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Golden Bears Bolster Roster With Sizable Haul in Portal

Golden Bears bolster roster
© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

With the college football season quickly approaching, the California Golden Bears will soon see some monumental firsts. The 2024 season will be the first the Golden Bears will play in a non-West Coast conference in the program's 108-season history.

Along with moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Golden Bears welcomed eight players from the transfer portal this past week. With the additions, the 2024 recruiting class for the Golden Bears currently sits at 38 athletes with 21 coming in from the transfer portals and 17 coming directly from the high school ranks.

Golden Bears' Bolstered Roster

This week coach Justin Wilcox and the Golden Bears bolstered their roster and welcomed T.J. Bollers, a redshirt junior defensive lineman from Wisconsin, Corey Dyches, a fifth-year senior tight end from Maryland, Kyion Grayes, a redshirt sophomore wide receiver from Ohio State, Liam Johnson, a fifth-year senior linebacker from Princeton, Will McDonald, a redshirt senior offensive lineman from Coastal Carolina, Braden Miller, a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman from Michigan State, Serigne Tounkara, a redshirt freshman from Missouri, and Jasiah Wagoner, a sophomore defensive back from Oklahoma.

Addressing both sides of the ball, Wilcox and his staff added both young depth pieces as well as veterans to compete for starting roles.

On offense, Dyches comes for his fifth year after a career-best 49 receptions in 2023 for Maryland. He ranked fourth among tight ends at the FBS level. He is also in the middle of a 25-game streak with at least a reception and 10 games with at least 4 receptions. With a career total of 107 receptions for 1,193 yards and 9 touchdowns he will be a great target for the quarterback—either Chandler Rogers or Fernando Mendoza.

Also on offense, the battle begins in the trenches, and adding McDonald, 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds, and Miller, 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, to their ranks will help an offense that had its share of struggles in 2023. The team also adds a dynamic receiver in Grayes who, after two seasons in Columbus, Ohio, is looking for a fresh start with the Bears. Despite being limited to 15 games in high school, he was the nation's No. 8 receiver in the 2022 recruiting class.

Golden Bears bolster roster
© Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

On defense, the team bolstered the trenches again with the addition of Bollers from Wisconsin. Having primarily played on special teams, Bollers, 6-foot-2 and 290 pounds, adds versatility to the defense. A change of scenery could be what's needed for Bollers to take the next step.

Wilcox and his staff also added linebackers Johnson and Tounkara to their ranks, giving the team a veteran in Johnson and a younger depth/rotational piece in Tounkara. Johnson comes over from Princeton where he was a ball hawk finishing his time at Princeton with 177 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles and 2 fumble recoveries, all in 29 career games. Tounkara began his career at Missouri but redshirted in his lone season (2023). Despite spending time at two different high schools, he was ranked as the nation's No. 52 defensive lineman in the 2023 recruiting class. He does show good hand usage and an ability to finish his tackles working well against the run.

The team also added Wagoner from Oklahoma who played in seven games as a true freshman. Playing on offense and defense in high school, he had 96 receptions for 1,421 yards and 17 touchdowns while racking up 120 tackles and 7 interceptions. He was ranked the No. 31 cornerback in the 2023 recruiting class (247Sports).

Early Road Tests

The players added should help in all aspects of the game for coach Wilcox and the Golden Bears as they begin ACC play and look to improve on their 6-7, seventh-place Pac-12 Conference finish in 2023. The season for Cal begins at 11 a.m. EST on Aug. 31 against UC Davis. The 2024 season will be a test for the Golden Bears with early road games at Auburn (Sept. 7) and at Florida State (Sept. 21) to open conference play.


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