SACRAMENTO -- Despite all the current Cal tailbacks who came to Berkeley as top recruits, a walk-on who barely played his senior year of high school is making the biggest impact this spring.
Mike Manuel, a transfer from Golden West Community College, has opened the eyes of the coaching staff and is in the mix to be in the playing rotation this fall.
Manuel showed good burst on a 35-yard run during the Bears' first scrimmage of the spring Saturday at Grant High. He also scored on a short touchdown run.
"He continues to impress," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "He runs with great balance. He's very hard to knock off his feet. It's very hard for one guy to bring him down. He runs through tackles. He's solid."
Sophomore Dasarte Yarnway and redshirt freshman Trajuan Briggs each came to Cal with press clippings, but Yarnway is sitting out this spring as he recovers from ACL surgery and Briggs is behind Manuel on the depth chart. Briggs is also battling back from ankle and back injuries. The Bears also have junior Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson, who chose Cal over many suitors out of high school.
Manuel transferred from Carson High to Banning in Southern California for his senior season but was deemed ineligible. Forced to transfer out of the district to play, Manuel wound up at Los Alamitos, where he got into the final three games of the season.
Manuel was ready to sign with Cincinnati before Cal came in late to recruit him.
"(Tedford) just said to work hard and it will handle itself," Manuel said. "You have to come out here and compete every day."
"I've been kind of inconsistent in previous seasons as far as staying healthy," said Calvin, who has 22 career catches. "I just think if I can stay healthy, good things can happen. I definitely have confidence. Plays like (the touchdown catches) reassure me that I still have what I came in here with."
With senior Marvin Jones and sophomore Keenan Allen locked in as starters, Calvin is hoping to make an impact as the team's No. 3 receiver this season.
"That's what I plan on doing, being that No. 3 guy," Calvin said. "I definitely see myself making spectacular plays."
Bridgford finished with three touchdown passes, also connecting with tight end Spencer Ladner for a 15-yard score.