Jared Goff and Hardy Nickerson are named Cal offensive and defensive MVPs, and Goff talks energy, bowl game

Jared Goff takes home offensive MVP honors, and talks about his future after bowl practice on Sunday.

Junior quarterback Jared Goff and junior linebacker Hardy Nickerson have been named 2015 Cal Football Offensive and Defensive MVPs, the school released on Sunday evening, following the annual team awards banquet at the newly-renovated Haas Pavilion.

Goff, a first-team All-Pac-12 quarterback -- the first since Aaron Rodgers in 2004 -- broke his own single-season school records in passing yards (4,252) and touchdown passes (37) through the team’s 12 regular-season contests, and will quarterback the Bears in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 29.

On a very cold (50 degrees) and rainy day on Sunday, Goff recalled the same time of year three years ago when he guided Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic to a North Coast Section win in the pouring rain against El Cerrito.

"Similar, very similar. It wasn't quite as cold, but it was similar," he laughed of the Division III title game on Dec. 2, 2012. "They won again," Goff continues, making sure to note the success of his alma mater, which won the NCS Div. IV title before losing to Modesto (Calif.) Central Catholic on Friday, thanks to 328 rushing yards by Justin Rice.

Despite the inclement weather, though, the Bears have shown quite a bit of spunk on the field, perhaps more than they've shown all season, during practice.

"We've had some time off, we've been able to get our legs back a little bit," Goff said. "I've been able to get my arm back a little bit, and that may be part of it, but I think it's just us being in a bowl game, for the first time in a long time, it's exciting. We're just excited for it. Practicing right now, instead of lifting and conditioning, is just so much more fun, and so much more rewarding. Everything about the season has just been so much more rewarding than the past few years."

Before the season, Goff said he wanted Roses, and he wanted The Axe. He may have to settle for the Armed Forces Bowl trophy, but he's happy with that, and considers the season a success.

"I think, making a bowl game is our next stepping stone as a program," Goff said. "When I first came in, they were 3-9, and I came in and we went 1-11 and it was kind of like, 'OK, let's start from the bottom; let's start from scratch.' To be able to come as far as we have, and have a chance to win eight games this year is very special, and if we win eight games this year, it's a successful season. We've already secured a winning season, but I think winning eight games would make it very successful. That's something that we've been looking forward to for a long time now, and it's exciting that we got a chance to do it. It's a really big turnaround from 1-11." 

Goff said that he, personally, has much more energy than at the end of the regular season, and it's due to having one more shot to play this season.

"Not running and lifting right now, and actually practicing with the guys still, we're still practicing, and it's so much more fun, and knowing that we have a reward at the end of the season, that we can go to Fort Worth and play a good Air Force team and have some fun down there, and enjoy the bowl situation, and then go out and get a W."

This coming week, Goff has one final and one paper left, in Sociology of Innovation and Entrepeneurship. After that, he'll be able to dedicate all his time to football.

"I'd like to be able to do well on this final, though," Goff says, his voice cracking just a bit. "It would help with my grade situation, but it's all good."

While Goff has been very vocal about not thinking about his professional future -- and the decision to come out early for the NFL Draft -- the wheels have begun to turn. The deadline to declare for the draft is Jan. 18.

Before declaring, many juniors apply for evaluation from the College Advisory committee, which consists of "senior personnel evaluators" from NFL teams, and directors of the league's two sanctioned scouting services (National Football Scouting and BLESTO). Players will receive one of the following three evaluations before deciding to come out early: First Round Pick, Second Round Pick, Stay in School.

"They took care of all that stuff," Goff said of the Cal staff. "I'm not sure what they did. I don't have much involvement."

Goff said his parents had no say in the matter, but instead that the Bears staff do that for "a lot of juniors, and we get some feedback, see where you're at."

Have they put in for that evaluation for him specifically? "I think so, yeah, I would assume," he said.

Goff leads the Pac-12 and ranks third in the nation in touchdown passes, while he is fourth nationally in passing yards per game (354.3) and fifth in passing yards.

He was voted the Cort Majors Team Captain, one of four this year, for the second straight season, and started all 12 games for the third straight season.

Goff is a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award, and this season has completed 316-of-492 passes for 4,252 yards with 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions for a 156.36 passing efficiency rating.

The junior signal caller leads the Pac-12 and ranks third in the nation in touchdown passes, while he is fourth nationally in passing yards per game (354.3); fifth in passing yards, total offense (355.0 ypg) and completions per game (26.33); seventh in points responsible for per game (19.2 ppg) and ninth in points responsible for (230), with all of the  numbers other than the league-leading touchdown passes second in the Pac-12.

Goff is the ninth Pac-12 player to throw for 4,000 or more yards in a season, and broke his own Cal single-game record with 542 yards passing -- the second-most in the nation in a single game this season -- while adding five passing TDs and picked up another single-game school record with 573 yards of total offense while leading Cal to a 48-46 comeback win against Arizona State in the regular-season finale.

Has played in and started all 36 games possible at Cal and holds 26 school records including career marks for passing yards (11,733), TD passes (90), total offense (11,635) and completions (952).

