Dave Wilkerson wants to carry the torch for Cal's fractured incoming linebacker class. It looks like he'll be carrying it sooner rather than later.

He's one of only two linebackers left in training camp out of the five who signed in February. Coach Jeff Tedford has already said Wilkerson will not redshirt and will be in the playing rotation this season.

"He's physical," Tedford said. "High school kids, when they come in, mentally, physically and emotionally have to be ready to play. The physical part of it is definitely there for him. He can do a lot of things, on special teams and on defense."

Wilkerson was rated as one of the top 10 inside linebackers in the country coming out of Monte Vista High. He was supposed to be joined at Cal by Chris Martin and Cecil Whiteside. Martin was rated as the No. 1 outside linebacker in the nation by scout.com but transferred to Florida before camp began. Whiteside was ranked the No. 10 outside linebacker by ESPN but is grayshirting, meaning he won't enroll at Cal until the spring.

Another recruit, Chris McCain, also is grayshirting.

"It's annoying," Wilkerson said. "We were coming in, we all talked to each other and were excited about it. We were ready to go. Everything just kind of went downhill. You can't let that faze you. You just have to play."


Advertisement

Wilkerson and Nick Forbes, rated the No. 2 inside linebacker nationally by rivals.com, are the only two linebackers from the class of 2010 in camp. Forbes has a good chance to play this season, as well.

Although recruited as an inside linebacker, Wilkerson has been moved outside because the Bears are thin at that position.

"The depth at the outside backer wasn't great," Tedford said. "When you look at the guys we had available to go out there, he was the best fit. He'll play outside and maybe later on in his career move inside. But right now, that's the fastest way to get him on the field."

  • The Bears held their first "live" practice Wednesday, the closest thing they have to a scrimmage. Cal held a handful of veterans out so the staff could get a better evaluation of the younger players. Tedford said he was pleased with the incoming receivers who are expected to contribute immediately -- Keenan Allen, Kaelin Clay, Coleman Edmond and Tevin Carter. "The mental mistakes were at a minimum. That's what you look for right now," Tedford said. "We feel pretty good about their ability to make plays. But when you're that young and you have the whole offense being installed, it can be easy to get confused."

  • Tedford said Mychal Kendricks and Keith Browner have earned starting roles at outside linebacker.