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Football: Bears add two weekend commits

Cal got a pair of weekend recruiting commitments, including one from 6-foot-6, 270-pound offensive tackle Johnny Capra of Placer High. Capra is rated as a three-star prospect by Scout.com.

The Bears also landed two-star tight end Zeandae Johnson, a 6-2, 240-pounder from Fresno’s Central HS East Campus.

Earlier last month, got Cal a commit from three-star center Ryan Gibson, a 6-2, 271-pounder from St. Stanislaus HS in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Gibson is rated by Scout as the 15th-best center prospect in the country.

Cal now has seven oral commitments for the class of 2015.

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Basketball: Martin OK that Bears likely to enter season with just 10 available scholarship players

Had breakfast with new basketball coach Cuonzo Martin, who said he’s bought a home in Piedmont but will spend much of the rest of this summer recruiting for the Class of 2015.

He also confirmed the Bears are likely to go into next season with just 10 eligible scholarship players. Martin said he won’t use either of the program’s two open scholarships this summer, unless he’s able to land a senior graduate transfer who is immediately eligible.

That means — although Martin cannot discuss recruits by name — there is nothing to online chatter that Cal might be pursuing former Oregon guard and Bay Area native Dominic Artis.

The situation is complicated because Artis played for the Oakland Soldiers, the powerhouse traveling team that features Bishop O’Dowd HS star Ivan Rabb, rated by some as the top prospect in the Class of 2015.

The Bears, and everyone else, want Rabb, but my sense is they won’t sign Artis to get him. Artis was one of three players booted from Oregon this spring after being the subject of a sexual assault investigation. While no charges were filed, the incident was unseemly enough that the school divorced itself from all three players.

Asked how concerned he is about his scholarship numbers for next season, Martin said, “Not at all. We’ve been in situations like this before. The strength and conditioning part is important, but also being smart in practice.”

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Football: Which high-level prospects from the Class of 2015 the Golden Bears are chasing

Below is a rundown of the 48 high school players Cal is recruiting off Scout.com’s list of top-300 national prospects. These include five-star and four-star prospects, according to Scout’s evaluations.

The Bears have four commitments so far for the class of 2015 — all of them three-star prospects.

Among the group shown here, there are several trends worth noting:

– Twelve of the 48 are wide receivers. Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin just can’t have enough of them on his roster.

– Only one is a quarterback — No. 99 prospect Travis Waller of Servite-Anaheim.

– Two are tight ends, a position the Bears hardly utilize.

– Eight are from the state of Texas, a recruiting hotbed and backyard to Louisiana Tech, where coach Sonny Dykes and his staff still have recruiting ties.

– Six of the seven five-star prospects the Bears are pursuing are defensive players. In all, 27 of the 48 listed play defense.

We’ll keep an eye on this list to see how many Dykes and his staff are able to land.

Scout.com 5-star prospects recruited by Cal

2. OLB Malik Jefferson, Ralph H. Poteet HS, Mesquite, Texas, 6-3, 220
10. DT Kahlil McKenzie, De La Salle HS, 6-4, 330
11. CB Iman Marshall, Long Beach Poly HS, 6-1.5, 190
16. WR DeMarkus Lodge, Cedar Hill HS, Cedar Hill, Texas, 6-2, 188
22. DE Keisean Lucier-South, Lutheran Orange HS, Orange, 6-4.5, 220
27. OLB John Houston, Serra HS, Gardena, 6-3, 218
28. DE Canton Kaumatule, Punahoa School, Honolulu, 6-6, 259

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Football: Kaufman’s deal as DC for more money, fewer years than Buh, who exits with $1 million

Cal will pay new football defensive coordinator Art Kaufman more than his predecessor but has protected itself by giving him a shorter contract.

Kaufman, who replaced Andy Buh after the Bears allowed a school-record 45.9 points per game last season, signed a two-year deal valued at $550,000 per season, not including potential performance incentives, according to documents obtained by this newspaper. Kaufman also got a one-time $20,000 signing bonus.

Buh came onboard with new coach Sonny Dykes before the 2013 season and received a three-year contract worth $500,000 per season — all of it guaranteed. After the Bears’ 1-11 campaign, Buh was fired without cause on April 2, an athletic department spokesman said, leaving the department on the hook for the remaining $1 million on his contract.

An athletic department spokesman said no settlement or compromise was reached with Buh and confirmed the university is “fulfilling obligations to the contract” with monthly payments over the next two years.

Buh, who could not be reached for comment, is obligated by terms of his contract to seek employment. Cal’s financial obligation to him would be reduced by the amount of his salary in a new position.

Kaufman, 55, who came to Cal from Cincinnati, will cost Cal more in the short term, but less if the two part ways before his two-year contact ends.

Kaufman will earn $225,000 in base salary each season, plus a $325,000 talent fee. He will receive the entirety of his $550,000 annual salary if fired anytime before the end of his first season, but only $340,000 if dismissed prior to the end of the second season.

