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Cal Football

Four Bears Honored By Pac-12

December 5, 2017
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SAN FRANCISCO – Four Cal players – Devante Downs, Patrick Laird, James Looney and Patrick Mekari – were honorable mention selections on the 2017 All-Pac-12 Football team in a vote of the league's coaches that was announced Tuesday. Looney was chosen honorable mention for the second consecutive season while the others were honored for the first time in their career.
Pac-12 Player of the Year and Coach of the Year honors will be unveiled Tuesday on Inside Pac-12 Football that airs on Pac-12 Networks, Pac-12 Now and Pac-12.com at 3 pm PT.
 
Below are notes from the 2017 season on each of Cal's honorees.

Devante Downs, ILB, 6-3, 245, Sr., 3L, Mountlake Terrace, WA (Mountlake Terrace HS)

• Was making a strong case for National and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors through the first half of his 2017 senior campaign before suffering an injury against Washington State in the seventh contest of the season that ended his collegiate career
• Was on watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Lott IMPACT Trophy both honoring the nation's top defensive player as well as The Butkus Award given annually to the nation's best linebacker. 
• Named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week twice in his first three games after victories over North Carolina and Ole Miss to give the Golden Bears their first two-time winner of the award since Mike Mohamed in 2010
• Despite missing five-plus games finished his senior campaign second on the team with 65 tackles while adding a career-high 5.5 tackles for loss (career-high -29 yards), career-high-tying 3.0 sacks (career-high-tying -14 yards), a career-high-tying and team-high-tying two interceptions that he returned for a career-high 39 yards, a career-high and team-high four quarterback hurries, a career-high and team-high-tying two fumble recoveries that he returned for a career-high four yards and a career-high and team-high-tying two forced fumbles.
• Finished the regular season ranked tied for 23th nationally with two fumble recoveries

Patrick Laird, RB, 6-0, 200, Jr., 1L, Arroyo Grande, CA (Mission Prep HS)

• One of 10 national semifinalists for the Burlsworth Trophy awarded annually to the nation's most outstanding football player who began his career as a walk-on
• A CoSIDA Academic All-District® selection who is also on the ballot for Academic All-America honors
• Played in 11 games with eight starts and set all of his offensive career highs while leading Cal with 191 carries for 1127 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on the ground with averages of 102.5 rushing yards per game and 5.9 yards per rush that rank sixth and seventh among Pac-12 leaders while his yards per game were 28th nationally at the end of the regular season
• Became the 16th Cal player to rush for 1000 yards or more and the first since Daniel Lasco in 2014 while recording the 19th 1,000-yard rushing season in school history with Russell White (3) and Marshawn Lynch (2) the only Cal player to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a season on multiple occasions
• Also had more receptions than any Cal running back since 1988 with career bests of 45 receptions, 322 yards receiving and one touchdown catch as well as a career-best and team-high 1449 all-purpose yards
• Had a team-high-tying 13 explosive plays of 20 or more yards from the line of scrimmage to tie for the team lead including a team-high three plays over 50 yards
• Had five 100-yard rushing games including four in his last five contests when he rushed for 727 yards and four scores over during the stretch including 545 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in his final three contests

James Looney, DE, 6-3, 280, Sr., 2L, Lake Worth, FL (Wake Forest/Lake Worth HS)

• Started all 12 games for the second consecutive season and contributed 41 tackles as well as a career-high 9.5 tackles for loss (career-high -42 yards), a career-high-tying 3.5 sacks (career-high-tying -22 yards), a career high three quarterback hurries, a career-high-tying one forced fumble and a career-high two fumble recoveries
• One of only five players on the team and three on defense to start all 12 contests
• Had at least 1.0 tackle for loss in six of his final seven games

Patrick Mekari, OL, 6-4, 310, Jr., 1L, Westlake Village, CA (Westlake HS)

• Played in and started 10 games at left tackle to set a career-high for both but did not record any statistics other than participation
• Helped protect quarterback Ross Bowers, who became the seventh quarterback in Cal history to throw for over 3,000 yards at the end of the regular season ranked among Pac-12 and national leaders in completions per game (22.67 cpg, 3rd Pac-12, 14th NCAA), passing yards (3039, 4th Pac-12, 23rd NCAA), passing yards per game (253.3 ypg, 4th Pac-12, 30th NCAA) and passing TDs (18, 4th Pac-12, 40th NCAA)
• Helped open holes for running back Patrick Laird, who became the first Cal player to rush for over 1,000 yards since 2014 and at the end of the regular season ranked seventh in the Pac-12 and among national leaders in rushing yards per game (102.5 ypg, 29th NCAA), rushing yards per carry (5.9, 32nd NCAA) and total rushing yards (1127, 34th NCAA)
• Started the first seven and last three contests while missing two games in between due to an injury

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