Linebacker, linebacker, linebacker. Ask any California Golden Bears fan what is a major position of need for Cal, and more likely than not that is the answer that you will receive. Though the future looks bright for our defense with the addition of a defensive-minded coach in Coach Wilcox, who I am confident will be able to attract defensive talent amidst the promise of quality coaching, part of that bright future is in the form of 2017 LB commit Kyle Harmon out of Oakley, CA.
The East Bay local weighs in at 6’0” and 218 pounds, and when you watch his film you see that Harmon plays even larger than his size. He plays with physicality and with toughness, fighting off blockers to make plays. Harmon actively causes havoc throughout his highlight reel, putting himself in a good position to make plays on the ball. He displays great instincts, reacting quickly and closing space. Furthermore, we see that Harmon takes good angles and hits the right holes as he shoots through the gap to attack the ball. And when Harmon hits opposing players, he hits them hard, exploding on contact and driving them back. As a cherry on top for Cal fans, who are surely tired of seeing missed tackles, Harmon is a sure tackler, one who uses his high football IQ to put himself in a good position to make the tackle as he does not over pursue.
Harmon shows an ability to play in coverage as well. On the first play off his highlight reel, we see him spin and show good burst to keep up with the WR and come up with an interception. Harmon reads the plays as they develop, following the quarterback’s eyes. We see him recognize screen passes as they develop to quickly take down the opposing WR, and jump passing lanes to make interceptions
The best part for Cal football fans? The effort that we see from Harmon throughout the highlight reel. Whether he is making a play on offense, defense, or special teams, he exemplifies hard work and effort. And I have a sneaking suspicion that Harmon will prove to be a good leader in the locker room as well. If Harmon is as productive for Cal as he was in high school, and I’m very hopeful that he will be, then Coach Wilcox and Cal will have secured an important part of our defense down the road.