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Early signing day: Cal acquires 10 recruits, makes waves in transfer portal

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Senior Staff

DECEMBER 21, 2022

Even before the clock struck 8 a.m., Cal football had already named several new commits to its 2023 squad. By midday, Cal had added 14 new names to its football roster.

While this year Cal’s recruiting class is ranked No. 83, which makes it the third-lowest among Power 5 programs, Cal managed to secure a number of key transfers.

Perhaps the most exciting high school signee was Nyziah Hunter, the four-star wide receiver who had verbally committed to Cal in June 2022. From Salinas, Hunter had also received offers from other Pac-12 schools including University of Washington and Oregon State, totaling nine offers overall.

Hunter will add his name to the packed Cal wide receiver corps, including the now-household Cal names of J.Michael Sturdivant and Jeremiah Hunter.

He will join newly appointed Jake Spavital’s Cal offense along with several other signees. Three-star Oakland Prep running back Jaivian Thomas will be an addition to a Cal backfield that lost numerous ball-carriers in the transfer portal.

Cal also reeled in tight ends Ben Marshall and Matthew Littlejohn. Marshall received 26 offers, including from Ole Miss and NC State, while Littlejohn turned down offers from schools including Illinois and Utah and was ranked as the No. 53 junior college prospect as well as a top-five safety. They are joined on the team by Frederick Williams III, whose position is yet to be determined, according to head coach Justin Wilcox.

Aside from high school recruits, a huge — and surprising — addition to Cal’s offense comes in Byron Cardwell, previously an Oregon running back and a former four-star recruit. Joining Cal’s freshman star Jaydn Ott, the redshirt sophomore played in 16 games over his first two seasons, rushing for 493 yards and four touchdowns on 72 carries.

On defense, Cal secured five new players from the class of 2023 — three-stars across the board.

In Cade Uluave, ranked No. 21 in National Inside Linebacker Rankings, and Ryan McCulloch, Cal gained two new linebackers. Uluave also received an offer from UCLA, committing to Cal after his visit to both schools last summer.

Lastly, in defensive recruits Cal gained cornerback Sai Vadrawale and defensive lineman Zurich Ashford, both of whom received notable offers including San Jose State and Oregon State, respectively. Alongside Ashford, defensive lineman Tiumalu Afalava also signed with Cal, after declining an offer from No. 1 Georgia.

The blue and gold also signed impressive names in transfers Wednesday morning. Sergio Allen, former Clemson linebacker and four-star as a prospect, announced his commitment to Cal. Allen posted 11 tackles over 16 career games at Clemson, and is a powerful addition to Peter Sirmon’s defense. The rising senior adds his name to other freshly transferred faces on Cal’s defense, Nohl Williams from UNLV and Kaylin Moore from Colorado, in what proves to be a big day for Cal in the transfer portal.

During an early signing period that was lower on exciting high school recruits, Cal football made up for it with huge transfer commits the likes of Rogers and Cardwell, securing experienced talent for both the offense and defense. With more names likely to come, this is a key period for the Cal program.

Contact Maria Kholodova at  or on Twitter


DECEMBER 21, 2022