Luck headlines impressive Stanford combine class


Luck headlines impressive Stanford combine class

This week, NFL hopefuls will take the field in Indianapolis to prove there mettle amongst some of the best college football players in the nation in the 2012 NFL scouting combine.
RELATED: 2012 NFL scouting combine invitees

Stanford University will be well represented with six invitees.

RELATED: Six Bears take center stage at NFL combine

Andrew LuckHometown: Houston, TX
High School: Stratford HS
Height Weight: 6-4 235
Position: QB
Age: 22

Andrew Luck is the two-time Heisman Trophy runner up, and he is the consensus No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

His storied Stanford career places him high on the list of great Cardinal quarterbacks. He is the author of many school records, including most touchdown passes (82), most total offense (10,387 yards), most wins by a QB (31), highest winning percentage (.816) to name a few.

Luck's long list of personal awards is higlighted by twice being named to the College All-America Team. Other accolades include the 2011 Maxwell Award as Player of the Year, the 2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the 2011 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, 2011 Academic All-America of the Year, two-time Pac 1012 Offensive Player of the Year, three-time All Pac 1012 Team.

Last year, Luck led Stanford with career-highs in completions (288), passing yards (3,517), completion percentage (71.3), and touchdowns (37).

Chris OwusuHometown: Westlake Village, CA
High School: Oaks Christian School
Height Weight: 6-2 200
Position: WR

Chris Owusu is an athlete and talented wide receiver, but the return man has been plagued with injuries.

He was limited to seven games in 2010, and played in 10 games last year after suffering multiple concussions.

Owusu has 10 career receiving touchdowns and three career return touchdowns.

Coby FleenerHometown: Lemont, IL
High School: Joliet Catholic Academy
Height Weight: 6-6 244
Position: TE

Coby Fleener's combination of size, speed, strength and athleticism make him an attractive option at the tight end position.

Fleener is coming off his best collegiate season, snagging career-highs with 34 receptions, 667 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has 18 career scores.

Fleener missed the Senior Bowl with an injured foot, and is expected to miss the combine workouts. He will still participate in the medical testing and interview process.
REPORT: Stanford's Fleener will miss drills at combine

Jonathan MartinHometown: Los Angeles, CA
High School: Harvard-Westlake School
Height Weight: 6-6 304
Position: OT

Jonathan Martin is one of the top offensive tackles in the nation and is foregoing his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

He was an Associated Press second-team All-American after last year -- his junior year of eligibility -- and a first-team All-Pac-10 selection his sophomore season.

Martin is nicknamed "The Moose," and has been since he was too big to play Pop Warner football in California back in the fifth grade.

REWIND: Stanford's 'Moose' clearing lanes
David DeCastroHometown: Bellevue, WA
High School: Bellevue HS
Height Weight: 6-5 310
Position: OG

David DeCastro was one of two returning starting lineman for the impressive Cardinal front (the other was Martin).

DeCastro is lauded as a smart and dependable player and he helped open holes for two of the highest single-season rushing totals in Stanford school history.

Delano HowellHometown: Newhall, CA
High School: Hart HS
Height Weight: 5-11 198
Position: SS

Howell began his career with Stanford as a running back in 2008, but shortly after was converted to strong safety, where he made 33 starts over the past three seasons.

Howell recorded 52 tackles in 10 games last season, but it wasn't his best year at Stanford.

In 2010, he tackled 60 ball carriers, recorded one sack, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, defended five passes and snagged five interceptions.

In his four-year career, Howell has 196 tackles, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, 12 passes defended and seven interceptions.

Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field


Wilcox embracing challenge, will change the way Cal looks on field

BERKELEY — With more than a half-century without a Rose Bowl berth, tougher academic standards than most Pac-12 schools and lackluster fan support in a pro-sports focused market, there are plenty of hurdles for a football coach at California.

Coach Justin Wilcox took the job for the Golden Bears because he embraces those obstacles and he wants players who feel the same way as he seeks to rebuild a program that has one winning record in the past five years and no conference championships since 1958.

