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Cal Football

Bears Add Tennessee Portal Transfer RB Justin Williams-Thomas

January 8, 2023
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The Bears added former Tennessee redshirt frosh running back Justin Williams-Thomas‍ today in a bit of a surprise move, scooping up the Stanford commit a week before the spring enrollment deadline.

The former high 4 star running back from Dallas, Georgia played in three games this season, totaling 37 yards in 11 carries, retaining his redshirt season so he’ll have 4 seasons to play 4.

As a senior, the 6-0/210 running back gained 1,956 yards on the ground and 190 more through the air, adding 15 touchdowns for the season. He was a consensus 4 star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class, signing with Tennessee last December after fielding offers from Auburn, Michigan, USC and more before signing with the Volunteers.

After the departure of running backs Damien Moore, Chris Street and DeCarlos Brooks, the Bears added both Williams-Thomas and former Oregon running back Byron Cardwell‍ -one of their primary 2021 running back targets to the running back room, joining frosh star Jaydn Ott‍, giving the Bears a potent 1-2-3 punch in the backfield in 2023.

After committing to Stanford as a portal transfer two weeks ago, the Bears were able to earn a visit from the talented frosh this weekend to secure his commitment and flip to Cal. Williams-Thomas is one of 7 portal transfers to date for the Bears, in addition to 9 prep early signees and 1 JC transfer. All 7 portal transfers will be spring enrollees next week.

Stay tuned for more from the latest commit as available.

Related:

Bears Pick up Another Portal Transfer Addition in OSU TE Byrne

Bears Pull in Commit From 4 Star Soph RB Jojo Solis

Discussion from...

Bears Add Tennessee Portal Transfer RB Justin Williams-Thomas

12,963 Views | 29 Replies | Last: 18 days ago by tequila4kapp
tequila4kapp
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With Cardwell and JWT both bring portal entrants they aren't leaving early and our RB is sick for the next few years.
89Bear
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Running Back U!!!!
Marshawn is smiling.
Grrrrah76
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Three 4* running backs. Upgrade quarterback and oline next two weeks. Go Bears.
Econ141
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Boy I sure hope this add is not hinting at an Ott transfer for NIL $$$. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer. This guy seems legit so happy for that but I am starting to expect the worst.
MoragaBear
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Staff
Never say never but Ott was fine with the transfer in advance of the commitment and has said he's happy staying put and is happy with the NIL opportunities here.

They lost 3 RBs and are bringing in 2 to replace them.
Goobear
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Justin W. Thomas wishing you and your family the best of success on and off the field! Welcome to Cal Football. Go Bears!
calumnus
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I'm counting on Spavital to get these guys on the field and get the ball in their hands as slot receivers.
4thGenCal
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MoragaBear said:

Never say never but Ott was fine with the transfer in advance of the commitment and has said he's happy staying put and is happy with the NIL opportunities here.

They lost 3 RBs and are bringing in 2 to replace them.
Jaydn - very happy at Cal. And yes to being the 'Face of Cal" Just recorded Straight A's this past semester. He is key toward flipping the past culture to one more of football focus, toughness and commitment. With the result hopefully being the best the team can be (has lead several recruiting visits etc). The superlatives about him are accurate on and off the field.
stanfurdbites
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You are the Debbie downer in every single one of your posts
calumnus
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MoragaBear said:

Never say never but Ott was fine with the transfer in advance of the commitment and has said he's happy staying put and is happy with the NIL opportunities here.

They lost 3 RBs and are bringing in 2 to replace them.


Plus The Jet
MoragaBear
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calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

Never say never but Ott was fine with the transfer in advance of the commitment and has said he's happy staying put and is happy with the NIL opportunities here.

They lost 3 RBs and are bringing in 2 to replace them.

Plus The Jet
Strictly talking portal movement
calumnus
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MoragaBear said:

calumnus said:

MoragaBear said:

Never say never but Ott was fine with the transfer in advance of the commitment and has said he's happy staying put and is happy with the NIL opportunities here.

They lost 3 RBs and are bringing in 2 to replace them.

Plus The Jet
Strictly talking portal movement


Understood, just expanding it to roster movement.

RB is our deepest position.
Big C
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stanfurdbites said:

You are the Debbie downer in every single one of your posts

What you write is true, but it's hard not to see this as at least "insurance", if not more. I mean, just read those tea leaves...
MoragaBear
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Big C said:

stanfurdbites said:

You are the Debbie downer in every single one of your posts

What you write is true, but it's hard not to see this as at least "insurance", if not more. I mean, just read those tea leaves...
Hard to see it as at least insurance after 3 RBs transferred out?
Big C
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Oh, I can see why we want to have three RBs that we can play. I'm all for it. The thing is, what 4-star guy transfers to somewhere to be the third running back? (I mean, besides Austin Jones... )
MoragaBear
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Staff
Big C said:


Oh, I can see why we want to have three RBs that we can play. I'm all for it. The thing is, what 4-star guy transfers to somewhere to be the third running back? (I mean, besides Austin Jones... )
Who says he thinks he'll be third?
Big C
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MoragaBear said:

Big C said:


Oh, I can see why we want to have three RBs that we can play. I'm all for it. The thing is, what 4-star guy transfers to somewhere to be the third running back? (I mean, besides Austin Jones... )
Who says he thinks he'll be third?

True, any 4-star running back probably has the confidence to think he'll start. But JWT is the third to arrive, following two otther guys. Barring injury, we got Ott, Cardwell and Williams-Thomas: Somebody has to be third.

Well, Spav can do some creative things, so who knows...

Again, don't get me wrong, I'm really glad he chose Cal; it's just that, looking at this, it's natural for a Cal fan who's been around the block a few times to think we wanted bring in somebody else because we were expecting to lose somebody else. If we start the fall with all three of those guys, that's great.
WalterSobchak
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This might be my favorite tweet of all time...

