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One of the top punters in Cal history transfers to Arizona

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Yes, punters are people too, which means they can transfer as well.

The latest example of what’s a rather rare phenomenon is Dylan Klumph, who announced on Twitter Friday night that he has decided to takes his leave of the Cal football program. Not only that, Klumph revealed his destination — Kevin Sumlin‘s Arizona Wildcats.

The punter will be leaving the Bears as a graduate transfer, giving him immediate eligibility at the Pac-12 school for what will be his final season.

Originally a junior college transfer who redshirted his 2015 season at Cal, Klumph has averaged 43.9 yards per punt the past two years. According to his official Cal bio, he’s the all-time leading punter in the school’s history.

Klumph’s 44.8 yards per punt average in 2016 was second in the conference and good for eighth nationally. This past season, he averaged 43 yards on his 46 punts.

Of his 96 career punts, 29 were placed inside of the 20-yard line and just six went into the end zone for touchbacks.

Illini officially add 27-year-old USC grad assistant as DL coach

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For the most recent hire to his Illinois coaching staff, Lovie Smith decided to go young.  Really, really, really young.

Following up on reports from earlier in the week, the Fighting Illini confirmed that Austin Clark has been hired by Smith as his new defensive line coach. Clark spent the last two seasons as a defensive graduate assistant at USC, working specifically with both the Trojans’ defensive line and linebackers.

At 27 years old — he’ll be 28 in August — Clark is one of the youngest on-field assistants at the FBS level.

“Austin Clark came in for his interview and just blew us away with his enthusiasm and detail,” Smith said in a statement. “He brings an outstanding attitude and high level of energy to our program. Our players are going to love working with Austin. He is extremely detailed and has a plan for each of the guys on the defensive line. Austin gained some great experience in his previous position, and will be a terrific addition to our staff.”

Clark began his coaching career in 2015 as a recruiting assistant at his alma mater Cal, where he played defensive tackle for six injury-plagued years from 2009-14.

Cal’s Cameron Saffle forced to take a medical retirement

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Unfortunately, injury issues have prematurely ended the playing career of one member of the Cal football program.

In a press release Tuesday night, the Golden Bears announced that Cameron Saffle has taken a medical retirement from the sport of football.  While the defensive end’s playing days are over, he will remain at the university as a student on scholarship as well as remain involved with the football team in some capacity.

“Team sports have always been a part of my life since I was a child,” Saffle said as part of his announcement. “Thankfully, I have had outstanding supportive teammates and coaches throughout my life and those relationships have truly helped define me as a person. I love Cal and the academic/athletic family, along with the amazing fans and alumni. I love this storied institution encouraging me to be my best. I am proud to be a Golden Bear and my passion for this school will continue to flourish.”

An undisclosed injury suffered in the 2017 opener against North Carolina sidelined him for the remainder of this past season and effectively ended his career.

In 2016, Saffle started all 12 games for the Bears and was credited with 57 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.  All of those serve as career-highs for the Washington native.  All told, Saffle started 13 of the 21 games in which he played in his truncated Cal career.

“Cameron Saffle is one of the finest individuals I have had the pleasure of coaching,” Cal head coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that he will not be able to continue playing football, but he has an incredibly bright future and will continue to be an important part of our program as he works towards his Cal degree. We will support him in achieving that goal and are looking forward to his ongoing contributions in a new role.”

RB Tre Watson leaving Cal as grad transfer

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Cal lost one of their top running backs to a season-ending injury last year.  Now, they’ve lost him for good.

Tre Watson took to Twitter late Friday night to announce that, “after many months of discussion with my family and lots of prayers,” he has decided to transfer from the Bears.  He will be pursuing a master’s degree elsewhere, meaning he can play for another FBS school in 2018.

The upcoming season will be Watson’s final year of collegiate eligibility.

In a Week 2 win over Weber State this past season, Watson sustained a serious knee injury and didn’t play the rest of the year.  Prior to the injury, Watson’s 83 yards in less than five quarters worth of work this season were leading the team.

In 2016, Watson was second on the Bears in rushing yards with 709 and led the team with four rushing touchdowns.  he finishes the Cal portion of his playing career with 1,390 yards and eight touchdowns on 274 carries.

Peter Sirmon named new DC at Cal

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And now it makes a little more sense.

Earlier Friday, Louisville announced that Peter Sirmon had abruptly stepped down as the defensive coordinator of the Cardinals.  Less than two hours after that confirmation, Cal announced that Sirmon has been hired in the same position with the Bears.

Sirmon will also serve as inside linebackers coach.

“Peter Sirmon shares our vision for Cal football and is an ideal fit for our coaching staff,” head coach Justin Wilcox said in a statement. “I have had the pleasure of working with Peter on previous staffs and understand the value he will bring. Peter is an excellent football coach, a top-notch recruiter and talented in the development of players both on and off the field. He will be an excellent teacher of the game as well as a tremendous mentor for our student-athletes in all aspect of their lives.”

Sirmon just completed his first season with the Cardinals.  In his lone season, the U of L finished 70th in scoring defense (27.4 ppg) and 62nd in total defense (388.1 ypg); in the year prior to arrival, they were 71st (27.1 pp) and 59th (387 ypg), respectively, in those categories.

Prior to the U of L, Sirmon had served as the coordinator at Mississippi State for one season in 2016.

“I’m excited to be joining the University of California and reuniting with Justin Wilcox.” Sirmon said. “We are like-minded in what we believe and in our approaches to both football and life. I’m looking forward to coaching championship football at Cal and helping create the best possible experience for the student-athletes in this program both on and off the field.”