Cal Football BIO
47
Hardy Nickerson
Player Profile:
Hardy Nickerson 1250270
Position: Linebacker
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 225
Year: Junior
Hometown: Oakland, CA
High School: Bishop O'Dowd HS
Experience: 2 Letters

Twitter: @younghardy_ | @calfootball
Instagram: younghardy_ | cal_football

Career Stats
Game Logs: 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Nickerson played in 35 career games with 27 starts at Cal with all of his action coming in the last three campaigns of his four seasons with the program after redshirting as a true freshman in 2012. Nickerson announced in April of 2016 that he would join his father and fellow Cal alum Hardy Nickerson Sr. as a graduate transfer at Illinois in 2016 where the elder Nickerson was hired as defensive coordinator in March of 2016. Nickerson, who graduated from Cal with a bachelor's degree in legal studies in May of 2016, finished his Cal career with 246 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss (-27 yards), 2.0 sacks (-9 yards), two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries that he returned for 27 yards, one interception that he returned for eight yards, two passes defended and one pass breakup over 35 games and 27 starts. Nickerson started all 13 games as a 2015 junior and led the team with a career-high 112 tackles in his final season at Cal.
 
Cal Career (2012-15)
● Played in 35 games with 27 starts with all of his action coming in the last three campaigns of his four seasons with the program after redshirting as a true freshman in 2012
● Played in all 25 contests over his final two seasons as a 2014 sophomore and 2015 junior
● Registered career totals of 246 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss (-27 yards), 2.0 sacks (-9 yards), two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries that he returned for 27 yards, one interception that he returned for eight yards, two passes defensed, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry
● Completed his Cal career 12 stops shy of the school's all-time top 10 while his career-high 112 tackles as a junior were 20 short of Cal's single-season top 10 in that category
● Posted the lone interception of his career that he returned eight yards at USC as a sophomore, while he had a career-high 5.0 tackles for loss (career-high -16 yards) and the lone quarterback hurry of his career during his 2013 redshirt freshman campaign
● Had a career-high-tying 1.0 sack in both his redshirt freshman and junior seasons with his sack yards (-7) as a redshirt freshman a career best
● Had a single fumble recovery in each of his final three seasons as a redshirt freshman, sophomore and junior, returning one against UCLA as a sophomore a career-long 27 yards
● Had a career-high two passes defensed as a redshirt freshman while his one forced fumble and one pass defensed both as a redshirt freshman and sophomore equaled career highs
● Picked up the lone pass breakup of his career as a redshirt freshman at UCLA
● Recorded a career-high and team season-high 16 tackles vs. Arizona State in his final game at Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium as a junior
● Had a career-high-tying 2.0 tackles for loss both at UCLA and vs. Arizona as a redshirt freshman as well as at Washington State as a sophomore, while picking up a career-high nine tackle for loss yards and his lone career quarterback hurry of his career the same season vs. Arizona
● Led or co-led the team in tackles 10 times including on six occasions all over his last nine contests as a junior, as well as twice as both a sophomore and redshirt freshman
● A two-time Pac-12 All-Academic selection who earned second-team recognition as a redshirt freshman and an honorable mention pick as a sophomore

Senior (2016)
● Participated in spring practices but did not play in the spring game and announced in April following spring practices that he would play his 2016 senior season for Illinois where his father and fellow Cal alum Hardy Nickerson Sr. was hired as defensive coordinator in March

