Jamaal Cherry Rejoins Football Team
Feb. 5, 2001
Berkeley - The Cal football program got a big boost Monday when head coach Tom Holmoe announced that junior Jamaal Cherry has officially re-enrolled in school and has rejoined the Golden Bear football team.
Cherry is a 6-4, 270 pound defensive player who saw extensive playing time at linebacker and on special teams in 1998 and '99. He withdrew from school prior to the beginning of the fall semester a year ago for personal reasons and attended West L.A. Junior College in the Los Angeles area, but did not play football. Because he left Cal in good academic standing, he was able to re-enroll for the current spring semester. He has been auditing classes the past two weeks, but received word from the campus registrar late last week that he was officially enrolled.
Because he had a redshirt season to utilize, he returns to Cal as a true junior with two full years of eligibility remaining. He will make the transition to defensive end where his combination of size and athletic ability will make him an immediate contender for starting duties.
'Jamaal Cherry has a world of talent and he comes back with a lot of motivation,' said Holmoe. 'He's going to be a big factor for our defense. This is a player who has every chance to be in the NFL a couple years down the line. He has that type of physical talent.'
Cherry will work this spring at the rush end position, where his speed and physical stature will make him difficult to block. 'Jamaal has every bit the type of explosiveness that guys like (former Cal players) John McLaughlin and Mawuko Tugbenyoh had, but he's much bigger and stronger. That gives us a great package to work with. The question mark is having him make the transition from linebacker to the down line, but having the spring to work with him will be major advantage.'
Cherry started a pair of games at inside linebacker as a sophomore in 1999, recording 20 tackles, including six behind the line of scrimmage for minus 22 yards. He had four tackles as a true freshman in 1999. He came to Cal from Clark High School in Las Vegas, and was regarded as one of the top recruits in the West in the spring of 1999, turning down overtures from Nebraska and Washington to sign with Cal.