Update 9/6/2020: This article has been updated to include an interview from Camryn Bynum.
Cal defensive star and team captain Camryn Bynum announced his intent to declare for the 2021 NFL draft Sunday evening. The redshirt senior indicated in a series of posts on Twitter and Instagram that he will forgo his final season with the Bears in favor of preparing for the professional gridiron.
“I’m going to miss everything about Cal. I loved my time here, all of my teammates and coaches,” Bynum said in an interview after announcing his decision. “It’s for sure exciting just being able to move on and being able to achieve this dream of going to the NFL.”
Bynum’s decision came after the postponement of the Pac-12 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After learning that the season would not start until Jan. 1, Bynum elected to graduate in December and take several months to prepare for the NFL draft.
“I came back for my senior season because I wanted to play with my team for one more year, but with the whole pandemic and everything being pushed back, I thought I would be on myself at this point and start preparing for the draft,” Bynum said. “It’s a tough decision, but it’s been made for a couple weeks now ever since they canceled the season.”
The defensive back will have several months rather than several weeks to fine-tune his game and focus on his speed for the draft. He will work to improve his 40-yard dash time before the combine and polish his technique. Bynum’s skill set is already one that has garnered notice, and he hopes to expand it and learn more in the NFL.
Hailing from Corona, California, the 6’0” cornerback has notched 169 total tackles and five interceptions during his time with the blue and gold. Multiple sources predict the Bears’ active leader in both pass breakups and passes defended to be a midround draft pick. Bynum was named to the All-Pac-12 second team in consecutive seasons by various publications and earned preseason first-team honors this year from the Bay Area News Group.
“Cam is an excellent football player who has a relentless work ethic and is constantly improving his craft,” said Cal football head coach Justin Wilcox in a press release. “Even more importantly, he is a tremendous person.”
Bynum emphasized his love for Cal, thanking his coaches and fondly remembering the work he has put in and the experiences he’s shared with his teammates and friends. He posted an eight-page letter on Instagram, thanking various individuals and groups that have helped him throughout his career. Bynum also noted the encouragement and support he received from the Cal coaching staff and community after making his decision.
With Bynum departing, Cal will have to look to its roster to fill the void its star cornerback left behind. Josh Drayden may have to slide out, but should he remain at nickel back, a less experienced cornerback such as Jaylen Martin or Branden Smith may have a bigger role whenever the season is played. They will likely start opposite redshirt sophomore Chigozie Anusiem, who started in the Bears’ Redbox Bowl victory and who, along with the rest of the position group, was praised heavily by Bynum.
Bynum’s decision comes shortly after defensive lineman Luc Bequette, a fellow cog in a Bears defense that was among the top in the Pac-12, chose to take his talents to Boston College as a graduate transfer.
Cambeezy out. 🐍
Thank you Cal pic.twitter.com/BuEXWkn1SO
— Camryn Bynum (@Cambeezy_) September 7, 2020