Hardy Nickerson Jr, Linebacker, Bishop O'Dowd: Cal Football 2012 Recruiting Target

 (via NCSAfootball)

 

Based on the video above, Hardy Nickerson Jr is his father's son on the football field.

Nickerson has made it a goal to make sure his dad's alma mater would acknowledge his quality, and he finally earned his Cal offer this past weekend (hat tip to verytech). And if you see his junior highlights, you can tell he's on the right path to becoming a solid linebacker.

What are your observations concerning Nickerson? If you remember him, does he remind you of his famous father? Let us know in the comments!

Dude earns an edge for hitting, and he does his best going to the ball. I like his tackling technique particularly in run support, which is hard-hitting without bordering on illegal. On one play, he puts his man in a bear hug and takes him to the ground. He wraps up high (whether from straight ahead or leaping from behind) and makes it tough for runners to get past him. He also plays coverage fairly well, and shows good instinct particularly on those short/medium throws.

As you can probably guess, Nickerson still isn't a complete prospect; he's still pretty light for a linebacker, and he'll need to put on more muscle if he wants to penetrate the suddenly young but deep Cal linebacking rotation. He doesn't have elite burst, and has to pursue from behind the play rather than cutting off the runner. Good news is that linebacker coach Kenwick Thompson claims he's improving by leaps and bounds (according to the Bear Insider article above), and another jump through his senior season could help him breakthrough as a fine linebacking prospect.

At the moment, it's hard to project where Nickerson would fit in a 3-4 system because his body still has a lot of developing to do. Based on his tackling instincts, I'd guess he has the edge to be an inside linebacker, although he also does have the pass coverage ability to play outside as well. Nickerson is an extremely hard-worker and has gotten himself to this position with a strong ethic, so you can guess that I'm high on his chances of succeeding when he grows and adapts into his body. He has the mental part of the game (and in my opinion, the harder part of the game) down. The rest of him just needs to come along in due time.

Now that he has the Cal offer, hopefully it'll lead him on his dad's path back to Berkeley.

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