4

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.

*****

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.

*****

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.

7

Cal football: Is ex-Aggies’ coordinator in mix for Bears’ job?

Jake Spavital, who has coached Johnny Manziel, Geno Smith and Brandon Weeden  but was forced out as offensive coordinator at Texas A&M earlier this month, is a candidate for the same position at Cal, according to the website CoachingSearch.com.

Spavital, 30, spent the past three seasons at A&M, and was offensive coordinator in 2014 and ’15.

But Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin announced Jan. 3 that the two had “mutually decided to part ways.”

Spavital would bring one significant qualification to the job to replace Tony Franklin, who announced last week he was leaving Cal after three seasons to serve as coordinator at Middle Tennessee State and be closer to family. Spavital has a strong background with the Air Raid offense, having worked under Dana Holgorsen at Houston, Oklahoma State and West Virginia from 2009 through 2012.

He arrived at A&M in 2013 after offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury took the head coaching job at Texas Tech, and served as quarterbacks coach, working with Manziel, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Spavital spent time coaching Smith at West Virginia and Weeden at Oklahoma State, even though Weeden was nearly two years older than Spavital.

Sumlin named Spavital the Aggies’ OC in 2014, but A&M offense sputtered against the Southeastern Conference elite this past season. The Aggies scored just 3 points against Ole Miss, 7 against LSU and 10 against Auburn, and Alabama returned three interceptions for touchdowns against them.

Spavital was criticized for a perceived lack of player development, but others said he met with resistance from older coaches on the staff who did not embrace his offensive philosophy. Two highly rated A&M quarterbacks transferred after the season, although one of them, Kyle Allen, called him “my guy for life” in a supportive Tweet after Spavital was let go at A&M.

A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Spavital played football at Missouri State.

He earned $486,110 last season, according to the USA Today coaching salary data base.

1

Cal football: Daniel Lasco shines at Shrine Game

Former Cal running back Daniel Lasco, injured for much of last season, showed a little of what he can do Saturday by rushing for a game-high 62 yards to help the West team to a 29-9 victory in the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Lasco included a 42-yard run among his six carries.

Meanwhile, defensive end Kyle Kragen had 2 1/2 sacks and 3 total tackles for Team National in its 18-17 victory over Team American at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Stub Hub Center at Carson. Bryce Treggs also played in the game, catching one pass for 15 yards and returning a kickoff for 26 yards for Team National.

19

Cal football: Tony Franklin makes surprise exit

Tony Franklin, who spent the past three seasons as offensive coordinator for Cal’s football team, has resigned to take the same position at Middle Tennessee State, Cal announced Friday.

Acknowledging that people might view the step-down move with suspicion, Franklin said leaving Cal was “totally my idea.”

Franklin, 58, stressed that the decision truly was based on his desire to be closer to family. He grew up in Kentucky, and his parents, his wife’s parents and other relatives live in that area.

“I didn’t leave for Middle Tennessee. I left Cal to go home,” Franklin said. “I made a decision to go home before I got the job at Middle Tennessee. … It’s time to go be a good son, a good dad and a good granddad.”

Franklin said he first told coach Sonny Dykes about his possible plans a week ago and discussed it with him further several days ago. Franklin has served as Dykes’ offensive coordinator since 2010, starting at Louisiana Tech.

“I think he probably understood it was a good time for me to do this. He didn’t want me to leave, but he understood. He gets it,” Franklin said.

Continue Reading

4

Cal football notebook: Recruiting class close to complete

Cal has 24 recruiting commitments, including nine players who have signed scholarship papers and will enroll for the spring semester. But that’s not the end of the Bears’ 2016 recruiting class.

Coach Sonny Dykes said he anticipates signing 28 players on Feb. 3.

“A couple guys we feel pretty good about that have told us privately they’re coming,” he told reporters Wednesday.

He expects to land one more wide receiver, offensive and defensive lineman and linebacker. Possibly a 10th player could enroll for the spring semester, he said.

The Bears’ recruiting class currently is ranked fifth of sixth in the Pac-12 by most of the online recruiting services, and Dykes said Cal’s 8-5 record and bowl game appearance in 2015 is only one reason the program is having more success luring talent to Berkeley.

