Cal has formed a pipeline to Centennial High School in Corona, Ca, bringing cornerback Camryn Bynum into the fold. Bynum joins Daniel Juarez, Greyson Bankshead, and Trey Watson in the Centennial to Cal route. Bynum isn't a big cornerback, standing at 5'11" and 164 lbs (listed at 6' 170 lbs), but he's going to have the time to gain the strength and size needed to deal with receivers at this level. His GPA is listed at 3.8, so he can definitely hang with the academic rigors of Cal. Due to the cavalcade of defensive backs in the class of 2015, I wouldn't see Bynum playing immediately. He will need a year to adjust, but after that he can become a good piece in Cal's secondary.
- From the tape, there's a couple first impressions to be made. First of all, Bynum is a solid tackler. He's not going to be someone who levels the ball carrier at every opportunity, but he can be someone who gets the job done reliably. Tackling at the second level has been an issue for the past couple of years, and having a solid tackler in the secondary will alleviate some of that problem. Bynum gets low to make hits, which works on anyone of any size. His tackles at 1:05, 1:12, 1:28, and 1:53 are examples of this.
- Bynum is underrated in his pursuit angles. When someone breaks away, Bynum takes the appropriate angle to chase down the ball carrier. You can see this at 3:15 and 3:43. The hustle to chase a ballcarrier down is impressive on its own, and play like that are the difference between a touchdown to lose a game and a chip shot missed field goal. Bynum's ability and awareness can give you a chance.
- Bynum gets off blocks well from the corner spot, another area that Cal's defensive backfield has been lacking in. He mostly rips through to get to the ballcarrier and makes a solid tackle going low. Sometimes, at 1:38 for instance, he'll go low to take out a block. In that instance, he manages to take out the ballcarrier as well. 1:49 is a better example of him getting off a block and taking out a running back. What I'd like to see more of is Bynum shedding off the outside shoulder of the receiver. For one, when the receiver actually runs a route, forcing him inside messes with the timing of the route. Second, having outside leverage allows Bynum to keep force responsibility a bit better. Cornerbacks generally have force responsibility, since they're the outermost guys, which means the keep the running back from getting all the way outside and force him in toward your help. These are little nuances that come with time though.
- I think Bynum has the ability to play well in pass coverage, though there are a few miscues that I can see. Bynum is very good at this point, as shown by plays at :12 and :28. You don't make those interceptions without great reaction time, awareness, and instincts. Those are three qualities crucial to any corner. He shows those qualities again in making deflections at 4:19, 4:30, and 4:50. I also like his technique during the play starting at 4:41. He does get turned around, but he gets his head turned when the ball is coming and stays on his receiver like glue. The problems that I foresee come at 5:00, 5:25, and 5:50. A corner not turning around after the ball goes up is the kiss of death. It usually leads to any number of pass interference penalties, which can kill any defensive momentum. The only solution to this problem is more practice. It's a technical issue that Bynum can fix within the next year or two.
In summation, Bynum is a solid tackler from the cornerback position. If he can keep up that level of consistency in tackling when he gets to Cal, he'll be a welcomed addition. Judging from his tape, he can easily fit well on any special teams unit while he learns the ropes of playing corner. His coverage skills need a bit of tinkering, but I think he'll perform admirably at the Division I level.