Cal corner Camryn Bynum opts in to shortened season after declaring for NFL draft

Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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Cal football is back, and so is one of the Bears’ defensive set pieces — after declaring for the NFL draft just shy of a month ago, star Bears cornerback Camryn Bynum announced his intent to participate in the shortened season with his team on Instagram on Monday afternoon.

Bynum’s initial decision to forgo his final season with Cal was a hand forced by the pandemic and the Pac-12’s mid-August decision to cancel all sports until 2021. The accomplished defensive back elected to focus on training for the NFL draft once there was no longer any promise of fall football. 

Just weeks ago, however, leaders in the Pac-12 organization unanimously decided to reverse their earlier settlement and proceed with a shortened seven-game season this fall rather than a potentially fuller season in the spring. Bynum’s return to Cal football is one that few expected and one that few could be upset about. 

The team captain led the squad both in the locker room and on the gridiron, amassing a team high of nine pass breakups in the 2019 season and totaling 32 while lacing it up for the blue and gold. The 200-pound corner recorded a career-high 12 tackles to help Cal earn its phenomenal and historic win over Stanford last November. Bynum’s original announcement to declare for the draft trailed the abrupt transfer of defensive lineman Luc Bequette to Boston College, leaving a historically brawny Bears defense with clear vulnerabilities for the first time in years. 

What was a mutually emotional goodbye has culminated in one of the most redeeming events the Bears could have asked for in such a muddled year — Bynum’s impact on the field in a season when there is less room for error than ever before will be weighty come Cal’s Nov. 7 kickoff against Washington.

Emily Ohman covers football. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @emilyohman34.