BearBones
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Welcome to the Cal family Justin. You will not regret your decisions. You are joining a great bunch of guys committed to excellence. And when your playing days are done, your Cal degree will be solid gold.

I have to say that the Cal coaches and players are doing a great job bringing in quality transfers.
heartofthebear
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MoragaBear said:

Never say never but Ott was fine with the transfer in advance of the commitment and has said he's happy staying put and is happy with the NIL opportunities here.

They lost 3 RBs and are bringing in 2 to replace them.
Brooks
Street
Moore
Hayes
equals 4
Bearly Clad
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Big addition for the program, congratulations to you and your family and welcome to Bear Territory Justin! Expecting big things from you on and off the field!!
mbBear
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Big C said:

MoragaBear said:

Big C said:


Oh, I can see why we want to have three RBs that we can play. I'm all for it. The thing is, what 4-star guy transfers to somewhere to be the third running back? (I mean, besides Austin Jones... )
Who says he thinks he'll be third?

True, any 4-star running back probably has the confidence to think he'll start. But JWT is the third to arrive, following two otther guys. Barring injury, we got Ott, Cardwell and Williams-Thomas: Somebody has to be third.

Well, Spav can do some creative things, so who knows...

Again, don't get me wrong, I'm really glad he chose Cal; it's just that, looking at this, it's natural for a Cal fan who's been around the block a few times to think we wanted bring in somebody else because we were expecting to lose somebody else. If we start the fall with all three of those guys, that's great.
Well, to the extent there is a 1A, 1B...or even A, B, and C, with all getting 12-15 carries. But also W-T has 4 years remaining...there is a long game here (I know, not heard much in the Portal world) but if Ott left after 3 years, he would still have 2 years remaining....
GivemTheAxe
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Big C said:

MoragaBear said:

Big C said:


Oh, I can see why we want to have three RBs that we can play. I'm all for it. The thing is, what 4-star guy transfers to somewhere to be the third running back? (I mean, besides Austin Jones... )
Who says he thinks he'll be third?

True, any 4-star running back probably has the confidence to think he'll start. But JWT is the third to arrive, following two otther guys. Barring injury, we got Ott, Cardwell and Williams-Thomas: Somebody has to be third.

Well, Spav can do some creative things, so who knows...

Again, don't get me wrong, I'm really glad he chose Cal; it's just that, looking at this, it's natural for a Cal fan who's been around the block a few times to think we wanted bring in somebody else because we were expecting to lose somebody else. If we start the fall with all three of those guys, that's great.


I have been watching Cal football a long long time. IMO 3 good running backs are a necessity. Year in and year out our running backs take some heavy hits. They need to cycle in and cycle out to give each other a rest. At least one and often two will miss significant playing time due to injuries.
I remember Cal football posters that highlighted all three KEY running backs for that season.
CalFanatic
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I've been pretty out of loop here the past few weeks. However, i've read a ton of positive news re: new coaches, quality transfers...seems like we are on track for a winning record at this point, no? Am I missing something?
6956bear
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GivemTheAxe said:

Big C said:

MoragaBear said:

Big C said:


Oh, I can see why we want to have three RBs that we can play. I'm all for it. The thing is, what 4-star guy transfers to somewhere to be the third running back? (I mean, besides Austin Jones... )
Who says he thinks he'll be third?

True, any 4-star running back probably has the confidence to think he'll start. But JWT is the third to arrive, following two otther guys. Barring injury, we got Ott, Cardwell and Williams-Thomas: Somebody has to be third.

Well, Spav can do some creative things, so who knows...

Again, don't get me wrong, I'm really glad he chose Cal; it's just that, looking at this, it's natural for a Cal fan who's been around the block a few times to think we wanted bring in somebody else because we were expecting to lose somebody else. If we start the fall with all three of those guys, that's great.


I have been watching Cal football a long long time. IMO 3 good running backs are a necessity. Year in and year out our running backs take some heavy hits. They need to cycle in and cycle out to give each other a rest. At least one and often two will miss significant playing time due to injuries.
I remember Cal football posters that highlighted all three KEY running backs for that season.
It is more than just having some depth. It is about the quality of the depth and what that does to the offense when they play. No offense to Moore and Brooks but the offense definitely took a step back in explosiveness when Ott was off the field.

These 2 (Cardwell and Williams-Thomas) are potentially more explosive than the players they are replacing.
DoubtfulBear
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Hopefully we can announce a QB and OL starters soon
Big C
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CalFanatic said:

I've been pretty out of loop here the past few weeks. However, i've read a ton of positive news re: new coaches, quality transfers...seems like we are on track for a winning record at this point, no? Am I missing something?

QB and OL. This story is still being written, though. Hoping for the best.
dimitrig
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CalFanatic said:

I've been pretty out of loop here the past few weeks. However, i've read a ton of positive news re: new coaches, quality transfers...seems like we are on track for a winning record at this point, no? Am I missing something?

A quarterback.

Edit: Jinx with post above this.



tequila4kapp
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CalFanatic said:

I've been pretty out of loop here the past few weeks. However, i've read a ton of positive news re: new coaches, quality transfers...seems like we are on track for a winning record at this point, no? Am I missing something?
We have added pieces that are better fits with the new O system at TE and we have added a lot of talent in the RB room. We are anxiously awaiting news on QB's and OT's. We are down one stud in the WR room but hope that overall quality and depth at the position will minimize the effect of the loss.

On D we really helped the DB room a lot with 3 incoming transfers and we added a 4* Clemson linebacker to hopefully offset the loss of Femi.

At this point QB and OL is where it is at.
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