BERKELEY -- While Troy Vincent, Sr., never played on the same team as Hardy Nickerson, Sr., during their 11 overlapping seasons in the NFL, the two stars out of Wisconsin and California wound up striking up a friendship off the field, and, as they started families, their two sons -- Troy Vincent, Jr., and Hardy Nickerson, Jr. -- became close friends, as well.
On Friday, Vincent, Jr. -- a cornerback, just like his old man -- arrived in the Bay Area on a morning flight from his Baltimore, Md., home and made his way to Berkeley for a bit of a preview of Saturday's Junior Day and spring game, and his eyes were firmly trained on No. 47 in blue -- Nickerson, Jr.
"I talk to Little Hardy all the time about Cal," Vincent said. "He loves it. Coach [Andy] Buh, he says, coaches him up, and coach [Randy] Stewart brings the energy. He feels like it's a different atmosphere, now."
Vincent said he's known Nickerson, Jr., "practically," his whole life, so when the redshirt freshman linebacker says something, it carries a lot of weight.
"Whenever any of the Nickersons tell me anything, just because of our relationship, I know that they mean well," Vincent said. "I trust them."
The four-star prospect out of The Gilman School has just about all the offers he could hope to want, including offers from Maryland, Michigan, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Pitt, Notre Dame, Northwestern and his father's alma mater. He also has two offers from West Coast schools: Arizona State and the Bears.
"I've been talking to coach Buh and coach Stewart on a weekly basis, probably for the past couple months," Vincent said, as he watched Stewart work his magic with the Cal defensive backs.
"I like his energy, I like his energy," Vincent smiled. "He's a good teacher, too, which I can appreciate. He teaches his players to how they learn, to their ability, and he's a really good teacher in the classroom."
After a tour of campus early in the afternoon, Vincent sat in on the pre-practice defensive backs meeting, and was quite taken with the way both Stewart and his charges go about their business.
"I took a little tour of the campus, but I've been here most of the day and got a tour of the facilities, got to meet with the academic advisor, so I've had a good day," Vincent said. "I've been busy. I was in the DB meetings. It was good. It's a classroom. It's like having another class. If you don't have your notepad out, you'll get left behind, so it was good."
While recruiting was completely different when Vincent's father was choosing a college destination, the young DB has still gotten some advice from his NFL-veteran dad.
"He tells me to just enjoy it and to find a place that truly is a fit for me," Vincent said. "He doesn't push anything on me, which I love. He lets me make my own decision, but it's got to be somewhere that offers the best of both worlds, academically and athletically. First, he wants to make sure I'm getting a good degree."
Boasting a 3.5 GPA, education is very important to Vincent, who says he plans on being an English major in college and then going to law school, though his favorite class at the moment is Pre-Calculus.
Coming out west, though, may be a bit of a stumbling block, though.
"It does have some sort of impact on my decision, but at the end of the day, whatever school is the best for me, is the best for me," Vincent said. "I do want my family to be able to come to some games, and this would be a little bit of a journey across the country. It doesn't bother me any, but at the same time, I'm not the only person that my decision affects. I've got younger brothers that look up to me, so I need to make sure that they get to see me play."
That being said, though, Cal certainly made a big impression after just one day on campus.
"Right now, this is just everything that you could ask for in a school: Great academics and then football, it's Pac-12 football, so you're going to play against the best," Vincent said. "I like Cal."
RECRUIT REPORT: Vincent Reconnects
BearTerritory.net Top Stories
Post-Game Videos: Cal vs. Arizona StateCal head coach Sonny Dykes and players discuss the loss on Saturday to Arizona State in these post-game videos.
Cal Nets 2018 Commit in Casey SlatteryCal nets another commitment on the baseball diamond, as smooth-hitting first baseman Casey Slattery re-establishes the Berkeley-Harvard Westlake pipeline.
Allensworth, Muhammad, Rambo Health AddressedEvan Rambo and Darius Allensworth were conspicuous absences in the first half for the Bears on Saturday. Sonny Dykes updates their status.
Fifth Quarter: Cal vs. Arizona StateMissed opportunities on offense plagued California in its 51-41 loss to Arizona State on Saturday, with drops, interceptions, a pick six and
BearTerritory.netYesterday at 11:33 PM