JC Signing Day: DL Depth Improves

Sonny Dykes updates the injury status of Brennan Scarlett and Mustafa Jalil, as well as Jared Goff, as the Bears announce the addition of three mid-year JuCo defensive line enrollees.

While California signed three defensive linemen out of the five junior college players signed by the program on Wednesday, the Bears may be at least one defensive lineman richer come spring football.

Head coach Sonny Dykes said that the coaching staff had received the best health report on the injured defensive end that they've gotten since they arrive on campus a year ago.

Scarlett originally broke his hand against Washington State in 2012, and then re-injured the hand against Oregon, and then needed surgery to insert pins. After that, his hand became infected, keeping him out of spring football, and then, he underwent a bone graft, the healing process of which kept him out of games the entire season.

"I think Brennan Scarlett, we got the best health report we've had for Brennan Scarlett the other day, so it sounds to me like he's going to be […] he needed to go see one more doctor, and it looks to me like he's got a pretty good chance to be fully released," said Dykes. In this context, ‘released,' means fully medically cleared to participate in all football activities, up to and including games, which, barring any further mishaps, would include the spring game on April 26.

"It's hard for me to speculate, based on medical stuff, but it certainly sounds that way," Dykes said.

One of the reasons that spring ball will be so late this season – starting on March 31 – is so that the Bears can ensure they have at least two healthy scholarship quarterbacks.

After having successful surgery at the end of November on his separated shoulder – suffered during the 116th Big Game – starter Jared Goff is, according to Dykes, "ahead of schedule," in his recovery.

"He's doing good. The rehab is going well," Dykes said. "All the reports are, he's a little bit ahead of schedule, at this point. The disappointing thing was just that Jared didn't get that time in the weight room to continue to build his body up and get bigger and stronger and all that. That's a little bit of a setback. We anticipate him being full-speed for spring practice, and so I think things are going well."

Dykes addressed one more injury along the defensive line, which saw the additions of tackles Trevor Kelly and David Davis, and rush end Jonathan Johnson on Wednesday: Mustafa Jalil.

"He had a procedure done in his knee that's […] he's feeling much better," Dykes said. "He's reporting a lot less pain than he's had in the past. It's kind of a long rehab process, so we don't expect to have him available for spring. We think the long-term prognosis is good, right now.

"We've had some injuries at those tackle spots, so that's why we felt like it was important to address that by signing a couple of junior college players, just because there has been a lot of uncertainty there, when it comes to guys being healthy, and so I think that's why we felt like it was really important to address that need at the tackle spot. Having said that, I feel like he's going to make a good return. You never know how these things play out and how they're going to respond. I think, right now he certainly feels better than he has in a long time."

Dykes cited Johnson as a key addition, who brings a lot of speed, power and passion to the edge.

"Johnson, I think, is exactly what we needed at the defensive end spot," Dykes said. "He's a great pass-rusher, a very productive player, he's a speed guy coming off the edge that we've lacked. I think he can make a huge difference, and make a big impact in our program really from Day One, so I think we addressed a lot of needs, and I'm excited about this group. I thought it was pretty smooth.

"Signing Johnson, that's a guy we set our sights on early, from day one, as a pass rushing defensive end. We felt like he was the best fit. We felt like he was the best fit academically. We felt like he was the best fit, athletically. We felt he was the speed rusher that we really needed. The more we recruited him, the more we liked him. I love the way the kid plays. He plays with a lot of passion, a lot of emotion. Really has a passion for playing the game, and I think that it's important to get those kinds of kids into our program. He's one of those guys that, the more information we got on him, the more and more we liked him, and we were really fortunate to be able to sign him."

We'll address Kelly in our upcoming scouting report, but Dykes did have words of praise for Davis, out of Long Beach (Calif.) City College.

"To be able to sign David Davis, who's what you want inside, he's a blue-collar guy who plays really hard and has good strength and plays with good leverage and really likes to play football and again is a great academic fit," Dykes said. "Then, Trevor Kelly, Trevor Kelly's just a load inside. He's a man. I think that's where it all starts, up front."

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