Per a Cal representative, GoldenBearReport has learned that five former walk-ons on the Cal roster have earned scholarships for the 2017 season. Redshirt juniors Patrick Laird and Kyle Wells, and redshirt seniors Fabiano Hale, De'Zhon Grace, and Jacob Anderson, have been placed on scholarship.
Laird and Wells have played big roles on the offense early in the fall, with Laird likely the third running back, behind Tre Watson and Vic Enwere, while Wells has moved into the backup tight end role behind Ray Hudson.
Laird came into the program as a walk-on, earning county player of the year honor in high school after rushing for 3117 yards as a HS senior, with 32 touchdowns. He also recovered an onside kick a year ago to start the Bears season against Hawaii.
Wells has developed into a big body TE, measuring in at 6'3" and 245 lbs. In a year where more tight ends are being used, Wells has separated from the pack behind Hudson, getting open over the middle.
Hale came on as a running back out of high school, but has been at the fullback spot in the new offensive scheme. Most of his playing time has been on special teams, which is where he'll make a mark this fall.
Grace, a former Bishop O'Dowd standout and transfer from Willamette, has also been a standout on special teams, with 54 ST snaps over the final four games of 2016, and is currently listed as 3rd string at one of the safety spots.
Anderson earned a bunch of playing time a year ago due to injuries and a solid fall camp performance. The Golden West College transfer recorded nine tackles with a pass breakup and .5 TFL (-1 yard) against Washington state a year ago as he played in 10 games off the bench. He has also been a special teams standout for the Bears, taking 120 ST snaps a year ago.
This puts the Bears at 84 of their 85 scholarship limit for 2017