“The program has much more credibility than it has before,” said Dykes, who took over in 2013 after the Bears went 3-9 in coach Jeff Tedford’s final season. Cal was 1-11 in Dykes’ debut. “People know we can win. They’ve seen us compete, see we’re not that far off.”

Continue Reading

5

Cal football: Sonny Dykes says offensive style could be tweaked to fit skills of whoever wins QB job

How much the offensive style of Cal’s 2016 football team resembles what fans saw with Jared Goff at the helm the past three seasons will depend on who wins the competition to replace him.

With Goff headed to the NFL draft after throwing 96 touchdowns in three seasons, the Bears will enter spring practice in a couple of months with as many as four candidates at quarterback.

And while none of them is likely to immediately approach the prolific success Goff had while setting two dozen school passing records, coach Sonny Dykes said the nuances of Cal’s approach on offense will hinge on the particular skills of the player taking the snaps.

“I think that’s one of the things we’ve always done pretty well, that is figure out what our quarterback can do and adjust the offense accordingly,” Dykes said in a teleconference with reporters on Wednesday. “We’ve got some base things we do and if we have more of a running quarterback the offense . . . we’ll adjust the offense to their skill set.”

That might mean more quarterback runs, play-action passes or run-pass combinations, Dykes said, but it doesn’t mean the Bears will stop throwing the ball.

Sophomore Chase Forrest, who served as Goff’s understudy, heads the group competing for the job. He and freshman Ross Bowers, who redshirted last fall, are mobile but not considered running quarterbacks.

Junior Luke Rubenzer, who returns to offense after playing safety in 2015, and incoming freshman Max Gilliam are dual-threat quarterbacks. Gilliam will enroll this month and participate in spring ball after graduating high school in December.

Continue Reading

6

Cal football: Bears flip 4-star DB from Stanford

Cal scored a rare football victory over Stanford on Tuesday when four-star cornerback Nygel Edmonds of Chattanooga, Tennessee, flipped from the Cardinal and committed to the Bears, according to multiple recruiting sources.

Edmonds, a 6-foot, 180-pounder from the McCallie School for Boys, had committed to Stanford last April and was admitted to school last month, according to Rivals.com.

But after also receiving offers from the likes of national championship combatants Alabama and Clemson, Edmonds chose Cal.

He is rated as a four-star prospect and the nation’s No. 27 cornerback by ESPN. Rivals has him as the No. 12 cornerback prospect and a four-star recruit. Scout lists Edmonds as a three-star prospect.

The Bears now have five defensive backs in their 24-player 2016 recruiting class. The letter-of-intent signing day is Feb. 3 and oral commitments aren’t binding until then.

But, for what it’s worth, landing Edmonds helps the Bears continue to climb in the latest recruiting rankings:

Rivals: No. 5 in Pac-12, No. 21 in nation

Scout: No. 6 in Pac-12, No. 33 in nation

247Sports: No. 6 in Pac-12, No. 32 in nation

25

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.”

Continue Reading

0

Football: Cal signs 4-star wide receiver

Melquise Stovall, a consensus four-star wide receiver from Paraclete High in Lancaster, has signed a financial aid agreement with Cal and becomes the ninth member of the Bears’ 2016 recruiting class who will arrive on campus for the spring semester and be available to participate in spring workouts.

Stovall, a 5-foot-9, 185-pounder (listed by Scout as 5-7 1/2, 177) , is projected as an inside slot receiver for the Bears. He is among three receivers who will enroll at midyear and compete for openings at a position where Cal is losing five seniors.

Rated as the No. 3 all-purpose player by both 247Sports and Rivals, Stovall totaled 4,785 all-purpose yards during his three-year high school varsity career. Stovall played on both sides of the ball and as a senior scored 14 touchdowns, including at least one rushing, receiving, returning a kick, a punt and an interception.

He caught 46 passes for 740 yards and five TDs this fall, along with 450 rushing yards and six more scores.

As a junior, he totaled 2,455 all-purpose yards — 1,603 of them rushing — and scored 24 touchdowns.

Stovall had offers from every Pac-12 school except Stanford and Oregon, according to Scout, along with Miami and Notre Dame. He committed to Cal on Dec. 21.

2

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.

Continue Reading