May 11, 2004
BERKELEY, Calif. - Fueling even further optimism for Cal football fans this year, the Golden Bears are ranked No. 14 in the first national preseason magazine Top 25 poll, announced today by Athlon Sports.
The magazine, which will hit newsstands in June, features California's quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the Pac-10 edition cover.
Athlon Sports predicts Jeff Tedford's club to finish second to USC in the conference this fall, with several of the Golden Bear players tabbed with individual preseason honors.
Wide receiver Geoff McArthur, who smashed the school's single-season yardage record in 2003 with 85 receptions and 1,504 yards, was named preseason Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-Pac-10. Rover Donnie McCleskey was accorded Third-Team All-American and First-Team All-Pac-10, while linebacker Wendell Hunter was selected First-Team All-Pac-10.
McArthur, who should shatter Cal's career reception marks this season, has also been listed among the nation's Top 10 preseason Heisman Trophy candidates by both ESPN.com and SportsIllustrated.com. Others to receive preseason notice by Athlon Sports include quarterback Aaron Rodgers and defensive linemen Lorenzo Alexander and Tosh Lupoi, who were all named Second-Team All-Pac-10. Wide receiver Jonathan Makonnen, offensive linemen Jonathan Giesel and Ryan O'Callaghan, and safety Ryan Gutierrez were listed Third-Team All-Pac-10.
By position, Athlon Sports rated Cal's wide receivers as the No. 1 group in the conference and No. 3 in the nation. The magazine also ranked the Bears' quarterbacks No. 2 in the Pac-10 and No. 7 nationally, while Cal's defensive backs were rated No. 2 in the conference.
With the rising enthusiasm surrounding the program, Cal football season tickets are selling briskly this offseason with projections of more than a 30-percent increase from last year. However, plenty of good seat locations remain and can be purchased via CalBears.com or by calling (800) GO BEARS.
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