Malik Psalms describes himself as a "smart player," and he'd better, if his parents have anything to say about it.
"Education was the most important thing. They've been stressing that to me since I was a little kid, that sports doesn't last forever, and even after sports, you have to have something to fall back on."
Psalms's parents – who also made the trip up for his unofficial to California this weekend – were thrilled with his choice to commit to the Bears.
"My dad has been pushing Cal before I even had the offer. That's where both of them wanted me to go," Psalms said. "They were like, ‘Oh, we don't have any problem with you coming here.'"
Thanks to his commitment to Cal on Sunday, he'll get one of the best educations he could hope for.
"I couldn't pass up that education," Psalms said. "It opens up so many opportunities for you after college, and I really am set for life."
The Bears are set to get a solid addition in the versatile 6-foot-2, 175-pound defensive back. Cal has been looking to get bigger in the defensive backfield, and the long, rangey prospect will go towards servicing that ambition.
"I try to play the game smart. I'm a very athletic player. I have the capability to make a lot of plays, but I like to focus on the mental aspect of the game, because once you get the mental side down, the physical part is easy," Psalms said. "You know what everyone's going to do. You know what everyone else on the team is going to do, what the offense is going to do, so you can sit there and make a play."
That's exactly why Greg Burns likes him so much. The two had been talking on the phone for weeks, and this past weekend, Psalms and his parents got to meet the man in person, and sit down for some quality time, as well as watch him work with the defensive backs.
"He was trying to get me a better feel for him and his coaching style and what he's all about," Psalms said. "Coach Burns, he in many ways reminds me of my high school coach right now, Lamar Mickey."
Burns wasn't the only coach Psalms spoke, with, though. He got the full staff experience.
"I got to sit down and actually talk with coach Burns a bit more, instead of just talking to him on the phone and what-not," Psalms said. "And then I got to sit down and talk with coach [Sonny] Dykes and coach [Rob] Likens, and also coach [Art] Kaufman."
When Psalms told Burns, et al that he was committing, the reaction was quite the payoff from their interactions earlier in the weekend.
"He was really happy. From what he told me, he couldn't stop smiling once he got the news," Psalms said. "It was really just all the coaches. When I was up there, they seemed really over-excited to try and get me to commit. They were talking about it for a while, trying to get me there, and you could tell that they wanted me to be a part of that family."
Psalms' favorite part of the visit? Getting to interact with old friend Jack Austin, and one of the defensive veterans -- Stefan McClure.
"Just really getting the chance to talk to one of the guys that I really respect: Jack Austin, that was cool. He's a sophomore receive out there, and I got to talk to him a bit during practice," Psalms said. "I also talked to one of the DBs (McClure) for a little bit. He was telling me that he really likes it up there. He was telling me how he had more choices – he had a lot more Pac-12 choices, and he thinks he made the right decision by going to Cal."
Beyond the Commitment: Malik Psalms
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