Donnie McCleskey
Donnie McCleskey

Player Profile
Chino Hills, Calif.

High School:
Bishop Amat

Height / Weight:
5-10 / 190

Defensive Back


Interdisciplinary Studies

Signed with the NFL's Chicago Bears ... a second-team All-Pac-10 choice as a senior ... finished his career in eighth place on Cal's career list with 258 tackles ... also tied for third all-time with 25 pass break-ups ... rebounded from an injury-plagued junior season with a standout senior campaign.

2005: Finished second on the team with 73 tackles ... led the defensive backs with 8.5 tackles for loss ... had 2.5 tackles for 10 yards in losses against Stanford ... had 10 tackles against Illinois ... forced a fumble against Oregon State and picked off a pass against the Beavers that he returned for 27 yards ... forced a fumble and broke up two passes against UCLA ... recorded a season-high 11 stops vs. BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl ... voted Cal's defensive MVP by his teammates ... also received the Stub Allison Award (most inspirational player) and served as the defensive team captain.

2004: Suffered a shoulder injury early in the year, missing the Oregon State game, but returning to play in every game thereafter despite being less than 100 percent ... started at rover for two games before assuming reserve duties ... ranked seventh on the team in tackles with 38, 27 of them unassisted ... registered 2.0 sacks, good for 14 yards, and 3.5 tackles for loss (17 yards) ... paramount tackle performance came in the Holiday Bowl, where he bagged seven stops to tie Ryan Gutierrez for team-high honors and also broke up one pass ... tallied three games of six tackles, with 11 of those 18 tackles unassisted ... broke up five passes and recovered a fumble (returning it 14 yards vs. UCLA) ... named preseason third team All-America and first team All-Pac-10 by Athlon Sports ... sat out spring practice rehabbing from knee surgery performed on Jan. 9,

2003 Earned All-Pac-10 first team accolades after breaking Cal's defensive back record for tackles (102) and leading all conference DBs in total tackles, sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (12 for 49 yards) ... the 102 stops were the most tackles by any Cal player in 10 years (Jerrott Willard, 147 in 1993) ... teammates voted him Most Valuable Defensive Player, an award rarely given to a true sophomore ... served as one of the club's two defensive captains ... his 5.5 sacks also set a Cal record for defensive backs, eclipsing the old mark of three by cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (the Raiders' first-round draft pick in '03) ... his 102 tackles not only led the 2003 defense, but also ranked 13th most in school history ... shared club lead in interceptions (two), while his 13 passes broken up ranked 11th in the Pac-10 (0.93 per game) and tied for second most on the Bears' single-season chart.

2002: Made remarkable transformation from high school running back to starting defensive back at Cal as a true freshman in 2002 ... inserted into the Bears' lineup midway through his maiden season, he blossomed into one of the Pac-10's premier freshmen as a starting rover ... in starting the final seven games of the season, averaged 5.4 tackles during that stretch, including exquisite road performances at USC (7 tackles), Washington (6) and Oregon State (6) ... Cal's fifth-leading tackler overall with 30 solo stops and 15 assisted tackles ... also broke up five passes (third on the club) and contributed three tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery ... returned three kickoffs for 28 yards ... played in all 12 games, coming off the bench in the first five contests ... named to the freshman All-Pac-10 team ... received the Bob Simmons Award, signifying the Most Valuable Freshman on the squad.

High School: Named Los Angeles Times San Gabriel Valley Region Player of the Year ... rushed for 2,236 yards and 29 touchdowns, and caught 11 passes for 331 yards (30.1 avg.) and three TDs as senior at Bishop Amat High ... also piled up 55 tackles at strong safety ... named Del Rey League MVP in both '00 and '01 and earned second team all-state in 2001 ... named to SuperPrep's 2001 preseason All-Far West team ... earned Cal Hi Sports second team all-state notice ... rated him No. 11 among West Coast running backs ... played in the Los Angeles Shrine All-Star Game after his senior year.

Personal: His older brother, Coree Thomas, played football at Saint Mary's College ... mother is Rachel Walker ... interdisciplinary studies major.

McCleskey's Career Defensive Stats

2002 12-7 38-7-45 3-11 0-0 0/1 51-0
2003 14-14 75-27-102 12-49 5.5-31 0/0 112-0
2004 11-2 27-11-38 3-16 2-14 1/0 50-0
2005 12-12 52-21-73 8.5-25 2-14 2/0 51-27
Totals 49-35 192-66-258 26.5-101 10.5-63 3/1 254-27