California Golden Bears Position Preview: Specialists


Before the football season starts, lets look at how the California Golden Bears are doing at each position entering the spring, and see where there are potential position battles. With a squad that’s returning 17 of 22 starters from a year ago, we might not see a lot of new faces in the starting lineup, but it doesn’t hurt to know who’s new, and who’s backing up those 17 returning starters.

A Year Ago…

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There wasn’t much that was special about Cal’s special teams last season. Senior placekicker James Langford made all but one of his PAT’s last season, and made 11 of 17 field goals with a season long of 47 yards. Langford also served as California’s main kickoff specialist, rotating occasionally with starting punter, Cole Leininger, a junior who averaged 39.8 yards per punt last season.

However, the big surprise last season, in regards to special teams, was the unexpected production of junior wide receiver Trevor Davis in the return game. Last season, he returned two kickoffs back for touchdowns in the same game against Washington State, and averaged 32.6 yards per return for the  year.

Saying Goodbye: 

  • John Sheperdson, 6-3, 220 – Long Snapper
  • James Langford, 6-3, 215, Place Kicker

New Faces:

  • Dylan Klumph, 6-3, 230, Place Kicker
  • Harry Adolphus, 6-1, 175, Place Kicker/Punter
  • Franklyn Cervenka, 5-10, 170, Place Kicker

Current Roster:

  • Bradley Northnagel, Jr, 6-3, 255, Long Snapper
  • Cole Leininger, Sr, 6-1, 200, Punter
  • Dylan Klumph, So, 6-3, 230, Punter/Place Kicker
  • Harry Adolphus, Jr, 6-1, 175, Place Kicker/Punter
  • Matt Anderson, So, 5-11, 185, Place Kicker
  • Franklyn Cervenka, Jr, 5-10, 170, Place Kicker
  • Robbie McInerny, So, 5-10, 175, Place Kicker
  • Noah Beito, Jr, 6-0, 190, Place Kicker/Punter

2015 Preview: 

Nov 9, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears long snapper John Sheperdson (69) snaps the ball the kicker Noah Beito (19) for a punt against the USC Trojans during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. The USC Trojans defeated the California Golden Bears 62-28. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In 2015, the Cal Bears’ specialists look to be much improved. Punter Leininger returns for his senior season with a career average of 41 yards per punt. Veteran long snapper Bradley Northnagel also returns to a fairly experienced group of special teamers that hopes to be as solid this season as they were last year.

Davis will be the Bears main return option again, just like last season, and looks to be one of the better kick returners in the nation. He is incredibly capable of setting up the Bear’s explosive offense with good field position.

For quarterback Jared Goff and the rest of the Golden Bears Offense, this is key. Not only do the Bears need Davis’s production as a wideout, but they also need good field position after kick returns and punt returns out of Davis, making him one of the more important players this season for the Golden Bears.

And finally, the Golden Bear’s Place Kicker is the one position that is truly up for grabs this season. Last season, Langford served as the main place kicker, and was fairly mediocre all season. With Langford gone, the Bears are looking for a better, more consistent kicker this off season, and so far, to no avail. JUCO transfer Dylan Klumph figures to compete for the starting job this season, as well as returners Noah Beito, Matt Anderson, and Robbie McInerny.

Techically speaking, Beito is the most experienced of the bunch, and has had the advantage of working with the coaching staff the longest, but so far this spring, Beito has mostly worked with the punting units along with Leininger. All of that leaves Anderson, McInerny, and Klumph as the most likely to win the job.

With the season fast approaching, expect Head Coach Dykes to make his final decision close to the season opener, as the place kicking competition might be the most wide open on the entire roster.

Next: California Golden Bears Position Preview: Offensive Lineman