Friday marks the 70-day mark in the countdown to California’s third season under head coach Sonny Dykes, and all eyes are on junior quarterback Jared Goff, who will accompany Dykes to the Pac-12 Media Days in Los Angeles, where the Bears are scheduled to take the podium on July 31 at Warner Bros. Studios.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper named Goff the second-best quarterback in the Pac-12, after our own Scout experts came to that conclusion weeks ago. Should he decide to forgo his senior season, Goff could very well be the first quarterback taken from Cal in the NFL Draft since Aaron Rodgers in 2005.
Goff was ranked by Scout as the No. 6 quarterback in all of college football. He was also named to the All-Pac-12 Preseason Second-Team by Phil Steele.
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Kiper ranked Goff as the No. 1 underclassman quarterback in all of college football, over Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg. The two actually squared off once upon a time at the Elite 11 in Redondo Beach, Calif., before their senior seasons, and both were named to the final group.
Also among that group was USC’s Max Browne, who was rated a five-star. Brown has played in six games off the bench, with seven passing attempts for the Trojans. Browne was rated the No. 1 quarterback in the land in that class, while Goff was rated a four-star, and the No. 21 quarterback in that class.
Goff is set to demolish even more records than the 19 he currently holds as he readies to embark on his junior season.
His totals for passing yardage and touchdown passes in 2014 are also both seventh on the all-time Pac-12 single-season rankings.
Last season, Goff ranked among the nation’s top 10 in six individual categories including passing touchdowns (5th, 35), passing yards (5th, 3973), passing yards per game (5th, 331.1), completions per game (5th, 26.33), total offense (8th, 327.4) and points responsible for per game (9th, 18.0), with his passing yards and passing yards per game both second in the Pac-12 and his passing touchdowns third.
Other single-season Cal records that fell at Goff’s feet in 2014 include touchdowns responsible for (35), 300-yard passing games (7), consecutive 300-yard passing games (6) and most consecutive passes without an interception (185), with the latter two also all-time school records.
The Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic alum also set three single-game school records in 2014 with 527 passing yards against Washington State, seven regulation touchdown passes and seven regulation touchdowns responsible for against Colorado, while his 92-yard completion to Daniel Lasco in the same contest is the longest pass play in school history.
Now, let’s take a look at where Goff stands in the pantheon of great Cal quarterbacks.
Goff’s career totals of 7,481 passing yards, 53 passing touchdowns and 7,375 yards of total offense are all third in school history.
Next up on the all-time rolls are some of the greatest signal callers in Bears history. Kyle Boller currently ranks second in passing yards (7,980), meaning that Goff should pass him within the first two weeks of the season. First in career passing yards is Troy Taylor, with 8,126 yards, which Goff should blow by before the halfway mark of his junior campaign.
Next up on the career passing touchdowns list are Pat Barnes (54) and Boller (64). Both of those should also be eclipsed before the halfway mark of the season, if not in the first four games.
As far as total offense, Boller (7,811) and Taylor (8,236) stand in Goff’s way.
Goff has already registered all-time school records with 12 career 300-yard passing performances and 17 250-yard passing games. Goff has completed 636-of-1040 passes (61.2%) in his career with 17 interceptions for a 135.13 passer efficiency rating that ranks fourth on Cal’s all-time list, behind Pat Barnes (136.2), Dave Barr (142.6) and Aaron Rodgers (150.3).
A good quarterback is nothing without good receivers, and Goff has repeatedly said that this group could be among one of the best in the country.
The Bears return 3,066 of the 3,700 receiving yards by wide outs from last season – more than all but 52 Football Bowl Subdivision teams totaled last season in passing offense -- and 232 of the 284 catches from receivers.
Heading the returners among the receiving corps are All-Pac-12 Preseason third-teamers Kenny Lawler (RS Jr.) and Bryce Treggs (Sr.).
Also coming back is All-Pac-12 third-team kick returner Trevor Davis, who could be among the fastest receivers in the Pac-12. In his first season since transferring from Hawaii, Davis had at least one catch in nine of the 10 games he played, with three catches for 50 yards or more, catching 24 balls overall for 399 yards and five touchdowns. Davis should get even more love this year, with the departure of Chris Harper.
Lawler led Cal with career highs of 54 receptions, 701 yards receiving and nine touchdown catches in 2014, and leads all active Bears with 14 career touchdowns, ranking ninth on the school’s all-time list.
Treggs returns as Cal’s active career leader with 150 receptions and 1,550 yards receiving, while he also leads all current Bears receivers in starts (27) and is tied for first among receivers in games played (33). As a sophomore, he led Cal with a career-high 77 catches, ranking fourth on the school’s all-time single-season list.
In 2014, Treggs caught 52 balls for 583 yards and six touchdowns – a career-high.
Also returning is senior Maurice Harris, who brings 464 all-purpose yards in the past three seasons, with 41 catches for 451 yards.
Goff will also have the services of a very deep incoming class of receivers, highlighted by four-star Carlos Strickland, who ranked as the No. 14 wide receiver in the 2015 class. Though unheralded, Goff also has at his disposal reliable inside men Stephen Anderson, Darius Powe and Ray Hudson, who all tallied 100 yards or more receiving last season, and who combined for 1,113 yards.
He has the tools. He has the talent. The only real question here is: Can he get the Bears back to the postseason? We’ll find out, starting in 70 days.