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.



Women’s basketball: Cal duo honored

Brittany Boyd and Reshanda Gray of Cal are among five Pac-12 players included on the John R. Wooden Award women’s mid-season top-20 list.

Cal joins Connecticut and South Carolina as the only teams with two players on the list.

Nicknamed “Cornflakes and Milk” because of their chemistry on the floor, Boyd and Gray have been consistently productive as seniors.

Boyd is one of the nation’s most versatile guards, averaging 13.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 3.2 steals. She had a school record 16 assists in one game, 19 rebounds in another, and is the NCAA’s active career leader in steals with 324.

Gray averages 19.1 points and 7.1 rebounds and is shooting 59 percent from the floor. She scored 37 points in a game vs. Sacramento State, most by any Pac-12 player this season.

Also nominated from the Pac-12 are Stanford’s Amber Orrange, Washington’s Kelsey Plum and Oregon’s Jillian Alleyne.

Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike won the 2014 women’s Wooden Award.


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: From free agent to Pro Bowl pick

Former Cal running back C.J. Anderson, a second-year, former free agent signee with the Denver Broncos, has been selected as a replacement for Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell in the Pro Bowl.

“It’s a chance to showcase my talent against the best and show I belong,” Anderson said.

Undrafted after his senior season at Cal in 2012, Anderson signed with the Broncos but hardly played in 2013. He got his chance this fall and responded by rushing for 849 yards and eight touchdown in barely half a season.


Football: Cal makes O-line coaching hiring official

Cal coach Sonny Dykes announced Monday that Brandon Jones has been hired as the Golden Bears’ run game coordinator and offensive line coach. We first reported the news Friday.

“We are hiring someone in Brandon Jones that has all the qualities we’re looking for,” Dykes said in a statement. “Brandon shares in our philosophy of recruiting and developing the entire student-athlete to ensure success on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

“Brandon is a quality individual as well as an effective coach and recruiter that our players will learn from and enjoy playing for.”

Jones spent the past five seasons as the offensive line coach at East Carolina. He has been a member of six bowl staffs during the first eight seasons of his coaching career, including four of his five campaigns at East Carolina, where he coached seven all-conference players.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to join the Cal coaching staff,” Jones said. “A lot of what Cal does on offense is similar to what I’m accustomed to, and I’m looking forward to our offensive line putting a good product on the field.

“I’m also excited about what being a student-athlete at Cal represents off the field because I know how important it is for college football players to receive a strong education. I’m ready to get to work by finishing up this recruiting class and signing the next group of Golden Bears.”


Football: East Carolina aide hired as O-line coach

Cal’s new offensive line coach interviewed for the position on Wednesday, was promoted at his old Thursday and hired by the Golden Bears on Friday.

“It’s been crazy, kind of a whirlwind,” said Brandon Jones, who comes to Cal after five seasons as offensive line coach at East Carolina. For one day he also was the Pirates’ run-game coordinator.

On Sunday, he will visit the campus in Berkeley for the first time.

“I’m happy to be part of the Cal program,” said Jones, 31, whose hiring was not immediately announced by Cal. Jones replaces Zach Yenser, hired last week by Kansas.

Jones’ connection to Bears coach Sonny Dykes traces back to their time together at Texas Tech. Dykes was the Red Raiders’ receivers coach through 2006, when Jones was a senior center and Rimington Award finalist.

Both Texas Tech, coached in those days by Mike Leach, and East Carolina in recent seasons operated fast-tempo offenses not unlike what Jones will see at Cal.

“It’s extremely similar,” said Jones, who coached three first- or second-team all-American Athletic Conference offensive lineman last fall on a team that was 8-5, averaged 35.8 points and piled up nearly 7,000 yards of offense.

Continue Reading


Football: Ex-Vikings aide interviews for O-line job

UPDATE: A source with knowledge of Cal football tells me that Ryan Silverfield will not become the Bears’ next offensive line coach.


Former Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Ryan Silverfield, 34, has interviewed with Cal for its vacant O-line position, according to the website coachingsearch.com.

Silverfield,a native of Jacksonville, Fla., worked with the Vikings in various capacities from 2008 through 2013. He served as assistant offensive line coach in 2008 and again from 2011-13.

Silverfield also has experience coaching at the University of Central Florida, at Jacksonville University and at Hampden-Sydney College.

He is a 2003 graduate of Hampden-Sydney, where he earned a degree in economics.

As a player at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla., Silverfield helped his team to a pair of Florida high school championships.


Basketball: Sean Lampley named to Hall of Honor

Sean Lampley, who retired as Cal’s career scoring leader, has been chosen for induction into the Pac-12 Conference Hall of Honor.

One representative from each conference school will be recognized during ceremonies prior to the Pac-12 tournament championship game on March 14 in Las Vegas.

Lampley, the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2001, finished his career with 1,776 points, a school record since eclipsed by Jerome Randle. Upon his departure from Cal, Lampley was the only player in school history ranked among the program’s top-10 in scoring, rebounding and assists.

He averaged 19.5 points as a senior and two years earlier was named MVP after Cal’s run to the postseason NIT title.

Others selected to the Hall of Honor were former Arizona coach Fred Snowden and players Ron Riley of Arizona State, Jim Davis of Colorado, Anthony Taylor of Oregon, Jim Jarvis of Oregon State, Dave Meyers of UCLA, Alex Hannum of USC, Casey Jacobsen of Stanford, Danny Cranes of Utah, Jon Brockman of Washington and Bennie Seltzer of Washington State.

Past Hall of Honor selections from Cal include Pete Newell, Kevin Johnson, Jason Kidd, Darrall Imhoff and Shareef Abdur-Rahim.


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