Cal football links: PFF spotlights Jaydn Ott as the key to a program resurgence
That and more Golden Nuggets around the Internet on the California Golden Bears.
Jaydn Ott was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise downbeat 2022 campaign, and he’ll be critical to any sort of major resurgence for the Bears. With Cal’s running back room starting from scratch from the portal and a lot of key playmakers turning over at every position, Ott is the steadiest presence, and a breakout 2023 could turn the future of the Bears back in the right direction.
“We already know how last season went,” Ott said in an exclusive interview with PFF, “and for the newcomers, they know as well that we have a goal to accomplish next year and we're not gonna have a rerun of this past season.”
Ott accounted for a significant portion of Cal’s offensive production in 2022, carrying the load for the team throughout the year. He finished with 897 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns. That helped him earn an elite 90.1 PFF rushing grade. His best outing was a 274-yard, three-touchdown effort against Arizona — one of the highest-graded games from a running back in the PFF era.
Ott is hopeful that his sophomore season can harken back to the best days of Cal football lore.
Part of that is remembering the players who built up Cal football before him. Ott even idolized former Cal star running back Marshawn Lynch when growing up. He is reminded of the Golden Bears' running back legacy every time he enters the running back room, where there are jerseys of the former greats hung up.
“In our meetings right before practice, I look up at the wall and that’s my vision board, that’s my standard,” he said. “So I know what I need to do that day when I go out onto the field and practice and on game day.”
More Bears and Bites
Cal Rivals had an interview with defensive back Rahshawn Clark, who committed this week to the Bears. Clark was sold on the environment and his relationship with defensive backs coach Terrence Brown and Tre Watson. He also really enjoyed his official visit experience.
"Definitely the vibe on campus," Clark said about what went into his commitment. "I know how I am as a person, and I know I don't fit everywhere. So, definitely the vibe on campus that I got from the staff, the strength and conditioning coach, the people that work in the stores on campus, everything."
Quarterback EJ Caminong also liked his fit with the staff, and chatted with Brandon Huffman of 247Sports about how important family was in his decision:
"My family is super grateful and excited," said Caminong. "They love everything about the school and life outside of football. Also the fact I have family out there already makes them more comfortable with my decision."
Caminong said staying on the West Coast was important for him. "Distance was a little factor," said Caminong. "I love that my family can easily get to my games. where my family in the Bay Area as well can all get to my games. They're all in the surrounding areas of Berkeley."
Defensive back transfers Nohl Williams and Patrick McMorris made Athlon Sports Pac-12 All-Transfer Portal team.
California's secondary already returned five starters from last season but adding Williams (UNLV) and McMorris (San Diego State) solidified this group even more going into '23.
On3Sports marks Cal’s biggest game of the year vs. Arizona State, which could delineate the difference between making or not making a bowl.
The Bears are a fringe bowl team this fall, but the Pac-12 did Justin Wilcox little favors with one of the tougher schedules in the league.
Cal doesn’t play Colorado or Arizona, but it must travel to Washington, Oregon, Utah and UCLA. With just four conference home games, beating Arizona State to end September is paramount to the Bears’ hopes of making a bowl game for the first time since 2019.
The Bears and Sun Devils have only played each other four times in last decade, with ASU winning three of the meetings — including a 24-17 win in 2019.
Cal fans, what’s on your mind this weekend? Let us know in the comments.