John Hefti - USA Today Sports
Cal announced the addition of three players to their fall roster today, bolstering their special teams and offensive line units, adding graduate transfer punter Steven Coutts (listed as a junior, eligibility wise), junior long snapper and JC transfer Alonso Vera, and redshirt freshman transfer guard Valentino Daltoso. GoldenBearReport.com has received word from a team representative that all three of these players will be on scholarship for the 2017 season.
From the team's official release, here's notes on the three:
"Coutts (Brisbane, Australia/Louisiana/University of Queensland/Citipointe Christian College) received his bachelor's degree in economics from Louisiana in December of 2016 and will be a graduate transfer at Cal. Coutts posted a combined average of 43.3 yards per punt during the last two seasons at Louisiana. He earned first-team LSWA All-Louisiana honors after averaging 44.1 yards per punt in his second campaign as a 2016 sophomore to rank second in the Sun Belt with a long punt of 68 yards. As a 2015 freshman, he was selected to the Sun Belt's All-Newcomer squad and second-team All-Louisiana after averaging 42.4 yards per punt with a long punt of 64 yards. Coutts spent his prep career at Citipointe Christian College in Brisbane, Australia, where he played Australian Rules football and rugby among several sports.
Daltoso (Boise, ID/Oregon/Boise HS) started at right guard in Oregon's 2017 split-squad spring game after redshirting his true freshman campaign for the Ducks in 2016. Daltoso started his Oregon career playing for current Cal offensive line coach Steve Greatwood after being a three-year starting offensive lineman at Boise High School from 2013-15. Daltoso was a second-team All-State selection as a 2015 prep senior while also earning all-league first-team offensive line and second-team defensive line recognition in the Southern Idaho Conference. He was also named to the conference's all-academic team during each of his final three prep campaigns.
Vera (Carson, CA/Long Beach City College/Seton Hill/Carson HS) was the long snapper for all 11 games as a 2016 sophomore at Long Beach City College for a squad that won a second straight co-title in the California Community College Athletic Association's National Central Division, finished 9-2 overall and ended the campaign with a five-game winning streak after a victory over Bakersfield College in the Western State Bowl. He spent his 2015 true freshman season at Division II Seton Hill (Greensburg, Pa.), where he played in nine of 11 games at long snapper. Vera's prep career was highlighted by his 2014 senior team that reached the finals of the Los Angeles City Section playoffs, won a share of the Marine League title and completed the season with a 10-4 overall record. Vera was named his squad's Special Teams MVP as a prep senior.
Steven Coutts – P – 6-4 – 210 – Jr. – TR – Brisbane, Australia (Louisiana/University of Queensland/Citipointe Christian College)
Valentino Daltoso – OL – 6-4 – 310 – Fr.* – TR – Boise, ID (Oregon/Boise HS)
Alonso Vera – LS – 5-11 – 225 – Jr. – TR – Carson, CA (Long Beach City College/Seton Hill/Carson HS)"
First comes the eligibility question with all three. For now, it looks Coutts and Vera will be allowed to play right off the bat, coming in as a graduate transfer and JC transfer respectively. Daltoso will likely have to sit for a year due to NCAA transfer rules, but nothing is finalized on that front at the moment.
Vera coming in helps deal with the long snapper issue faced during the spring game, as Bradley Northnagel leaving left a hole at the position that wasn't filled through the spring practice period.
Coutts will likely provide competition for incumbent punter Dylan Klumph, as the latter didn't have a true backup throughout the spring, with backup kicker Matt Abramo moonlighting as a punter. Justin Wilcox has wanted to make sure there's competition at every spot, and this is one way to do it.
Daltoso is a bit of a different scenario, given that he likely won't be able to play right away. It's another lineman familiar with Greatwood's system from his time at Oregon, and someone who was thought highly enough of to receive this offer to come to Cal. It also adds depth to a line group that certainly needs it.