The Cal Bears are breaking in a new head coach in 2013 with Sonny Dykes taking the reins in Berkeley and bringing brand new philosophies on both sides of the ball. His defense will be transitioning to a 4-3 base defense from their usual 3-4 that they have run for years and will also have to replace some excellent talent in their secondary. Luckily for the Bears and Dykes, they will see the return of Stefan McClure next fall. Can he bounce back and become a shutdown corner next fall?
McClure looked to have a bright future when he got to Berkeley in 2o11. During his freshman season, he got into nine games and made 24 tackles with an interception and two pass breakups. He looked like he would be a major part of the defense during his sophomore season in 2012, but a knee injury kept him out for the entire season.
In his absence, Josh Hill and Steve Williams held down the corner slots well, finishing No. 2 and No. 3 in tackles with 84 and 79 tackles, respectively. Hill also broke up 11 passes and making an interception while Williams led the team with three interceptions to go along with 11 pass break ups and seven tackles for loss. Both corners are now gone, opening up a spot for McClure to slide back into the starting lineup.
The pressure will be on McClure to come back strong as the Bears find themselves thinned out in the secondary. Kameron Jackson will hold down the other corner spot after gaining great experience in 2012 when he made 27 tackles and made three interceptions in limited time. Beyond those two, however, Cal doesn’t have a lot of experience ready to step up.
There is a great opportunity for McClure to get back up on the horse following his lost 2012 season. Can he make the most of the opportunity?