The Bears got a commitment from their third wide receiver in a week on Friday, landing three-star Matt Laris of East Catholic High in Sammamish, Washington.
Laris, a 6-foot-4, 210-pounder, also had offers from Air Force, Boise State and Wyoming, among others, according to Rivals.com, and had drawn interest from Stanford and Washington.
Scout, which also rates Laris as a three-star prospect, reports that he caught 72 passes for 1,394 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior last fall.
Cal now has 11 prospects from the Class of 2016 orally committed.
Greetings from Cleveland . . .
Cal has picked up a pair of 3-star prospects, according to both Rivals and Scout:
— Josh Drayden, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound cornerback from Bishop Dunne High in Dallas comes on board after the Bears lost a pair of 4-star safeties in the past couple weeks. Drayden, who reportedly runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash, also had offers from Boise State, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin, among others.
— Logan Gamble, a 6-5, 200-pound wide receiver/athlete from St. Anthony High in Long Beach. Gamble also had offers from Arizona, San Diego State, Virginia and Washington State.
Cal’s strong early recruiting efforts for the Class of 2016 have taken a couple substantial hits with recent decommitments from two four-star safety prospects.
First, local prospect Shurod Thompson of Liberty High in Brentwood withdrew his April commitment. Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pounder, is rated by Rivals.com as the nation’s No. 7 safety prospect.
“It has been a great pleasure getting to know the entire Cal football staff, you have welcomed me into your family and I couldn’t be more grateful,” Thompson wrote on Twitter. “Unfortunately, I have decided to take a different path, I will always appreciate your staffing and the great memories I have made with you. I am officially de-commiting as a Cal bear.”
Then, three days ago (while I was in Cleveland, no less, covering the NBA Finals), safety Marquel Dismuke, a 6-2, 170-pounder from Calabasas High. Dismuke is ranked No. 19 among the nation’s elite safeties by Rivals.
Dismuke also said his goodbyes on Twitter: “Thank you to the Golden Bears family and Coaches on everything they done for me but at this point of time I want to reopen my recruitment.”
Cal’s secondary — still the biggest question mark on a defense that has been wretched — added some immediate help Monday.
The Bears signed Khari Vanderbilt, a safety from San Jose City College, who will be eligible to play this fall.
A 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, Vanderbilt is rated a 3-star prospect by Scout, Rivals and 247Sports.
He originally committed to BYU, but will play next fall in Berkeley.
Cal’s season-opening non-conference home games against Grambling State (Sept. 5) and San Diego State (Sept. 12) have been set for 2 p.m. kickoffs on the Pac-12 Networks.
The Bears will then hit the road for the first time for a Sept. 19 game at Texas. Kickoff will be 4:30 p.m. PT on Fox.
Zion Echols, a three-star “athlete” prospect from Charter Oaks High in West Covina, had offers from seven Pac-12 schools and announced Saturday he will attend Cal.
A 5-foot-10, 170-pounder, Echols also had offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State, Utah and Washington State in the Pac-12, along with Boise State, BYU, LSU and San Jose State.
Cal got its third oral commitment from a defensive back Wednesday when cornerback Traveon Bell of St. John Bosco-Bellflower chose the Bears.
Bell announced his commitment on Twitter: “Well it’s official ! … I’m so happy and blessed to say I have committed to being a Cal Bear !! #CalGang2016 !!!”
Bell is rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals and Scout.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder chose Cal over Arizona State, Washington, Wisconsin and San Jose State, among others, according to Rivals.com.
He is Cal’s eighth 2016 commitment, joining safeties Marquel Dismuke and Shurod Thompson.
Cal got an oral commitment Friday from offensive tackle Jake Curhan, a 6-foot-7, 315-pounder from Redwood High in Larkspur.
Rated a three-star prospect by both Scout and Rivals, Curhan has a 3.97 grade-point average, according to the recruiting website.
He chose Cal after also getting offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Oregon State, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Washington State, among others.
Two-sport star Tony Gonzalez, who went on to become the most prolific tight end in NFL history, leads a class of eight who will be inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.
Induction ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 30, at the annual Hall of Fame banquet at the Greek Orthodox Church Conference Center in Oakland. The inductees will also be honored at halftime of Cal’s Oct. 31 home football game vs. USC.
Gonzalez played football and basketball at Cal, earning first-team All-America honors by Football News and Sporting News as a junior in 1996, when he caught 44 passes for 699 yards and five touchdowns.
Gonzalez completed his career with 89 catches for 1,302 yards and eight scores.
He played in 82 games for the basketball team, helping Cal to the Sweet 16 of the 1997 NCAA Tournament, which included a 23-point performance in a win over Villanova in the second round.
The 13th overall pick of the 1997 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, Gonzalez played 17 seasons and in 270 games in the NFL for the Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons, recording 1,325 catches — second-most in NFL history — for 15,127 yards and 111 touchdown receptions before retiring after the 2013 season.
He was a 10-time All-Pro, a 14-time Pro Bowl choice and a member of the NFL’s 2000’s All-Decade Team.
Others named to the Cal Hall of Fame:
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.