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Cal Football

Bears Add Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year MLB Liam Johnson

March 23, 2024
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The Bears picked up some much-needed depth at the inside linebacker position today with the commitment of Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year grad transfer Liam Johnson‍ from Princeton today. The 6-0/225 veteran ILB should immediately compete with fellow grad transfer Teddye Buchanan‍ to start at MLB opposite Fresham All-American ILB Cade Uluave after arriving at Cal within weeks of his May 28 graduation from Princeton.

As a senior in 2023, Johnson totaled 83 tackles, 3 sacks and an interception. In 2022, the new Bear piled up 90 tackles and two defensive touchdowns in his back-to-back first team all-conference seasons.

"I thought it was a very similar situation to Princeton that combined both an academic atmosphere and great athletics,” Johnson said of his commitment to Cal. “The football team’s obviously a really good to great level of football. I thought the coaches and the team were very welcoming and had a great team environment and I thought it would be the best spot for me to be. I'm only there for around six months so I felt like it was the best spot for me to immediately go into and try and help out as best I could right away." 

The Bears’ connection to the east coast through their new conference was another source of attraction for the New Jersey native.

"Family's really important to me and obviously I'm joining the ACC so that kind of makes it easier travel trips for my family,” Johson noted. “I have a big family so they're all talking about making trips out to wherever games are that are closest to our place. So I think that was a big part of my decision as well. It was kind of just like the perfect situation in my opinion."

A Politics undergrad major at Princeton, Cal’s variety of Business-oriented certificate programs were a big attraction to Johnson.

"The Finance certificate seems like a really cool program," Johnson said. "I'm hoping I can learn some tangible skills that will be useful in my career.”

As for his skill set, Johnson seems to be exactly the type of player who has traditionally succeeded at the middle linebacker position at Cal.

"I think I tend to be in the right spot consistently," Johnson said. “I think that's the biggest part of my game - consistency. And at the same time, I think most of my strengths lies in my intangibles. It's been said that I'm a good leader and it's been good to help the young guys get better. And I think I also have a good motor. I think that's my biggest one, is I'm always running the ball and giving the best effort I could possibly give on each play."

Johnson’s commitment brings the Bears’ 2024 prep, JC, portal and grad transfer total to 31 to-date.

Discussion from...

Bears Add Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year MLB Liam Johnson

3,652 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 21 days ago by Pittstop
calumnus
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Welcome Liam!
Bobodeluxe
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"I'm only there for around six months…"

Seven, if the UC Berkeley Bears make a bowl.
75bear
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Welcome to Cal, Liam!

It's interesting to hear the ACC and playing East Coast games was a factor in his decision. We all speculated this could be a benefit to recruiting East Coast kids who wanted a new experience. This is the first time I'm seeing it in the wild - pretty cool!
mbBear
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75bear said:

Welcome to Cal, Liam!

It's interesting to hear the ACC and playing East Coast games was a factor in his decision. We all speculated this could be a benefit to recruiting East Coast kids who wanted a new experience. This is the first time I'm seeing it in the wild - pretty cool!
Well, certainly a reasonable drive for his family and friends to see him at Pitt.
Just to add: he went to St. Joe's Prep in Philly for HS....pretty much the best program in the Philly/S. Jersey/Delaware area...and always nationally ranked. So, definitely good roots...
bearsandgiants
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This is a HUGE get, plus, he's smart. Intelligence and athletic ability are key ingredients to success at Cal Football. I love this pick up.
Big C
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Welcome to the Cal Family, Liam! You're going to help our defense! Go Bears!!!
Pittstop
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75bear said:

Welcome to Cal, Liam!

It's interesting to hear the ACC and playing East Coast games was a factor in his decision. We all speculated this could be a benefit to recruiting East Coast kids who wanted a new experience. This is the first time I'm seeing it in the wild - pretty cool!


Yes, and it's good that Cal's staff seems to recognize that geographic reality, and [seem to be] leveraging that geographic dynamic as part of their recruiting model.
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