Aug. 11, 1997
Cal's Kunkle Has Knee Scoped, Harris Has Hernia
BERKELEY, Calif. - The Cal coaching staff will have to wait a few weeks before they'll get a chance to view the skills of new tight end A.J. Kunkle, a transfer from Santa Rosa CC who was expected to contend for starting duties.
Kunkle is enrolled at summer school at Cal but has not yet worked out with the football team. He has been bothered by a sore right knee for the past two months and the decision was made earlier this week to perform arthoscopic surgery on the knee. That procedure was done on Wednesday and a small tear in the meniscus was repaired.
It is anticipated that he will be able to return to workouts in a three-to-four week span. His status for the Cal opener at Houston on September 6 is questionable, but he certainly is expected back in full health by Cal's second game on Sept. 20 against Oklahoma.
Kunkle is expected to be a big part of the Cal passing game as his 4.6 speed in the 40 and natural athletic skills figure to make him a valuable pass receiving threat from the tight end position. His absence during the early part of fall camp may accelerate the development of incoming freshman tight end Corey Smith from Galt HS. Smith was ranked one of the Top 10 prep tight ends in the country last season and figures to develop into one of the top tight ends in Cal history before his career is over.
Others in the hunt for substantial playing time at the tight end position are a trio of redshirt-freshmen, Reed Diehl, Brian Surgener and Ryan Horning.
In other injury news, JC transfer Drae Harris, who was expected to challenge for playing time at cornerback, is undergoing surgery on Tuesday (Aug. 12) to repair a hernia and will be out of action for three-to-four weeks. He is doubtful for the season-opener but should be able to return for the Sept. 20 home opener vs. Oklahoma.
Incoming freshman offensive tackle Doug Styles has a shoulder injury and will likely undergo arthoscopic surgery. Incoming freshman defensive back Dewey Hale has a fractured tibia and fibula and will not play this season. Both Styles and Hale are likely candidates to redshirt this season as neither were expected to bid for substantial playing time in there first seasons.