If Kaufman decides to leave Cal prior to April 30, 2015, he must pay the university $75,000.

Kaufman’s salary is line with others at his position in the Pac-12 Conference. He’ll earn more than new Washington defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski ($485,000), but less than UW paid Justin Wilcox ($750,000) in 2013. Wilcox left Washington after last season, following coach Steve Sarkisian to USC.

Kaufman can earn bonuses ranging from $10,000 to $35,000 if the Bears play in various bowl games. He will earn $25,000 if Cal’s 2014 defense is ranked among the nation’s top-50 in fewest points per game allowed, and $25,000 if the ’15 squad is ranked among the top-25.

Cal ranked second-to-last nationally last season in scoring defense — 122nd out of 123 Football Bowl Subidivision teams. Kaufman’s Cincinnati defense ranked 14th nationally, allowing 21.0 points per game.

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Football: Times set on 3 games for 2014

Times are set for three of Cal’s 2014 football games, including its home opener Sept. 6 against Sacramento State, which kicks off at noon and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.

Cal’s game against Oregon at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Friday, Oct. 24, will begin at 7 p.m.

And the Bears’ Thursday, Nov. 13 game at USC is slated for a 6 p.m. kickoff.

Cal’s season-opener at Northwestern is part of the Big Ten Conference television package and is expected to be announced soon.

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Hall of Fame: Natalie Coughlin leads 2014 class

Swimmer Natalie Coughlin, winner of 11 NCAA titles and 12 Olympic medals, heads the seven-member 2014 class of inductees into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.

Also part of Cal’s 29th Hall of Fame class are gymnast Tom Beach, swimmer Anthony Ervin, golfer Sarah Huarte, track and field athlete Grace Upshaw, football coach Ray Willsey and contributor Rick Cronk, who earned the Hall of Fame Service Award.

Induction ceremonies will be held Oct. 17 at the Greek Orthodox Church Conference Center in Oakland. Ticket information for the event can be found at www.bigcsociety.com.

Here’s a capsule on each inductee:

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Football: SI.com ranks Bears’ chance at redemption as No. 83 storyline for ’14

How excited are you about the 2014 college football season?

Well, the season opener is still more than three months away, but the folks at SI.com, on their Campus Union blog, are counting down the 100 things they’re most excited about.

Nos. 81 through 100 were unveiled Monday, and the Golden Bears made an appearance at . . .

83. Sonny Dykes’ second chance to jumpstart Cal. Cal took a step back in Dykes’ debut in Berkeley. Cal’s 1-11 campaign was a far cry from the coach’s history of success at Louisiana Tech. With prolific passer Jared Goff (3,508 yards in ‘13) back for his sophomore season, can the offensive-minded Dykes make the Bear Raid a winner?

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Football: Chris McCain signs with Dolphins

Linebacker Chris McCain signed a free-agent contract with the Miami Dolphins, making him the sixth former Cal player to land a spot with an NFL team since the draft two weekends ago.

McCain played two-plus seasons at Cal before being dismissed from the program for conduct detrimental to the team after four games of his 2013 junior campaign.

He finished his collegiate career with 90 tackles, 14.5 tackles for 50 yards in lost yardage, 5.0 sacks, one pass breakup, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 24 games played and 18 starts.

McCain’s top season came as a 2012 sophomore when he was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection.

McCain is the fourth ex-Cal player to either sign or agree to terms as a free agent with an NFL team. Running back Brendan Bigelow (Tampa Bay), cornerback Kameron Jackson (Indianapolis) and defensive tackle Deandre Coleman Jacksonville) previously did so.

Tight end Richard Rodgers (Green Bay) and linebacker Khairi Fortt (New Orleans) were selected in the third and fourth rounds, respectively, of the NFL draft.

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Football: Bigelow signs with Buccaneers

Former Cal running back Brendan Bigelow signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to the team’s website and NFL.com.

Bigelow is reunited with former Cal coach Jeff Tedford, who recruited the running back to Berkeley and now serves as the Bucs’ offensive coordinator.

Bigelow rushed for 877 yards and five touchdowns in his three-year Cal career, caught 42 passes for 305 yards and averaged 21.9 yards on 62 kickoff returns.

Slowed by knee problems during portions of his Cal career, Bigelow enjoyed his finest performance as a sophomore at Ohio State, when he rushed four times for 160 yards, including TD runs of 81 and 59 yards.

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Football: Drew enters not-guilty plea

Cal football player Damaria Drew pleaded not guilty to felony assault charges on Friday, and his attorney said the alleged victim’s dog triggered the May 20 incident by biting the sophomore defensive back from Livermore.

Click here to read staff writer Malaika Fraley’s full story.

Note: Drew told the judge that his first name is spelled Damaria, not Damariay, as it appears on the Cal website.