Junior (2015)
● Earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors from the league's coaches and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection by Phil Steele
● Was Cal's Team MVP while his teammates selected him as a team captain for the season at the beginning of the campaign
● Started all 13 games at the ‘MIKE’ linebacker position and led the team with 112 tackles for the most by a Cal player since linebacker Mike Mohamed also had 112 in 2009 and to make him the first Cal player to record triple-digit stops since linebacker Michael Kendricks had 107 in 2011, while safety Thomas DeCoud was the last player to record more than 112 when he had 116 in 2007
● Ranked third in the Pac-12 in total tackles as well as fourth in the conference and tied for 48th nationally with an average of 8.6 stops per game
● Led or co-led his team in tackles six times all over the last nine games
● Added 2.0 tackles for loss as well as a career-high-tying 1.0 sack and one fumble recovery
● Recorded double-digit tackles a career-high six times all over his final eight contests and had at least eight tackles in each of those contests after posting no more than six in each of his first five games
● Had a career-best and team season-high 16 tackles in his final home game and regular-season contest vs. Arizona State
● Also had 13 tackles twice vs. USC and at Oregon, adding his lone sack of the season (-2 yards) and one of the 2.0 in his career that also registered as a season-high-tying 1.0 tackle for loss (-2 yards) against the Ducks
● Had 11 stops on three occasions at Utah, at Stanford and in his final game for Cal in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl vs. Air Force
● Registered eight tackles twice at UCLA when he also had a season-high-tying 1.0 tackle for loss (-2 yards) and vs. Oregon State
● Picked up six tackles in back-to-back games at Washington and vs. Washington State, adding a second-quarter fumble recovery against the Huskies that led to a Cal touchdown
● Also had four stops vs. San Diego State, three at Texas and two vs. Grambling State
● Cal's representative along with fellow junior Jared Goff at the 2015 Pac-12 Football Media Days prior to the season
● Had one tackle in the spring game

Sophomore (2014)
● Played in all 12 games with six starts including each of the last five contests at the ‘MIKE’ linebacker position
● Ranked third on the team with 69 tackles, while adding 2.0 tackles for loss (-7 yards), his lone career interception that he returned eight yards, one fumble recovery that he returned 27 yards and one forced fumble
● Recorded 66 of his 69 tackles over the final nine contests after three stops in his first three games
● Ranked tied for 34th in the Pac-12 with an average of 5.8 tackles per game
● Registered a season-high-tying nine tackles on four occasions vs. Colorado, vs. Washington, at USC and vs. Stanford, making a critical stop on third-and-goal from the Cal one-yardline on Colorado’s second overtime drive and adding his intereception and eight-yard return at USC
● Had seven tackles three times at Washington State, at Oregon State and vs. BYU, adding a career-high-tying 2.0 tackles for loss for a season-high seven yards against the Cougars
● Picked up other defensive stats in contests vs. UCLA (5 tackles; 1 fumble recovery, 27-yard fumble return), vs. Oregon (4 tackles), at Northwestern (2 tackles) and vs. Sacramento State (1 tackle)
● Honorable mention Pac-12 All-Academic
● One of many student-athletes to conduct a Facebook Q&A during the season
● Missed spring practices due to injury

Freshman (2013)
● Played in 10 games with eight starts tying for third on the team with 64 tackles and tying for fourth with career-high 5.0 tackles for loss (career-high -16 yards), while he was tied for second with both one fumble recovery and one forced fumble
● Added a career-high-tying 1.0 sack (career-high -7 yards) as well as the lone pass breakup and lone quarterback hurry of his career before an injury against USC in the 10th game of the season ended his campaign
● Ranked tied for 24th in the Pac-12 with an average of 6.4 tackles per game
● Put together back-to-back season-high-tying 11-tackle games in the second and third contests of his career vs. Portland State in his first career start and off the bench vs. Ohio State
● Had nine tackles and a career-high-tying 2.0 tackles for loss both at UCLA and vs. Arizona that tied for the most  tackles for loss by a Cal player in 2013 and made him the only member of the team to reach the number more than once, picking up a career-high-tying 1.0 sack (-7 yards), a career-high nine tackle for loss yards and his lone career quarterback hurry vs. Arizona as well as his only career pass breakup and three tackle for loss yards at UCLA
● Led the team in tackles twice both vs. Portland State and at UCLA with his 2.0 tackles for loss against the Bruins also a team high and his 2.0 tackles vs. Arizona equaling a team best
● Recorded defensive stats in other contests at Oregon (5 tackles; first career forced fumble), vs. Washington State (5 tackles; 1.0 tackle for loss, -4 yards), vs. Oregon State (5 tackles), vs. USC (4 tackles), at Washington (3 tackles) and vs. Northwestern (2 tackles; first career fumble recovery)
● Second-team Pac-12 All-Academic
● Recorded a game-high-tying six tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss (-6 yards) as well as 0.5 sacks (-1 yard) in the spring game, with his tackle for loss and sack totals helping to account for four points in a scoring system that rewarded the defense for certain plays
● Named a Jonathan and Judy Hoff Scholar-Athlete of the Week
 
Freshman (2012)
● Redshirted
● Did not play
● Named the squad’s Scout Team Player of the Year on special teams
 
