Inside linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk, a first-team all-conference selection in 2018, is Cal's most signficaint loss from last season, and inside linebacker Kuony (pronounced coin) Deng is Cal's most significant addition.
Deng is the Bears' most highly rated recruit this year, and, like Kunaszyk, he comes to Cal as a junior college transfer. Junior college transfers are expected to help immediately, and Deng is in line to do just that.
He occupied a starting inside linebacker spot beside Evan Weaver all spring, and figures to continue in that role next fall.
"The physical things stand out," Wilcox said of Deng. "He's tall, he's long, he's athletic, he can bend."
Short-area quickness issues are a bit of a concern because of his height (6-foot-6), but he should be able to conquer that.
"He's got courage, and now it's just abut being able to slow down and play without [all the things to think about]."But his ability to pick things up in a short amount of time has been impressive."
Wilcox expects to use Deng in several ways, perhaps on the outside as a pass-rusher. But the coach mentioned that his height as an inside linebacker, though unusual, can help the defensive backs, because he forces quarterbacks to loft passes a little higher to get over the linebackers, giving defensive backs more time to react.
Wilcox noted that Cal already has a pretty good idea how Deng will be used, and he outlines those things in the video.