Camryn Bynum, a three-year starter at cornerback, announced Sunday on social media that he will bypass his senior season at Cal and prepare for the 2021 NFL draft.
"Cambeezy Out. Thank you Cal," he said on Twitter and Instagram, in an obvious tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, one of his heroes.
In a Zoom call with reporters Sunday evening, Bynum confirmed the decision was made in his mind several weeks ago, basically as soon as the Pac-12 decided to postponed the fall season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He talks about that here:
And more from Bynum on his decision-making process:
Bynum said in his video on social media that he believes he has prepared fully for the opportunity he now will pursue.
"In life there's no substitute for hard work, no shortcuts or easy ways to achieve success," he said during a 60-second video. "The same can be said for the game of football.
"Catching up to my competition was no accident. It's been full of long nights and early mornings, doing whatever it takes to gain an edge. Separating myself for when the story gets good.
"From becoming a starter as a freshman to anchoring a nationally ranked defense. As this chapter closes and a new one begins, I know I'll be ready."
Bynum, who is on track to graduate with a degree in American Studies in December, said he has been emotional about the decision to leave Cal, but also is excited. Here he reflects on those feelings:
Bynum, who likely is Cal’s best-regarded 2021 NFL draft prospect, could have stayed in school for his redshirt senior season, awaiting whether the Pac-12 will reinstate football late this year or early in ’21. But there is no guarantee the COVID-19 pandemic will allow for college football to return in California.
In an interview last month he hinted that he was anxious about whether there would be a college football season.
“Personally, I’d be willing to risk it and play football, just because of my love for the game,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any running from COVID. I think it’ll be here for a while.
“As of now, I’m confused about what’s happening because I see more and more people canceling their seasons and pushing it back,” he said. “The trend lately, everything’s been a domino effect. I’m worried that’s going to happen now.”
A redshirt senior from Corona, Bynum was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection last fall. He has started 38 consecutive games for the Bears and was a team captain in 2019.
Bynum recently was projected as a mid-round pick, according to two draft experts with the Pro Football Network. Matthew Valdinos pegged him as the second-to-last pick of the third round and Oliver Hodgkinson had him going four picks into the fourth round.
As a junior last fall, Bynum had 63 tackles and team bests of nine pass breakups and 10 passes defended. He had one interception in 2019 and has five in his Cal career.
Bynum is the second starter on Cal’s defense to announce plans to exit early. Defensive end Luc Bequette has transferred to Boston College, which will play a fall season.
With fellow senior Elijah Hicks shifted from corner to safety last spring, Bynum was expected to be paired at cornerback with sophomore Chigozie Anusiem. Now, Branden Smith and Jaylen Martin likely will compete for Bynum’s starting assignment
Here's how Bynum responded when asked about what he will miss most about his Cal experience and what he'd like to say to teammates, coaches and fans:
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo
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