California Golden Bears defensive signee Lu-Magia Hearns earned some significant end-of-season honors this past week, being selected as the San Francisco Chronicle and Bay Area News Group’s Defensive Player of the Year for the high school football season past.
From a story posted May 8, Hearns was nabbed as the San Francisco Chronicle’s Metro Player of the Year.
Hearns, The Chronicle’s 2021 Metro Player of the Year and a Cal commit, makes quite an impression. A fast one.
A sprinter on the track team, the 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior defensive back, receiver and returner revs to top-end speed instantly. He changes directions in a flash. He closes on the ball in a snap. He makes tacklers miss.
Head coach Justin Alumbaugh said the third-year starter is like having a coach on the field. He was a unanimous choice as a team captain who calls defensive plays and checks.
He arrived at De La Salle never having played defense. But now, with the influence of defensive coordinator and conditioning coach Nate Kenion, prefers it. The three-star recruit will likely play both cornerback and safety at Cal and likely contribute as a returner. “Special teams are special,” Hearns said.
Alumbaugh says Hearns is special in all regards, flashing sparks during an abbreviated 6-0 spring season in all facets, including as a quiet but thoughtful and confident leader.
He had two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, averaged 42.6 yards per eight kick returns, and turned three of his four receptions into touchdowns. “He was electric and dynamic on the field, and a strong presence off of it,” Alumbaugh said.
This came just after the Mercury News nabbed him as their defensive player of the year.
Hearns is the Bay Area News Group’s defensive player of the year after the Cal-bound standout did it all this spring for the area’s top team.
He intercepted two passes as a defensive back, was electrifying on kick returns, and stood out when he played offense, which wasn’t often this spring because his reps were limited as the coaches aimed to give other seniors and underclassmen a chance to play in the abbreviated season.
Hearns also mentored younger teammates.
“He’s one of the best players around,” De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh said. “He played as the best guy on our team. He was the team leader.”
Hearns caught four passes, three for touchdowns, and averaged 42.6 yards on eight kickoff returns. He also returned an interception for a touchdown.
“He was calling all of our defenses, throwing our checks,” Alumbaugh said. “He played multiple positions on defense. He would come up and make tackles. He’d play deep safety, cover man-to-man. Across the board, he’s just really good.”
All on @Hearns_21— Cal Football (@CalFootball) May 11, 2021
He’s the @sfchronicle and @BayAreaNewsHQ Player of the Year! pic.twitter.com/eySIbzh4a4
Safe to say, Cal has a good one on their hands with Hearns.