Cal coach Justin Wilcox on Monday announced the names of nine Bears players who won’t play in the Dec. 30 Redbox Bowl against Illinois. Three of them are starters and a fourth was expected to start in the bowl game.
Wilcox had announced a week ago that redshirt-senior safety Ashtyn Davis will not play in the Redbox Bowl after undergoing a minor surgical procedure.
However, the other eight names were new. The key players who won’t play in the Redbox bowl are starting wide receiver Jordan Duncan, starting outside linebacker Tevin Paul and safety Trey Turner III, who was projected to start in Davis’ absence.
The other five who won’t play are redshirt freshman safety Isaiah Humphries, who has not played this season after transferring from Penn State; freshman outside linebacker Myles Jernigan, redshirt-freshman cornerback Jalen Martin, freshman outside linebacker Curley Young Jr. and freshman cornerback Miles Williams.
Wilcox provided no explanation for the absences or whether any was injury-related.
---Jordan Duncan had been “excused” from the team to handle some personal matters, so his absence for the bowl is not unexpected.
He has been a starter the past two seasons, and he ranks second on the team in receptions (25), receiving yards (364), and touchdown catches (two).
Cal has pretty good depth at the wide receiver position, particularly since Kekoa Crawford, who missed seven games with injuries this season, is expected to be available for the bowl game. He leads the team in receiving yards per game at 48.6.
Nikko Remigio is the Bears’ leading receiver and he was especially productive in the final two regular-season games, when he had 14 catches for 215 yards.
Trevon Clark is the Bears’ third-leading receiver, and made some clutch catches late in the season.
Here is a video of Wilcox talking about possible replacements, starting with safety Daniel Scott. (More information on the absent starters and possible replacements follows below.)
---Tevin Paul played in 11 games this season and was a starting outside linebacker in all 11. He was particularly effective as a pass-rusher. He has 28 tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks, which ranks second on the team.
Ben Hawk Schrider might replace Paul in the starting lineup, depending on the alignment the Bears use. Schrider, a Berkeley resident who transferred to Cal for his final season, has had considerable playing time this season. He has 18 tackles this season, including two for losses and one sack.
Wilcox mentions in the video below that freshmen Braxten Croteau and Orin Patu could get playing time at outside linebacker, and Zeandae Johnson could move from defensive end to a standup outside linebacker spot in some situations.
---Trey Turner III played in all 12 games and was a starter at safety against Stanford when Davis was sidelined. He was expected to start in the Redbox Bowl, but obviously that won’t be the case. This season, Turner has 32 tackles, four pass breakups and one forced fumble.
Daniel Scott might be the starting safety against Illinois, although Wilcox mentioned in the video below that starting cornerback Elijah Hicks might move to safety. Even cornerback Camryn Bynum, the Bears' best cover man, could see time at safety.
The Bears have several players who could play cornerback, including Traveon Beck, who is usually the starting nickel back, third-year sophomore Braden Smith and redshirt freshman Chigozie Anusiem, who had some good moments in the win over UCLA in the regular-season finale.
Wilcox notes in the video below that Evan Tattersall will be available to play in the bowl game. Tattersall was taken off the field in a stretcher during the Nov. 16 game against USC.
Apparently no Cal player is sitting out the bowl to protect his NFL Draft status. Ashtyn Davis and Evan Weaver are the only Cal players expected to be taken in the spring draft, although safety Jaylinn Hawkins has an outside shot of being taken. Cornerback Cam Bynum has yet to decide whether he will enter the 2020 NFL Draft or return to Cal for his final season of college eligibility.
Here is Cal's depth chart for the Redbox Bowl: