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Cal's Stefan McClure eager to get back on field

LOS ANGELES -- It was a long road back for Cal defensive back Stefan McClure. Sitting out all of 2012 because of a torn ACL, MCL and meniscus at the end of 2011 campaign, McClure got out to a pretty good start in 2013. He had amassed 30 tackles and was one of the early bright signs on a young and struggling Cal defense.

And then it happened again. A meniscus injury suffered against Washington State in the fifth game of the season sidelined him for the rest of the year. Thirty tackles would have to do for 2013.

[Related: Cal QB, 49er fan Jared Goff excited to play at Levi's Stadium]

“It was very frustrating and disappointing that I had to repeat that process of getting surgery and then having to rehab back,” McClure said Wednesday at Pac-12 Football Media Day. “I had to rehab to where I was and then get stronger and faster than that, so it was very disappointing.”

Luckily, the injury McClure suffered against Washington State last October isn’t as serious as the one he dealt with at the end of his freshman season. While he says he isn’t 100 percent yet, he’ll be ready to go by the time training camp starts in August.

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“I’m feeling strong, feeling fast and feeling ready to go,” said McClure, who is working on his strength, explosion and footwork for his switch from cornerback to safety. “I want to get out there early in camp to start making tackles just to see how the body feels with practice every day and getting back out there in the pads and getting into the swing of things.”

A healthy McClure will be a major boost to a Cal defense that was banged up all of 2013. He also will be a veteran presence in a locker room that hopes to be cheery more than just once after a game in 2014.

[Related: Sonny Dykes on Pac-12 Networks' Football Media Day Special]

“He has been a really solid player for us. He’s just a solid person. He’s very consistent in his approach and the way he handles being a student and being an athlete,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “He’s a really tough kid, competitive kid, somebody that we can rely on, somebody that’s very popular with his teammates and everybody has a lot of respect for him and the way he conducts himself.”

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