Bishop O’Dowd (Class of 2012)
● Recorded six tackles in the U.S. Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl and also played in the International Bowl following his 2011 senior season
● Won several honors as a senior highlighted by a first-team Division III All-State selection (MaxPreps) as well as a third-team All-State pick (ESPN High School California)
● Other honors in his senior season included All-Region (PrepStar, Superprep), All-Metro (San Francisco Chronicle), All-Area (Contra Costa Times) and All-Hayward Area Athletic League selections, while he was also on the Butkus Award Watch List for the nation’s top prep linebacker
● Recorded 153 tackles, 1.0 sack, one interception, three passes defended and one fumble recovery on defense as a senior, while adding 78 rushes for 453 yards and six TDs as well as eight receptions for 48 yards receiving on offense
● Had a strong 2010 junior season in which he recorded 116 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss, four passes defended and one fumble recovery on defense to earn HAAL Defensive Player of the Year honors, as well as All-State Underclassman, All-North Coast Section and All-HAAL selections
● Added nine rushes for 45 yards as well as 10 receptions for 95 yards receiving and one touchdown in his junior campaign
● Had 52 tackles and one interception on defense as a 2009 sophomore, while chipping in with seven receptions for 47 yards receiving and four rushes for 20 yards on offense
● Posted 68 tackles and two fumble recoveries as a 2008 freshman
● His last two prep teams both advanced to the second round of the North Coast Section playoffs, combined for a 19-5 overall record (10-2 as a junior; 9-3 as a senior) and a 14-0 HAAL mark with 7-0 records each season that produced back-to-back league titles
● Earned several academic honors as a prep as he was a two-time North Coast Section Scholar Athlete and HAAL All-Academic selection
● A California Scholarship Federation Life Member
● Named one of three National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Outstanding Scholar Athletes from Alameda County

Recruiting Notes (Class of 2012)
● A three-star recruit according to ESPN, MaxPreps and Rivals, while Scout and 247Sports gave him two stars each
● Ranked as the nation’s No. 38 inside linebacker by Rivals, while 247Sports had him No. 73 nationally at the position
● Scout ranked him as a middle linebacker at No. 79 nationally, while ESPN gave him a No. 109 ranking as an outside linebacker
● SuperPrep had him as the No. 139 player overall in California/Hawaii/Nevada
● Checked in as the state of California’s No. 90 overall recruit by Rivals, while ESPN listed him at No. 137 and 247Sports at No. 191

Other
● Full name is Hardy William Lindsay Nickerson
● Born January 5, 1994
● Parents are Hardy Otto Nickerson and Amy Nickerson, both Cal alums
● Father played 16 seasons in the NFL, earning four All-Pro and five Pro Bowl selections, is a member of the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, still ranks second on the school’s all-time list for tackles, and has coached at the NFL, college and prep level who is currently in his first season as the defensive coordinator at Illinois in 2016
● Coached by his father during his final two seasons at Bishop O’Dowd High School
● Twin sister Haleigh Nickerson is a fellow Cal alum
● Played his first football game at the age of eight at Lambeau Field as a member of a Green Bay Pop Warner team
● Attended eight different schools from kindergarten through his senior year of high school due to his father’s NFL career
● Ambidextrous as he both plays sports and throws with his right hand but writes with his left
● Graduated from Cal in May of 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in legal studies
 
Nickerson's Career Game Highs
Tackles: 16 (vs. Arizona State, 2015)
Tackles For Loss: 2.0 (three times, last at Washington State, 2014)
Tackle For Loss Yards: 9 (vs. Arizona, 2013)
Sacks: 1.0 (twice, last at Oregon, 2015)
Sack Yards: 7 (vs. Arizona, 2013)
Forced Fumbles: 1 (twice, last vs. UCLA, 2014)
Fumble Recoveries: 1 (three times, last at Washington, 2015)
Fumble Return Yards: 27 (vs. UCLA, 2014)
Long Fumble Return: 27 (vs. UCLA, 2014)
Interceptions: 1 (at USC, 2014)
Interception Return Yards: 8 (at USC, 2014)
Long Interception Return: 8 (at USC, 2014)
Quarterback Hurries: 1 (vs. Arizona, 2013)
Pass Breakups: 1 (at UCLA, 2013) 

Last Updated
June 14, 2016

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