The biggest adjustment for new California commit Noah Westerfield won't be the weather – he's just fine with leaving behind the sweltering Texas summers for the Berkeley sunshine, and the high-60s temperatures in January. It won't even be the style of play. The biggest adjustment for Westerfield will, in fact, be the diversity of folks he's likely to meet on campus, and he's just fine with that.
"The biggest adjustment is probably just the different kind of people, I would think. In Houston, I'm just used to white, black or Mexican, maybe an Asian person here or there, but the diversity, I'm looking around and it's people from all over," he says. "Plus, the temperature, that's always a good thing, but I don't really have to adjust to that; it's nice."
How does Westerfield fit into new defensive coordinator Art Kaufman's 4-3 scheme? Perfectly.
"He's a very simple man. He won't put in 10 or 15 crazy things – we could do this or we could do that," Westerfield says. "It's just ‘We're going to do this, and it's going to work.' He's very straightforward. We'll be in a 4-3 scheme, but, depending on who we're playing, I could play defensive end, rush end, and in the 3-4 scheme, I'd be the outside backer, so, depending on scheme and who we're playing, I could be used at a few positions."
At Frisco (Tex.) Wakeland, Westerfield had to sit out multiple games early in his senior season with a thumb injury suffered during Wakeland's second scrimmage before the start of the regular season. He caught a pass as a tight end and upon being tackled, his thumb bent backwards to his wrist. Ouch. The injury required surgery on his tendon, and the recovery time meant not lifting weights. Despite all that, though, he is still a bruising 6-foot-3, 220 pounds.
As a junior, Westerfield tallied 31 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, seven QB hurries and two fumble recoveries as a linebacker/defensive end.
"In high school, my sophomore year, I was an outside linebacker, and then, my junior year, they moved me to end, because they needed me there," he says. "My senior year, I was outside backer/end. I played both, just because of the teams we played, because our district was very multiple. I'd be in a four-man front or I'd be the outside backer, so it's pretty much the same thing. I wouldn't be changing.
"That's one of the reasons that I committed to Cal. Northwestern wanted me at a straight 4-3 defensive end, and at Cal, they're going to utilize what I can do as an athlete. It'll be fun."
Westerfield has the frame to pack on an extra 30-40 pounds, and the fact that his position coach -- Garret Chachere -- has also coached linebackers before is a huge plus for Westerfield.
"We talked for a while, in our position meeting, and he told me about the outside backer spot and all that kind of stuff," Westerfield said. "He's trying to get players who fit into that system."
Beyond just matters on the field, though, Westerfield committed to the Bears because of that old Sonny Dykes stand-by: Fit.
"The school, academics-wise, it's the top public institution in the nation, and I thought the coaches were really cool. I met with the new D-coordinator, and he's a really cool guy. We talked some X's and O's, talked about the scheme and how he'd use me," Westerfield says. "Sonny Dykes was talking to us about player development, and how Cal will help us a lot for life after football. It was the whole package. You come out, and it's the California weather, the California lifestyle, it's perfect for me.
"Probably going to the stadium and playing around, that was the most fun. We were driving around and everything, and it was pretty awesome. We ate lunch there, and tried on the gear, tried on the jerseys and the equipment, it was a great feeling just to be part of that. I liked seeing the equipment. It's crazy. The view of the Bay Area, it's just something else."
Boasting a 3.69 GPA as of fall semester, Westerfield lives up to the way he characterizes himself: A smart football player.
"I'm probably not the biggest, probably not the fastest, probably not the strongest, and maybe people call me undersized for a D-end, but I'm a very smart ballplayer who knows how to make plays and knows how to get after guys who may be bigger and faster by using the correct angle," Westerfield says. "Above all else, I'm a smart football player."
BTC: Go West Young Man
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