As the school year gets under way, it bears remembering that many former Cal student athletes who used to walk this campus are now making their way in their respective sports. Here are five former Bears who are making a name for themselves after their draft seasons.
Cal alumnus Patrick Laird is just a few days away from finding out if he makes the Miami Dolphins roster after going undrafted in the 2019 NFL draft. Laird finished his outstanding Cal career with 2,153 rushing yards, 608 receiving yards and 19 total touchdowns.
Throughout the first three preseason games, Laird has been the Dolphins’ leading rusher with 101 rushing yards and two total touchdowns. He’s averaged a solid 5.3 yards per carry as well, making a strong case for himself to make the final roster come Saturday.
Laird’s future with the Dolphins is still technically up in the air, but it would be odd to see Miami cut the running back who has thrived in the preseason.
After being drafted by the Chicago White Sox, Vaughn shot through the rookie league in Arizona by hitting .600 in just three games.
His play saw him promoted to the club’s Low-A affiliate in Kannapolis and get a real taste of minor league baseball. Vaughn was promoted again after hitting .253 with a .388 on-base percentage.
The former Bear then took his talents to the Carolina League, where he is the youngest player on the White Sox Class A-Advanced minor league team, the Winston-Salem Dash. Vaughn has 17 RBIs in 24 games with the Dash, and has flashed defensively at first base.
It may only be a matter of time before the 2019 No. 3 overall draft pick reaches the MLB. Rated as a top 100 MLB prospect and the fourth best prospect in the White Sox’s system, Vaughn is rapidly being expected to do bigger things.
Kristine Anigwe was drafted as the No. 9 pick in the 2019 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun and only played 17 games for the team before being traded to the Dallas Wings. Anigwe is only averaging two points and 2.1 rebounds per game this season in eight minutes playing time per game.
Anigwe made headlines recently after she got into a brawl with WNBA star Brittney Griner. The brawl led to a two-game suspension for teammates Anigwe and Kayla Thornton, as well as a three-game suspension for Griner.
Kristine Anigwe has seen her minutes increase since being traded to Dallas, and fans will hope that her production will increase as a result.
Like Laird, former Cal offensive lineman Patrick Mekari signed an undrafted free agent deal with an NFL team. The Baltimore Ravens have utilized the services of Mekari throughout the preseason, protecting quarterback Lamar Jackson, and the California-raised lineman has thrived in his new home on the East Coast.
Mekari has taken snaps at the guard and center positions with the Ravens. While he remains entrenched as the third or fourth option on the depth chart, early returns from training camp have been promising.
As a Bear, Mekari saw action in 34 contests, primarily at left tackle, starting 24 of them. His senior season was cut short by a lower body injury, but it’s safe to say he’s back at full strength and competing well for an NFL roster spot.
Kadono was a standout for Cal men’s soccer last season, leading the team and the entire Pac-12 in scoring during his senior season. His play earned him a shot at the MLS, where he was drafted in the third round by D.C. United.
The Japanese striker was moved to the black and red’s new USL Championship affiliate, Loudoun United. He was then loaned one tier down to the USL League One’s South Georgia Tormenta FC. Kadono has scored just one goal in six appearances.
With transfers potentially shaking up D.C. United’s first team, the possibility remains that Kadono will be promoted next season, especially if the black and red struggle to make the playoffs.
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