A YouTube search of Cal freshman Isi Sofele yields some pretty impressive footage from high school.

There's some pretty good stuff of him playing football, too.

Forget the clips of Sofele running circles around the competition at Cottonwood High in Salt Lake City. The top Sofele highlight is a video of him dancing shirtless for his little sisters and cousins while visiting family in Arizona.

"I was just playing around with my little sisters, trying to make them laugh," Sofele said. "My little sisters thought they were funny and put it on YouTube. I just had to put on a little show for them."

Sofele may put on a show for Cal fans someday, and possibly sooner rather than later. Of all of the Bears' incoming freshmen, Sofele has stood out the most so far, mostly because of the explosive speed coming from his compact 5-foot-7, 170-pound frame.

Sofele played running back in high school but is working with the wide receivers so far at Cal. He also is expected to make an impact on special teams, although Jahvid Best is penciled in to return kicks and Syd'Quan Thompson will handle punt return duties this season.

"You see a lot of explosion, a lot of quickness," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "He's very talented, can catch the ball, can run with it, can do a lot of things. He plays at a different speed."


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Tedford said there's a possibility Sofele could contribute as a true freshman.

Some schools may have been scared off by Sofele's lack of size, but he still received a handful of offers from major schools, ultimately picking Cal over Utah and Washington State. The Bears have almost their entire receiving corps back from last season, but Sofele still has earned a handful of first-team reps during the first week of training camp.

"I don't care what people say anymore about my height. I've heard that ever since Little League," Sofele said. "Obviously, I got here with my height. It's not an issue. It's how big your heart is."

Hit and miss

One of the positions Tedford is following closest is fullback, where the Bears need to find somebody to replace underappreciated Will Ta'ufo'ou. Cal is taking a close look at Brian Holley, Will Kapp and John Tyndall, and so far nobody has taken the lead.

"It's hit and miss," Tedford said. "They're doing some good things and then they're busting some other things. That's why we're out here practicing. All those guys really haven't played before, so every day is a learning process for them to feel it out. You get them making all the right decisions, then you let them show their physical abilities."

Extra points

Tedford said he has been pleased with the play of quarterbacks Kevin Riley, Brock Mansion and Beau Sweeney. "The quarterbacks are much improved, even from the spring," Tedford said. Tedford has said he won't name a starter until about 10 days before the Sept. 5 opener against Maryland. ... Cornerback Thompson and linebacker Eddie Young missed practice Wednesday for a team violation but were back on the practice field Thursday. ... Backup tight end Spencer Ladner has been out since Sunday with a pulled hamstring near his tendon. ... Single-game tickets for Cal's game against USC on Oct. 3 are sold out. The only remaining way to purchase tickets for the game is to buy season tickets.

— Jonathan Okanes