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Photo by Twitter / Henry Ikahihifo
Cal Football

Ikahihifo High on the Bears' Radar For '22 Class

February 7, 2022
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6-2/255 College of the Canyon OLB/edge Henry Ikahihifo‍ is high on the Bears’ radar to fill the role graduating senior Marquez Bimage played last season on the Bears’ roster.

The hard-hitting Tongan was originally signed by Nevada as a 3 star tight end out of Paraclete High School in Lancaster, CA. He transferred last year to College of the Canyons where he transitioned to defense last season.

The redshirt soph visited campus the weekend before last and was more than impressed by every element of his visit.

“My biggest impression for me on my visit was Cal’s academic reputation, especially with them being the number two business school in  the world,” said Ikahihifo. “And second, their facilities and how well they take care of their players was impressive to me. The coaches were really impressvie to me, too.

“I was originally recruited by Coach Browning but I'd be playing outside linebacker if I go to Cal so I’ve been talking a lot with Coach Heyward, who would be my position coach,” said Ikahihifo. “He’s a really, really great guy. He knows his football. Sitting down with both of them and the defensive coordinator, Coach Sirmon, breaking down how I'd be used as an outside linebacker and how i’d be used in the run game and pass game -they literally broke down everything in an impressive way. And coach Wilcox is very chill. He's just very, very humble. You wouldn't think he’s the head coach because he's just a regular guy and he doesn't overhype everything. He's there to show that Cal is about family, education and then football. He's a great guy, for real.”

As a soph at COC, Ikahihifo totalled 32 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks plus 11 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and four pass breakups on the season.

‘I would say my playing style fits great," said Ikahihifo of hit potential fit at Cal. “I can honestly say I feel comfortable with what I was told about the Cal defense and how they intend to use me, whether it's pass pressure or stopping the run.

“They compared me to the previous player there who played my position -Marquez Bimage and they broke down film of how he played the run and pass along with film of how I played both at my junior college and it was crazy how many similarities there were. They said I’d be an outside linebacker there but if I wanted to get dirty on 4th-and-one, they’d be comfortable with me playing that end spot, head up over the tackle and I was really impressed with that.”

The former 3 star prep tight end played tight end for Nevada before opting to transfer to COC, who moved him to the other side of the ball last season.

“I hadn’t played defense in quite a while so it's been a crazy journey for me,” said Ikahihifo. “Man, I love defense. I don’t understand why I was switched but I feel like defense is what's best for me. I love delivering the hit instead of taking it. I love defense.”

Ikahihifo’s visit also gave him a strong comfort level with the Cal student athletes, particularly his fellow Polynesian players.

“I talked to Orin Patu) a lot and Iele (Ieremia), who are also both outside linebackers,” said Ikahihifo. “I’m really comfortable with them and the guys in the program. I also talked to Keleki (Latu) and Stan (McKenzie). They're all great guys. I actually felt like I knew them for a while and we just met the day before. Getting to know them was really, really cool.  I think that Poly brotherhood is really special and hard to to explain. They just welcomed me with open arms.”

Expect an announcement from Ikahihifo in March on his birthday. Should he commit, he’d be the 18th signee and transfer player in the 2022 class for the Bears.

Other stories:

Bears Start Off Their '23 Class Strong With Commitment from 4 Star Safety RJ Jones

2022 Recruiting Class Recap

 
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