Recruiting top-notch talent to Cal football feels good. Flipping top-notch talent from Stanford? Now that feels fantastic!
On January 12, 2016, Nygel Edmonds, 6'0", 180lbs cornerback from Chattanooga, Tennessee, resolved to become a California Golden Bear. He will be competing with four other defensive back recruits for a spot in the secondary that has opened up with the departure of Cedric Dozier.
Here are his rankings from the major recruiting services:
Rivals: 4 Stars, 214th in the nation, 3rd in his state, 17th at his position
24/7 Scout: 3 Stars, 435th in the nation, 10th in his state, 43rd at his position
ESPN: No Ranking
There isn't too much tape on Edmonds' senior year so for the most part we'll be focusing on his junior season. However, there is one clip with a single play from his senior season that is definitely worth breaking down.
- Despite being one play out of hundreds, this one is a doozy. Firstly, pay close attention to Edmonds' footwork at the beginning of this play. He takes quick, decisive steps and does well shadowing the initial inside move of the wide receiver. Then, when the slot takes the outside seam, Edmonds does a fantastic job of dropping to cover his zone. This is impressive because he both reads the quarterback, and quickly recognizes that the play was designed to fool him into stepping forward. Unfortunately for the opposing offense, Edmonds was not fooled and he tops off an exceptional play with an absurdly athletic and skilled interception over his back shoulder.
- Now onward to the other tape!
- We are treated to an interesting play-call on behalf of the opposing offense in the first play beginning at 0:10 - a deep pass on their own 2-yard line. It does look like Edmonds does expect the run, but he very quickly sees that it's not and recovers to guard his man. He does a great job intercepting the underthrown pass at its highest point and almost runs it back for a touchdown.
- At 0:27 he gives a fine display of his speed off the line when he blocks a field goal attempt (the first of many in this tape). He tracks the ball like a pro and picks it up in stride to secure an easy score going the other way.
- His man-coverage at 0:48 is textbook. He lines up just inside of his receiver and takes a stutter step to make sure he doesn't fall behind on a double move off the line. Then he uses his hands well to force the receiver off of his track and stays on his inside hip for the entirety of the play, making the interception a piece of cake.
- Conversely, in the zone at 1:03 he keeps his feet moving and breaks on the quick hitch giving the receiver no time to make a move after the catch.
- During the play beginning at 1:49 I'm most impressed by the opposing wide receiver's guts to attempt that throw even when it had been read like an open book. However, it is also very impressive how quickly Edmonds reacts to the tipped ball in order to intercept it. It may look relatively easy, but on the field everything is moving really fast, so it's great that he has the athleticism to catch that loose ball while making sure he stays in bounds.
- Props to the entire McCallie High School defense at 2:53 and an extra pat on the back to Edmonds for breaking up the play. Everyone on that defense covers his responsibilities on the motion to perfection and Edmonds does an amazing job crashing on the outside route to break up the pass.
- I'll highlight 3:25 because I love it when a guy doesn't give up on a play.
- We get a good look at Edmonds' open-field tackling at 3:59. It's a good thing that he gets low when he tackles, but his feet stop, making him a trip wire as opposed to a mobile defender. While he does make the tackle, a more agile ball carrier could give him the slip. We see more of the same at 4:32 and 5:31. While cornerbacks aren't expected to be lighting up the ball carrier, it is critical that they secure their tackles. Edmonds makes a lot of arm tackles, which might be an area of concern and a definite area of improvement for him to round out his game.
- Overall, Edmonds is an athlete with great instincts and footwork, making him a solid defender against anything coming through the air. He has quick reflexes and good games sense, playing excellent team defense and allowing him to individually adjust to shifts in the offense and trick plays. All of this coupled with the competitive edge to run every play to the whistle paints him as a tenacious defender who wants to make an impact on every down. If he works on his tackling technique, Edmonds has what it takes to become a playmaker in the Golden Bear secondary. Welcome to Cal, Nygel and Go Bears!