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Football: Cal fires assistant coach Pierre Ingram

The exit was quick and entirely predictable for disgraced Cal assistant coach Pierre Ingram.

Cal athletics announced Friday that it has fired Ingram, who was arrested April 16 on charges of solicitation.

Ingram, 30, was placed on administrative leave earlier this week. Now the athletic department has cuts ties with him entirely.

Cal’s statement reads: “As you are aware, Assistant Football Coach Ingram was placed on paid administrative leave following his recent arrest for solicitation. We are not renewing his contract and he will no longer represent or act on behalf of this University in any capacity.”

The athletic department’s move was inevitable and necessary. Ingram’s alleged actions — he still has yet to face a trial — make it impossible for Cal to move forward with him representing them on the field or as a recruiter.

Ingram was Cal’s recruiting coordinator, wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. He spent the past two seasons as running backs coach, and worked three years under head coach Sonny Dykes when both were at Louisiana Tech.

Ingram, who is married with two small children, earned a base salary and talent fee of $180,000 per year.

He was arrested as part of a prostitution sting operation and faces misdemeanor charges of solicitation.

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Football: Pierre Ingram arrested in prostitution sting

Cal football’s recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach has been placed on administrative leave following his arrest last week in Oakland as part of prostitution sting that netted five johns, officials said Monday.

Pierre Ingram, 30, recently named the Bears’ passing game coordinator, was arrested after police said he allegedly solicited an undercover officer online and then showed up April 16 at the Motel 6 on Embarcadero.

He was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor solicitation of a lewd act, was booked, cited and released, and given a court date to appear next month.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Football: Jack Austin inserts himself into WR picture

On the short list of players who showed the most progress during Cal’s spring workouts, which ended Saturday, coach Sonny Dykes points to sophomore wideout Jack Austin.

“Jack had a great spring,” Dykes said. “If you went back and said who was the most improved? Jack would certainly be in the conversation. Particularly the past two weeks. If he keeps getting better he’ll start to push Trevor (Davis).”

Austin, a big receiver from Chino Hills, did not catch a pass last fall as a redshirt freshman, but seems to have worked himself into position to change that this season.

He made several nice plays during Saturday’s spring game, including a diving catch, and is listed No. 2 behind Davis at the “X” wideout position on Cal’s end-of-spring depth chart.

“It’s a very competitive group. We’ve got great receivers on both sides. Trevor Davis and I are competing a lot,” Austin said. “I’m going to keep competing through spring and then summer and fall as well.”

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Football: Four-star safety Thompson picks Cal

Cal got an oral commitment from 2016 safety Shurod Thompson of Liberty High in Brentwood, who is rated as a four-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com.

Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder, also had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, USC and Washington State, among others. But Scout reported that it was Cal who gave Thompson his first scholarship offer.

Rivals ranks him as the No. 7 safety prospect in the country, the No. 1o overall player in the Class of 2016 from California.

Scout ranks Thompson as the nation’s No. 8 overall prosect, and has him No. 11 among safeties and No. 2 at his position in California.

Thompson is Cal’s sixth oral commitment and the second elite defensive back the Bears expect to sign. Also committed is four-star DB Marquel Dismuke, a 6-2, 170-pounder from Calabasas.

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Football: Bears’ spring game a little `weird’

The Cal Spring Football Experience on Saturday was a little tough to define.

“It wasn’t practice, it wasn’t a game, it was a little weird,” quarterback Jared Goff said.

“It’s very weird,” said senior running back Daniel Lasco, an 1,100-yard rusher last season who did not carry the ball once in the often scripted format. “The schedule was weird. I wish we would have knew what was going on. (I thought) we’re just going to put the ball out here and start playing.

“I guess in the end it was all good.”

The two-hour event at Memorial Stadium, attended by about 1,000 fans and televised by the Pac-12 Networks, included just 52 snaps in full 11-on-11 tackle mode. Otherwise, there were situational plays, 7-on-7 drills without tackling, plus punts and field goals.

Coach Sonny Dykes came away pleased because the team achieved what it wanted and no one was injured. And that’s no small consideration in spring ball.

“We tried to make it as fan-friendly as possible, but the important thing was get work done, take care of our players. I thought we accomplished that,” he said.

Dykes said the Bears simply don’t have enough healthy defensive backs to run a full-fledged scrimmage. He also noted that he watched USC scrimmage recently and “they didn’t tackle one person the whole time.

“Spring games are what they are,” he said. “I don’t think people necessarily come for the football. They come to enjoy interacting with the players.”

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Football: Rubenzer gets some scrimmage reps at QB

After Luke Rubenzer saw his first action at quarterback this spring, coach Sonny Dykes said Monday there has been no final decision on whether the sophomore will play offense or defense next fall.

Rubenzer was Jared Goff’s backup at QB as a true freshman last season, used as a change-of-pace running threat. Because of manpower issues at safety this spring, he has worked exclusively on defense.

But during a 60-play scrimmage in the Bears’ 13th of 15 spring practices, Rubenzer was back under center.

“I thought he did OK. We had some designed runs. Tough to say because he’s in a red jersey,” Dykes said. “I thought he did fine, thought he threw the ball well, looked comfortable.”

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Recruiting: A win for football, a big loss for hoops

The news on two recruiting fronts came back-to-back Friday:

— Five-star basketball center Caleb Swanigan of Fort Wayne, Indiana, announced a day ahead of his own schedule that he will attend Michigan State. The news apparently was a surprise to coach Tom Izzo’s staff, as it likely was to Cal coach Cuonzo Martin.

Swanigan originally said he would announce Saturday at the Hoop Summit all-star game in Portland. Swanigan and Bishop O’Dowd High’s Ivan Rabb were thought to be plotting a joint commitment somewhere — possibly to Cal.

Cal has been considered the favorite for Rabb, a 6-foot-11 five-star power forward. But he didn’t announce two weeks ago after winning the state title — at Haas Pavilion, no less — and still hasn’t shared his decision.

It’s just speculation, but you have to wonder if Rabb delayed his announcement because he was trying to close the deal with Swanigan.

I am hearing Rabb is unlikely to announce Saturday. Perhaps he is planning something when he returns to the Bay Area.

— The news was better for football, where the Bears nabbed their second quarterback in the class of 2016. Max Gilliam, a 6-3, 192-pounder from Thousand Oaks High, was on campus Friday for an unofficial visit. Cal offered and he accepted, then tweeted his decision.

Gilliam is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals, Scout and 247 Sports.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Gilliam passed for 2,920 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior last fall and rushed for 625 yards and 12 TDs.

He joins Armani Rogers, a 6-5 dual-threat quarterback from Hamilton High in Los Angeles in the Bears’ 2016 class. Cal also got a commitment earlier this week from offensive lineman Daniel Juarez, a 6-5, 292-pounder from Corona-Centennial.