Football: Will Chris Harper be drafted?

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.


Football: The Luke Rubenzer Plan

Luke Rubenzer remains a safety. Until and unless he returns to quarterback.

Coach Sonny Dykes said Rubenzer performed well enough as a safety during spring workouts that he will remain on defense and focus on improving his skills at the position in the months leading to training camp in August.

“It’s definitely something we’ll continue. We’re going to give him the summer to keep improving and get comfortable,” Dykes said. “I think he did a really remarkable job at that position because he had a limited amount of time to prepare for it.

“As hard as Luke works and as competitive as he is, he’ll be doing things every single day (during the summer) to improve things. So he’ll make a jump from April to August just with what he does on his own.”

The Bears moved Rubenzer to safety from quarterback — where he was Jared Goff’s backup last fall as a true freshman — because they were short-handed in the secondary during spring ball. But with more than a half-dozen safety candidates expected back from injury or arriving on campus for the first time in the fall, competition is sure to heat up.

The coaching staff will give Rubenzer two weeks to work at safety once camp begins, which also will give others the chance to show what they can do.

“If he’s not going to play at safety,” Dykes said, “we’ll move him back to quarterback immediately.”

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Football: Injured Bears on the mend, Dykes says

In his post-spring media sessions with reporters Thursday, coach Sonny Dykes said he’s encouraged by the progress of players who missed workouts while rehabbing after injuries or surgery.

“I think everybody’s where you want them to be,” he said.

Dykes said safeties Stefan McClure (quad) and Griffin Piatt (knee) and tackle Steven Moore (shoulder) are probably ahead of schedule and linebacker Nate Broussard (knee) and safety Quentin Tartabull (knee) are on schedule.

“I feel pretty good about the rehab these guys have gone through and where we they are. Obviously, those are some pretty significant pieces to this puzzle,” Dykes said. “You can have a pretty good taste in your mouth leaving spring with what we had. But throw those guys in the mix and all of a sudden you feel a lot better about everything.”

Dykes stopped short of saying all of them would be ready to begin practice on Aug. 10 when camp opens.

“It’s hard to say to what extent (they will be ready),” he said. “I think most of those guys will be part of the team when fall camp starts.”


Football: Dykes says Goff is an `elite’ quarterback

Coach Sonny Dykes said quarterback Jared Goff made a huge leap during recently completely spring workouts.

“I thought he was a completely different player. To me, the biggest jump I’ve seen from Jared was this spring,” Dykes said. “He ended the fall as a really good quarterback. He finished spring practice as an elite-level quarterback.”

Dykes talked about the areas of improvement Goff needed to address, including hitting open deep receivers, improving the timing of his deliveries, getting rid of the ball to relieve pressure on the offensive line, moving and throwing on the run, and understanding that decisions he makes early in a game may differ from those he makes in the fourth quarter.

“He went out with a clear purpose and addressed those issues and I think he’s at a really good place right now,” Dykes said. “He’s got a chance to be one of the best quarterbacks in a league full of good quarterbacks. If he’s one of the best in this league, he’ll be one of the best in the country.”

Dykes added, “Jared’s got a really high ceiling. He has a chance to be a really good football player. I feel like he was way ahead of where he was a year ago.”

Another area where the junior-to-be continues to progress is leadership, Dykes said. A starter since his true freshman season in 2013, Goff has allowed the leadership component to develop organically.

“The good thing about Jared is he hasn’t tried to force that. It’s happened naturally,” Dykes said. “He’s certainly revered by his teammates. They like him, they respect him. They respect him because he’s a good player. They respect him because he’s a good person. They respect him because he does things the right way off the field.

“He’s the kind of guy you want to build your football program around. And he has become really comfortable as a leader. He has those leadership qualities in him and they’re starting to come out now.”


Football notebook: Dykes `disappointed’ by Ingram

Coach Sonny Dykes said Thursday he was “disappointed and surprised” when he learned that former assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Pierre Ingram was arrested for solicitation on April 16, adding that the Bears had no choice but to fire him.

The search for Ingram’s replacement is going well, according to Dykes, who is impressed by the quality of those who have expressed interest.

“It kind of speaks to how people view the program, that from a national standpoint we’re an upcoming program,” Dykes said.

Ingram, 30, was arrested as part of a police sting operation and was fired by Cal last Friday.

“Obviously, it’s not anything you ever want to hear. I was disappointed and surprised,” he said. “I think everybody was surprised that knew Pierre, but we had to move on.”

Cal’s 2016 recruits were contacted immediately after the news of Ingram’s arrest, Dykes said. “We got out in front of it,” he said. “We didn’t get anything back but good support.”

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Basketball: Tyrone Wallace named Bears’ MVP

Junior guard Tyrone Wallace took home the Nibs Price Most Valuable Player honors at Cal’s awards dinner Monday night at the University Club on camps.

The all-Pac-12 point guard also won the Jason Kidd assist award, the Darrall Imhoff rebounding award and the Play Hard award.

Wallace finished the season as the only player in the Pac-12 to rank in the top five in points (4th, 17.1 ppg.), rebounds (5th, 7.1) and assists (5th, 4.0). Having opted against entering the NBA draft, he will return as the league’s active scoring leader and assist leader in 2015-16 with 1,196 career points and 313 career assists through his first three seasons. He also will enter his senior season fourth among active players in the Pac-12 in career rebounds with 526.

Senior forward David Kravish was honored with the team’s Best Defensive Player Award. The four-year starter and two-year captain completed his career as Cal’s all-time blocks leader with 226 in his career.

Kravish played in a school-record 135 games with 125 starts and ranks third in school history with 917 career rebounds with 917. He is the only player in school history with, 1,000 career points, 800 career rebounds and 200 career blocks.

Freshman Nick Hamilton was awarded the Pete Newell Coaches’ Award while junior Stephen Domingo and freshman Cole Welle were each honored with the Strength & Conditioning Award, presented by by Strength & Conditioning Coach Nicodemus Christopher.


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.


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.

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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.