Cal is keeping it in the family with their commits these days. First it was Bryce Treggs submitting his verbal to the Bears to follow in the footsteps of his father Brian. Now it's Hardy Nickerson Jr. treading the path his father took two decades ago. Jim McGill of Bear Insider has more.
"It's absolutely just amazing to have Hardy Jr. commit to Cal," said Hardy Nickerson, Sr. "He's a great player and to watch him commit and go to my old stomping grounds is just great. Words can't express it.
"It's totally his decision. Throughout the process, I've just been making sure he had all the information he needed and he went through the process and analyzed every opportunity and decided he wanted to be a Bear."
Here are the notes from the recruiting services.
- Rivals: 3 stars, 31st best inside linebacker, 85th best recruit in California
- Enjoyed 10 offers from schools like Colorado, Idaho, Navy, Nebraska and Utah
- ESPN: 68 grade, 130th best outside linebacker in this class
Nickerson isn't coming in quite as highly touted as his dad, but he's got another year to grow into his body and Cal coaches liked what they saw in the camps to give him that Cal offer. The Bears are pretty stacked at linebacker, and Nickerson provides a quality and local individual who should excel and thrive in the Golden Bear environment.
And besides, he's family anyway. Welcome to Cal, Hardy!
After the jump, some notes from our earlier profile on Nickerson, and recruiting tape.
Hardy Nickerson Jr. (Recruiting Video) (via NCSAfootball)
I wrote a little on Nickerson after he received his offer, and talked about he looked a lot like his father on the field.
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.
Cal linebacker coach Kenwick Thompson also had positive things to say about Nickerson's growth and development, particularly when he received his offer. If he can continue this type of progress through his senior year and into college, he could eventually see the field.
"I got good feedback from Coach Thompson. He said I had great footwork and that I've improved a lot over the years because I've been camping there every year. He said I grew a lot and got a lot bigger and overall, became a better player."