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Cal Football

Dynamic Trio Makes Their First Mark

September 7, 2022
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Cal receivers Mavin Anderson, J.Michael Sturdivant and Jeremiah Hunter are part of a new young receiver corps that has Cal fans anxious for big plays filled with anticipation for this season.

6-3/205 redshirt frosh Sturdivant played four seasons of varsity football at Marcus High School in Highland Village, Texas and set a school record for career receptions with 188 catches for 2303 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also competed in track and field in the state finals in the 100 with an impressive 10.39. In Saturday’s win, Sturdivant hauled in his first collegiate catches, with four receptions for 55 yards in the Bears’ win.

“It was cool to go out there with all of the guys,” said Sturdivant. “We’d been training since January last year, watching the guys ahead of us. So it was cool to get out there and have our moment and put on a little bit of a show out there. It was a fun time and we’re looking forward to doing it many more times this season.”

Redshirt soph Hunter is the only one of the trio to have started a game or have a reception heading into the 2022 season. As a redshirt frosh, the 6-2/205 receiver had one start, against Sac State, where he also had his lone touchdown of the season. He was second on the team and the Pac-12 with an average of 18.5 yards per reception (#20 NCAA), and was third on the team with 388 yards receiving on 21 catches. In Saturday’s win, Hunter led the Bears with 6 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown reception as well.

“That’s something we talked about in spring ball,” said Hunter. “We were just thinking about -we knew how good we were as a group- not just the three of us but as a whole. We knew how good we are as a group and felt we could do something special. We were just itching to get out there. We had a little taste on Saturday but we can do a lot better.”

6-0/200 receiver Mavin Anderson saw his first game experience Saturday, hauling in two catches for 12 yards and a touchdown as well as a kick return for 15 yards. The former 4-star prep receiver starred for Mission Viejo High School, totaling 67 receptions for 4018 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns during his two varsity seasons.

“It was a cool experience,” said Anderson of his first start. “All those people watching in a real game situation. It was cool.”

Anderson’s touchdown catch highlighted the special athletic talents of the young trio, where he caught a quick pass on the sideline and managed to avoid two would-be tacklers he sprinted by for his first career TD.

“I turned around and I felt like he was crashing down but he just wasn’t crashing down as hard as I thought,” said Anderson. “I saw him trying to take the angle so I had to break the angle to get into the end zone.”

The offense got off to an atrocious first quarter start where they were unable to convert a single first down, despite taking the opening kickoff but they shook off the early rust to total over 400 yards and 34 points in the final three quarters.

“We got off to a slow start but we were able to come together as a group,” said Sturdivant. “It’s a young group. Not everything always is going to be perfect. So we were able to lean on each other and figure out a way to get the ball moving and get first downs and after that, we were ready to go and we just kept doing it. We just believe in each other and once we got the ball rolling, we were good.”

As productive as the trio was on Saturday, there were several big-play opportunities that narrowly missed.

“Oh definitely,” said Anderson. “I feel like we went out there and did our thing but we’ve got a lot more left to prove. I felt like there was a lot we left on the table but our execution overall was pretty good.”

From the first day of spring ball, it was evident that the trio had a stong connection with new portal transfer QB Jack Plummer, who completed 23-of-35 passes (65.7%) for 268 yards (7.7 ypc) and three TDs with 1 interception in his Cal career opener.

“It’s great,” said Sturdivant of playing with Plummer. “It’s great to have a veteran back there throwing the ball to you and calling the plays. It gives you a lot more confidence going out there on the field knowing that someone like that who’s depending on you to make a play for him and make a play for the offense. It just feels good to be out there starting and running around out there and having a guy that’s been there before to help you and lean back on and push you and have guys like this that push you and help you do the best that you can do.”

“He wants to win and won’t give up on plays,” agreed Anderson. “I feel like it’s more on us to extend those plays for him.”

“He’s a real energy guy,” said Hunter. “He’s like, ‘Let’s go, let’s go!’ He has good energy and I feed off that.”

Receivers coach Burl Toler had some constructive criticism for the trio after the game along with praise for their play.

“Just a lot of little errors and mental mistakes we made,” said Sturdivant. “Like not getting far enough in our reps and not being in game shape. The emphasis this week is to just keep running and make sure we get our depth in (their routes) and play to our potential.”

For favorite plays of the day, Hunter didn’t need to think hard for his favorite moment.

“For me, I would just say the fade ball,” said Hunter. “Two of my people were right over there (seated right by the TD catch). That was one of the greatest things, just being able to show love for my people.”

“It had to be the touchdown,” said Anderson of his TD catch and run. “My parents were right there, too, in DD/E.”

“Mine would probably have to be the puma (route),” said Sturdivant. “It felt good to be able to open it up and run a little bit. Next time I’ve got to get loose on that one.”

As well as the trio played this Saturday, the future is even brighter for the Bears’ talented young receivers.

The Bears will next be in action this Saturday as they take on UNLV at 1 pm at Memorial.

Other stories:

New Contributors Give Bears a Golden Outlook This Season

Ott Wins Pac-12 Freshman of the Week in Cal Debut

 
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