REACTION: Coaches Depart, Harper Declares

We have reactions from head coach Sonny Dykes and recruits to the big news of the last two days, with Zach Yenser and Rob Likens leaving for Kansas, and wide receiver Chris Harper declaring for the NFL Draft.



On Tuesday evening, California head coach Sonny Dykes issued a statement on the departures of wide receivers coach Rob Likens (who became the offensive coordinator for Kansas on Monday) and offensive line coach Zach Yenser, who left to fill the same position with the Jayhawks.

“We wish Rob Likens and Zach Yenser all the best as they enter the next phase of their coaching careers," said Dykes, who brought both Yenser and Likens with him from his previous head coaching position at Louisiana Tech. "It is a compliment to your football program when other teams find the coaches on your staff to be attractive hires. Throughout the past two seasons Rob and Zach have made many important contributions to our football program, helping it grow both on and off the field, and their efforts helped build a strong foundation for success. As always, we will look to continue to hire quality people that are both effective coaches and recruiters. We will fill the positions as quickly as our university process allows with coaches that are the right fit for our program, and share in our philosophy of recruiting and developing the entire student-athlete to ensure success on the field, in the classroom and in the community."

BearTerritory has spoken with both Yenser's and Likens's recruits over the past two days. Read what the offensive line commits had to say here, including Nick Buchanan and Ryan Gibson.

What about the wide receiver commits? Well, with the news that junior Chris Harper would be foregoing his senior year to enter the NFL Draft, there's a spot open in the rotation.

“We wish Chris the best in the next chapter of his football career and thank him for the contributions he made to the Cal football program,” Dykes said. “We look forward to watching his continued success at the next level as he pursues his dream of playing in the NFL and joins a long list of Cal players who have been successful in the league.”

It's likely that Erik Brown will move into that role, joining Kenny Lawler, Bryce Treggs, Stephen Anderson, Darius Powe and Trevor Davis. That also makes for some opportunities for the Bears' outside receiver commits -- Austin Aaron and Greyson Bankhead. What did they have to say? Find out here.

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MORE ON HARPER
Harper finishes his Cal career with three-season receiving totals of 159 catches, 1969 receiving yards and 14 touchdown receptions. He is eighth on Cal’s career receptions list and tied for ninth in touchdown receptions. Harper, who started 23 career games, caught at least one pass in 34 of his 35 career contests and each of his last 29.

Harper recorded 52 catches for 634 receiving yards and a career-high six touchdowns while playing in all 12 games with nine starts in his final season as a junior in 2014, ranking tied for second on the team in receptions and touchdowns catches as well as third in receiving yards and all-purpose yards (751), and tied for fifth in scoring (36). He was also Cal’s leading punt returner with 13 returns for 100 yards. Harper had a season-high nine catches at USC and a season-best 98 receiving yards on eight catches in his final collegiate contest against BYU.

As a 2013 sophomore Harper played in 11 games with nine starts and registered career highs of 70 receptions for 852 receiving yards to go with five touchdown catches. He led Cal in receiving yards, tied for the team lead in touchdown catches and total touchdowns (5), and ranked tied for second in receptions as well as scoring with 30 points. His 70 receptions rank seventh on Cal’s all-time single-season list. Harper also had one of the biggest receiving games in Cal history as a sophomore against Washington State when he recorded career highs of 14 catches and 231 receiving yards, both third on Cal’s all-time single-game list, along with an 89-yard touchdown catch that is the third longest reception in school history.

Harper played in all 12 games with starts in each of the team’s final five contests as a 2012 true freshman, recording 41 catches for 544 yards and two touchdowns to rank second on the team in all three categories. His reception and receiving yards totals were just shy of true freshman records posted by Keenan Allen (46 catches in 2010) and DeSean Jackson (601 receiving yards in 2005).


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