Five More Golden Bears Selected in NFL Draft
April 27, 2008
BERKELEY - Tight end Craig Stevens leads a group of five California football standouts selected on day two of the 2008 NFL Draft on Sunday. That group, combined with DeSean Jackson (second-round pick on day one), gives Cal its largest group of players drafted in seven rounds in school history. In 1977, when the draft included 12 rounds, the Golden Bears also had six selections while the 30-round 1952 draft had 10 Bear selections.
Here is the breakdown of Cal players selected in this year's draft:
DeSean Jackson, 18th pick of second round, No. 49 overall to Philadelphia
Craig Stevens, 22nd pick of third round, No. 85 overall to Tennessee
Thomas DeCoud, 35th pick of third round, No. 98 overall to Atlanta
Lavelle Hawkins, 27th pick of fourth round, No. 126 overall to Tennessee
Mike Gibson, 18th pick of sixth round, No. 184 overall to Philadelphia
Justin Forsett, 26th pick of seventh round, No. 233 to Seattle
California had 36 players active in the NFL in 2007, but interestingly, the Golden Bears did not have any players with the Eagles, the Titans or the Falcons. Forsett will be re-united in Seattle with former teammates Brandon Mebane (defensive tackle, third-round pick last year) and Nu'u Tafisi (defensive end, free-agent selection last year).
Stevens was a three-time all-conference selection and did not miss a game in his Cal career, leading the team with 50 straight appearances to finish his career tied for second all-time in games. An honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection, he earned Cal's Frank J. Schlessinger Coaches Award as the player who demonstrates outstanding athletic ability, academic success and community service. The 6-5, 258-pounder played in this year's East-West Shrine Game and also was selected to attend the NFL Scouting Combine where he impressed scouts with a 4.59 time in the 40-yard dash.
DeCoud anchored the Golden Bear secondary from his free safety position, leading the team with 116 tackles. An honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection, he was voted the team's defensive MVP and had six double-figure tackle games in 2007. The Pinole, Calif., products tallied 49 tackles in the last four games alone. He played in this year's Senior Bowl and was also invited to the Combine.
Hawkins closed his Golden Bear career ranked 10th all-time in receptions (136) and 11th in receiving touchdowns (12) despite playing just thee seasons after transferring. An All-Pac-10 Second Team selection this season, he led the Bears with 72 catches and receiving yards with 872. He also served as Cal's primary kick returner averaging 22.0 yards per return. He was a Senior Bowl standout during practice sessions, earning high-praise for his route-running and pass-catching abilities.
Gibson was a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, at right tackle in 2006 and at left tackle in 2007. He collected the team's Ken Cotton Award as its most courageous player. He was a key part of a superb offensive line which allowed just 11 sacks in 2007 (best in the Pac-10, fourth in the nation). Gibson also had the opportunity to impress scouts post-season, playing in the East-West Shrine Game and participating in the Combine.
Forsett closed his Cal career ranked third in career rushing yards (3,220) and tied for second in career 100-yard games (15), despite starting just 17 career games. His 26 career rushing touchdowns are the fourth-best single-season total at Cal. In 2007, he led the Pac-10 in touchdowns (15, tied for first in a season at Cal) and ranked second in rushing (118.9 yards per game) and earned All-Pac-10 First Team honors.
The Golden Bears posted their sixth straight winning season in 2007, capping the year with a come-from-behind 42-36 triumph over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. The bowl victory was the fourth for Tedford - no other Cal coach has won more than two. It is the first time in program history that Cal has advanced to five straight bowl games and the first time in over 50 years that the Bears have posted six straight winning seasons.
Season tickets for the 2008 Cal Football schedule are currently available by visiting www.CalBears.com or by calling 1-800-GO-BEARS. The Bears open the 2008 season on Aug. 30, hosting Michigan State. Other games on the Cal home slate include the 111th edition of the Big Game vs. Stanford, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona State, Washington and Colorado State.