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Golden Nuggets: How's Cal's incoming recruiting class shaping up?

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Who's coming to play for Sonny Dykes and California?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

It's like Christmas Eve for fans of recruiting!

Let's take one last look at how Cal's incoming class is shaping up before things start to become official.

The Bears have commitments from 20 players (including five who signed at mid-year) and, despite taking some substantial hits along the way, they have climbed to No. 43 nationally, according to both Scout.com and Rivals.com.

Rivals ranks Cal's class as the seventh-best in the Pac-12 and Scout has the Bears at No. 8 in the conference.

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Between now and Wednesday, there are three main questions to be answered:

- Can the Bears hold onto Centennial-Corona running back Tre Watson? Washington is making a late push for the 5-foot-9, 185-pounder, who rushed for more than 3,400 yards and scored 48 touchdowns last fall.

- Will the Bears land four-star defensive end Nifae Lealao of Capital Christian in Sacramento. The 6-foot-5, 280-pounder, who is rated as the top DE in the West by Scout and originally committed to Stanford, visited Vanderbilt last weekend.

- Can Cal sneak in and grab four-star defensive tackle Marcus Griffin? Originally committed to Washington State, the Bellevue, Wash., prospect visited Cal, Arizona and Mississippi State the past three weekends. Griffin recently suggested he will wait until signing day to announce his plans.

And thanks to Sports Illustrated, we may finally have some clarity into what happened between Cal and superstar Joe Mixon, who maintained an illogical interest in Cal during his entire recruiting process.

Joe Mixon used to envision playing for Cal. After all, the top-rated all-purpose running back lives in Oakley, Calif., less than an hour from Berkeley. But that was before the Golden Bears fired Jeff Tedford and replaced him with Sonny Dykes, who went 1-11 last season. On Wednesday, the mercurial Mixon is expected to sign with Oklahoma after committing to the Sooners during last month's U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He changed his mind about the Golden Bears after being told by Dykes that he wasn't going to change their pass-happy attack. "That offense that they're running, it's not going to work," Mixon says. "It was a turnoff. I don't see why they're not going to try something new."

So much for that 50-50 balance...

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