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound native of Stamford, Conn., and transfer from Penn State, tied for third on the Bears this fall with 64 tackles.

I like Fortt — he’s a good guy, a smart guy. I wish him well, but curious to see what kind of reaction he will get on draft day.

Posted on Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Under: Football, NFL Draft | 40 Comments »
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Football: Rodgers latest to enter NFL draft

A year ago, then-Cal coach Jeff Tedford predicted Richard Rodgers could become the best tight end in college football.

It didn’t happen, but Rodgers has decided to enter the 2014 NFL draft, the Cal football office confirmed.

The news was first reported Thursday by According to Tony Pauline, publisher of the website, Rodgers received some second-round grades from the NFL and earned some comparisons to Antonio Gates.

Coach Sonny Dykes said last week that Rodgers was among five Cal players who sought draft reports from the NFL.

A 6-foot-4, 245-pound junior – the son of Richard Rodgers, who was part of The Play in the 1982 Big Game – Rodgers caught 39 passes for 608 yards in Dykes’ offense this season.

A year ago, under Tedford, he struggled with a hand injury and caught 20 passes.

According to sources outside the Cal football office, Rodgers already has signed with an agent.

Cal also confirmed that cornerback Kam Jackson, who announced earlier in the week he intends to enter the draft, has told the coaching staff that’s his plan.

Posted on Thursday, December 26th, 2013
Under: Football, NFL Draft | 4 Comments »
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Football: Kam Jackson declaring for NFL draft

Junior cornerback Kameron Jackson announced via twitter today that he will declare himself eligible for the NFL draft.

“Did a lot of thinking over these past couple weeks. My mind is made up! I’ve decided to declare for the 2014 NFL Draft !” he tweeted.

A 5-foot-9 native of Long Beach, Jackson had his breakout game for Cal in 2011, intercepting three passes in a win over UCLA. He intercepted just one pass in 2012.

Coach Sonny Dykes confirmed last week that Jackson was among five juniors who requested draft evaluations from the NFL. The others were running back Brendan Bigelow, linebacker Khairi Fortt, receiver Richard Rodgers and safety Michael Lowe.


Posted on Tuesday, December 24th, 2013
Under: Football, NFL Draft | 26 Comments »
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Football: Titans pick Schwenke in fourth round, tell him he could be a rookie starter

One year after trying the center position for the first time, Cal’s Brian Schwenke will get the chance to compete for the starting job with the Tennessee Titans.

Schwenke was the 10th player chosen in the fourth round on Day 3 of the NFL draft Saturday.

“They believe I can be the starting center next year — that’s what they told me,” Schwenke said on a media teleconference. “The position isn’t going to be handed to me. I have to earn it. I look forward to the challenge.”

Meanwhile, cornerback Steve Williams went 145th to the San Diego Chargers in the fifth round and cornerback Marc Anthony was chosen in the seven round by Super Bowl champion Baltimore with the 247th overall pick.

Their selection marked the first time Cal has had two corners picked in the same draft.

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Posted on Saturday, April 27th, 2013
Under: Alumni, Football, NFL Draft | 3 Comments »
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Football: It took a while, but Keenan Allen finally goes to Chargers with the 76th pick of draft

Keenan Allen didn’t know quite what to say or how to feel.

After finally being taken by the San Diego Chargers with the 76th overall pick in the NFL draft — deep into the third round — the former Cal wide receiver’s emotions leaned more to relief than joy.

“I’m not sure what happened,” he said. “I was in the dark like you guys.”

Six months ago, Allen was being projected as the top receiver prospect in the draft, a sure first-rounder. He wound up as just the eighth wideout taken.

“Every time another receiver was taken, it was like another dagger,” said former Cal coach Jeff Tedford. “I could imagine how he felt because I was feeling it for him and with him. Knowing Keenan, this will just add fuel to the fire.”

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Posted on Friday, April 26th, 2013
Under: Alumni, Football, NFL Draft | 19 Comments »
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Football: Keenan Allen, Bay Area college players locked out of NFL draft’s first day

A year after Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, the Bay Area was shut out in Thursday’s first round.

No local player was expected to make the splash that Luck did when he was taken at the top of the draft by the Indianpolis Colts.

But at least two players — Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen and Stanford tight end Zach Ertz — figured to be in the mix to be selected late in the first round.

Neither was taken, marking the first time since 2008 that Bay Area schools failed to produce a first-round draft pick.

Allen tried to stay upbeat Thursday night, tweeting: Competitively disturbed!!! But it’s all good somebody gonna hit the lotto! #headshigh #noworries

Allen and Ertz figure to be chosen Friday, when the draft resumes at 3:30 p.m. with the second and third rounds. The 49ers have the second pick of the second round, giving coach Jim Harbaugh the chance to consider taking Ertz, a player he recruited to Stanford.

Allen, who became Cal’s career receptions leader in less than three full seasons, was pegged as the top receiver prospect in the nation last fall. Then he sprained the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and not only missed the Bears’ final three games, but could not work out at the NFL combine in February.

His draft stock dipped as a result, and he also was the subject of an anonymously sourced ESPN report that his drug test at the combine was red-flagged. Allen’s agent refuted the report, explaining his client was only called back for a combine re-check of the ankle he broke more than a year ago.

Allen finally worked out for NFL scouts in North Carolina several weeks ago, impressing with his good hands and polished skills, but also clocking mediocre 40-yard dash times.

Three wideouts were picked in the first round, with St. Louis taking West Virginia’s Tavon Austin at No. 8 after a trade with Buffalo, and two more going in the late 20s.

Other local players who could be picked Friday include Cal center Brian Schwenke.

Posted on Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Under: Alumni, Football, NFL Draft | 6 Comments »
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Football: Schwenke’s move to center to pay off

A year ago during spring practice at Cal, Brian Schwenke tried playing center for the first time in his football career.

This week, he expects to be drafted to play the position in the NFL.

“I’d never snapped a football. Now I feel more comfortable at center than I ever did at guard,” he said. “The way football works out, it’s what I’m more naturally built to do. Get that football out of there and go. It works for me.”

Schwenke, who started the two previous seasons at guard, was moved to center partly to benefit the team, partly because it could enhance his professional prospects.

Without the change, Schwenke admitted this week, “I probably wouldn’t be getting as much love as im getting.”

The 6-foot-3, 314-pound native of San Diego is getting enough love he anticipates being taken either Friday, when the second and third rounds are conducted, or Saturday, during the final four rounds.

The first round of the NFL draft will be held Thursday, beginning at 5 p.m.

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Posted on Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Under: Alumni, Football, NFL Draft | 12 Comments »
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Football: Tyre Ellison embraces 49ers pro day

If Tyre Ellison is a football household name, it’s only in his family’s San Francisco household.

He spent five seasons on the Cal football team and never earned a starting assignment. Until now, his biggest football moment may have been deflecting a two-point conversion pass to clinch his team’s win in the 2012 Cal spring game.

But on Wednesday afternoon, Ellison was among more than 50 recent college football seniors who showed off their stuff in front of the 49ers coaching staff at the club’s local pro day in Santa Clara.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Ellison said, “but it’s still football at the end of the day.”

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Posted on Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Under: Alumni, Football, NFL Draft | 2 Comments »
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