With Cal getting ready for their bowl matchup against Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl (Dec. 29), there was some regular business to attend to this week as the program already starts to look forward to 2016. This week was the first time junior college players could sign their National Letters of Intent to join Division 1 college football programs. Cal officially welcomed four JUCO transfers to the fold, although they will not join the Golden Bears until January.
Cal will add some depth on both sides of the football with their four additions. The offense will have a bunch of turnover between this 2015 team and the 2016 squad, so adding a pair of JUCO transfers to fill some roster space is also a nice move. Wide receiver Jordan Veasy from Golden West College could slide right into competition for a starting job in the offense next season given the number of seniors moving on and the possible early entry to the NFL Draft of Kenny Lawler. Veasy was one of the top 10 JUCO wide receivers to be obtained this season. Offensive lineman Dwayne Wallace will also be making his way to Cal and he could help beef up the offensive line quickly. Wallace was one of the top four offensive guards in the Class of 2016 among JUCO transfers according to 247 Sports’ composite ranking.
On defense, Cal will add defensive end Rusty Becker from Minnesota State Community and Technical College and cornerback Marloshawn Franklin from Mesa Community College. The two players were ranked No. 11 at their respective positions among JUCO players by ESPN.
“The student-athletes we have signed today will help us to continue developing more depth in our program,” head coach Sonny Dykes said in a released statement on the team’s website. “The good thing is that they don’t necessarily have to be immediate fixes, but they have the ability to do that and getting them here for spring football gives them a huge opportunity to get on the field and contribute from day one.”
LB Michael Barton to transfer
One roster spot that will be open will be at the linebacker spot. Linebacker Michael Barton has decided to seek a transfer to another program in 2016 after graduating from Cal in the spring. As a graduate transfer, Barton will be eligible to play at any FBS college football program immediately in 2016 without having to sit out a season. Linebacker is now becoming a thin position for the Bears.
Cal’s 2016 Schedule Released
Earlier this week the Pac-12 revealed its 2016 schedule for all conference members. This put the final pieces of Cal’s 2016 schedule on the books. The season will actually start down under against Hawaii in Australia on August 27. Cal then heads to San Diego State on September 10 before hosting the Texas Longhorns in the home opener on September 17. It will be the first time Texas has played at Cal since 1969. One of the highlights of the Pac-12 schedule for Cal will be a Friday night game against Oregon on October 21 and a home-heavy schedule down the stretch with home games against Washington, Stanford, and UCLA in November.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.