Cal's loaded ... with juniors

If someone told you that three of the top juniors in all of college football will be playing for a Tennessee opponent this fall, you'd probably guess that opponent is Florida ... or LSU ... or maybe Georgia.

Instead, it's the California Golden Bears, the Vols' Game 1 opponent Sept. 1 at Berkeley.

Tom Marino, a noted pro football analyst who writes for, recently posted an article listing the top two juniors at each of the 22 offensive and defensive positions. And, as noted previously, Cal players fill three of those 44 slots.

Rugged Alex Mack, a 6-5, 300-pounder, is listed No. 1 at center. DeSean Jackson, a 6-0, 172-pounder, is listed No. 2 at wide receiver. Worrell Williams, a 6-2, 243-pounder, is listed No. 2 at a linebacker spot.

Mack is on the preseason watch lists for the 2007 Rimington Award (NCAA's top center), the Lombardi Award (top offensive or defensive lineman) and the Outland Trophy (top interior lineman). He recorded 25.5 pancake blocks and 57.5 knockdown blocks last fall en route to first-team All-Pac 10 recognition. He is an Athlon second-team All-American this preseason.

Jackson is rated the No. 1 receiver in college football by Sporting News and is a preseason Playboy All-American. He caught 59 passes for 1060 yards and nine touchdowns last season en route to first-team Associated Press All-America honors. He also won the Randy Moss Award as the NCAA's premier punt return specialist.

Williams, younger brother of Denver Broncos' linebacker D.J. Williams, registered 51 tackles in 2006, with two pass breakups and one interception. He missed most of one game due to illness.

Interestingly enough, Cal has the same number of preseason Junior All-Americans as the 12 Southeastern Conference schools combined. The only SEC juniors to make Marino's list are Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden (1st team), Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens (1st team) and Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey (2nd team).

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