Cal Football Video: Justin Wilcox Talks About Zeandae Johnson Being Big-Play DE

He still needs to be more consistent. Head coach talks about freshman defensive ends as well.

Cal defensive end Zeandae Johnson has a chance to be a big-play performer this coming season, according to head coach Justin Wilcox. He showed flashes last season, but the Bears expect him to be more consistent in 2019.

“Zeandae, we would expect him to be guy that would make some plays for us,” Wilcox says in the video. “He’ll flash and make a really good play and ‘Holy smokes.’ He’s capable of doing that quite a bit.”

He played in 2018 after missing the entire 2017 season with a knee injury, and it takes time to completely recover from that kind of problem.

“He came back last year after a significant, significant injury,” Wilcox said, “and we’d love for it to be, say, ‘Hey, he’ll be cleared in nine months and nine months he’ll be back to where he was.’ It doesn’t really happen like that.

“He’s more confident; he knows what he’s doing. . . . He’s a hard guy to block. He just has to do it as often as possible.”

Johnson played in 10 games last season and had 21 tackles, including 2.0 sacks and 4.0 tackles for loss.

Wilcox was impressed with Braxten Croteau, a freshman who enrolled in January, allowing him to participate in spring practice.

“I think it was the spring game -- he really showed up in a couple live situations, noticeable,” Wilcox said.

The other starting defensive end, along with Johnson, is Luc Bequette, a consistent performer who showed his talent last season, .