"When you come here, there are challenges," Wilcox said at his introductory news conference Tuesday. "You don't come here and go through school and just go through the motions. You'll be challenged in the classroom, challenged on the football field and learn to interact in a dynamic society. I believe in that and that helps guys grow."

Wilcox faces many hurdles in his new job replacing the recently fired Sonny Dykes less than three weeks before national signing day. He has to put together a coaching staff, evaluate the players already on campus and try to keep together, and even add to, a recruiting class that committed to a different staff.

Athletic director Mike Williams fired Dykes after four seasons on Jan. 8 because he wanted a coach committed to Cal instead of flirting with other jobs and needed someone who could excite a fan base that often stayed away from Memorial Stadium in recent years as the Bears teamed porous defenses with sometimes exciting offenses while posting a 19-30 record.

Williams had five finalists for the job but chose a former Cal assistant with a defensive background and familiarity with the Pac-12 as an assistant for seven years at three schools in the conference.

"He truly gets this place, he truly gets coaching in the West," Williams said. "He came in and was very organized and thoughtful. He knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to hire. ... It's a special place and I think he'll treat it as a special place."

While Dykes flirted with job openings at Houston and Baylor this past offseason in part because of his concern about increased academic standards for recruits, the Bears hope Wilcox is someone who wants to stick around after more than a decade of being on a self-described "windy" path as a top defensive coach.

The former Oregon defensive back began his coaching career in 2001 as a graduate assistant at Boise State. He spent three years as linebackers coach under Jeff Tedford at Cal from 2003-05 when the Bears nearly ended their Rose Bowl drought during a 10-win season with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback in 2004.

Wilcox has spent the past 11 years as a defensive coordinator with stops at Boise State, Tennessee, Washington, Southern California and finally Wisconsin, where he helped the Badgers field a top 10 defense and win the Cotton Bowl.

Wilcox has worked and played for many successful coaches, including Tedford, Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Mike Bellotti, and Paul Chryst.

"I've been extremely fortunate to work for and with people I learned so much from," he said. "Each step along the way, I've seen it done a lot of different ways. I'm not trying to be any of those people. I always try to take pieces and make it my own."

Wilcox has begun putting together his staff, having hired former Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin as offensive coordinator and longtime Oregon offensive line coach Steve Greatwood to fill that role on the Bears.

The Bears will look very different under Wilcox than Dykes. Wilcox said he will recruit tight ends as Cal moves from the spread "Bear Raid" offense that relied on four receivers almost exclusively to a more balanced offense with tight ends and more power concepts.

While he will delegate most of the offensive responsibilities to Baldwin, Wilcox said he will be more involved on defense where he wants to find players who can fit into his base 3-4 system.

Cal ranked 125th in total defense, 127th in scoring defense and 122nd in yards per play out of 128 FBS teams last season on the way to a 5-7 record.

"Every second is critical right now," Wilcox said. "I will not sacrifice the long-term good of the program for what everyone wants which is certainty. Things will happen quickly. I understand the recruits have some anxiety about the situation and there's emotions involved. That's totally understandable. I'd feel the same way."

EWU head coach leaving to become Cal’s new offensive coordinator


EWU head coach leaving to become Cal’s new offensive coordinator

Newly announced Cal head football coach Justin Wilcox has his offensive coordinator just two days into the job. Eastern Washington University head coach Beau Baldwin is stepping down and is on his way to run the offense in Berkeley, EWU announced on Monday.

"I’m excited for the great opportunity that’s ahead but I’ll miss an amazing place," Baldwin said at a press conference held at EWU to announce his decision to leave the school.

Under Baldwin, EWU turned into a powerhouse at the FCS level, posting an 85-32 record in nine seasons. The Eagles won five Big Sky Conference titles and were crowned national champions in 2010.

Baldwin has never coached at the Division I FBS level, but has posted success in the past against those teams. Last season, Baldwin and the Eagles started off the year with a 45-42 win on the road against Washington State.

To open the 2013 season, Baldwin received national attention as EWU pulled off a huge upset by taking down No. 25 Oregon State, 49-46.

In 2016, EWU averaged 42.36 points per game. The Eagles rushed for 112 yards per game and gained 238 yards per game through the air.