Nickerson Wins Defensive MVP

Nickerson, the son of NFL great Hardy Nickerson, Sr., and the first in his family to go to a bowl game, has a team-high 101 tackles in 2015 to become the first Cal player to record 100 stops or more in a season since Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks tallied 107 in 2011, when he won the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year award.

Nickerson has started in all 12 regular-season games, and that, along with his 107 tackles, are both career bests.

Nickerson had a season-high 16 stops against the Sun Devils, and has double-digit tops in five of the team's last seven games.

Nickerson is the Bears' active career leader with 235 tackles over 34 games and 26 starts, and is tied with safety Stefan McClure as the team's leader among current players with three fumble recoveries, in addition to 9.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, one interception, one pass breakup and two forced fumbles.

He is 23 tackles from entering Cal's all-time top 10 in that category, a group that includes his father's second-place 501 tackles from 1983-86.

Other Award Winners

Stephen Anderson: Ken Cotton Award (Most Courageous Player)

Chris Borrayo: Andy Smith Award (Player with the Most Big C Playing Time)

Aaron Cochran: Bob Tessier Award (Most Improved Lineman)

Jeffrey Coprich: Ted Agu Award (Player Demonstrating a Commitment to Community Service)

Fabiano Hale: Dink Artal Award (Scout Team Player of the Year - Offense)

Kyle Kragen: Stub Allison Award (Player Demonstrating Commitment in Strength and Conditioning)

Puka Lopa: Ken Harvey Award (Player Demonstrating Academic Commitment and Improvement)

Daniel Lasco: Cort Majors Team Captain

Jared Goff: Cort Majors Team Captain, Bear Backers MVP - Offense

Stefan McClure: Cort Majors Team Captain, Joe Roth Award (Player Who Best Exemplifies Courage, Sportsmanship and Attitude)

Hardy Nickerson: Bear Backers MVP - Defense, Cort Majors Team Captain

Griffin Piatt: Frank Schlessinger Coaches Award (Player Who Demonstrates Outstanding Athletic Ability and Academic Success)

Jordan Rigsbee: Brick Muller Award (Most Valuable Lineman), Cort Majors Team Captain

Cameron Saffle: Clint Evans Award (Most Intense Freshman Competitor)

Bryce Treggs: Berkeley Breakfast Club Award (Outstanding Player in the Big Game)

Trey Turner: Bob Simmons Award (Most Valuable Freshman)

Russell Ude: Dink Artal Award (Scout Team Player of the Year - Defense)

Patrick Worstell: J. Scott Duncan Award (Most Valuable Special Teams Player)

“The players honored tonight are standouts from an exceptional group of student-athletes in our football program,” head coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “I am proud of all of our student-athletes and appreciative of their hard work and dedication to get our program to the level it is today.”

2015 CAL FOOTBALL INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS

From Cal's release:

Stephen Anderson, TE, 6-3, 230, Sr, 3L, San Jose, CA/Piedmont Hills HS

Ken Cotton Award (Most Courageous Player)

  • Leads all Cal receivers with 11 starts and has played in all 12 games
  • Has contributed 40 receptions for 460 yards and two touchdown catches as a 2015 senior
  • Second consecutive Ken Cotton Award selection after also capturing the honor in 2014

Chris Borrayo, OL, 6-3, 310, Jr., 2L, Paramount, CA/Paramount HS

Andy Smith Award (Player With Most Big C Playing Time)

  • Earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors
  • Has started a career-high 12 games without missing any contests
  • Has helped the Bears break single-season school records in 2015 for total offense (6,293), passing yardage (4,425) and passing touchdowns (38) that were previously set in 2014
  • Has led the way on the offensive line for an offensive unit that ranks fifth nationally in passing offense (368.8 ypg) and eighth in total offense (524.4 ypg)
  • Has started 28 career games all at left guard

Aaron Cochran, OL, 6-8, 340, So., SQ, Atwater, CA/Buhach Colony HS

Bob Tessier Award (Most Improved Lineman)

  • Registered a career-high of 11 games played and also made the first five starts of his career including each of the last three contests after taking over as the team’s starter at left tackle
  • Played a key role on the offensive line for an offensive unit that ranks fifth nationally in passing offense (368.8 ypg) and eighth in total offense (524.4 ypg) while the team’s numbers in both categories rose significantly during his five starts to 415.4 yards per game of passing offense and 566.0 in total offense

Jeffrey Coprich, RB, 5-8, 175, Jr., 1L, Watts, CA/West Ranch HS/Golden Valley HS

Ted Agu Award (Player Demonstrating A Commitment To Community Service)

  • One of Cal’s most active participants in community service
  • Has been especially inspired by a tragedy during his childhood on his third birthday in 1996 when his seven-year-old sister, Essence, lost her life in a car accident that he survived
  • Shortly after his sister’s passing along with help from his family founded the Essence K. Coprich Book Club in honor of Essence that was started in conjunction with the I Am Foundation (iamfoundation.org) at 116th Street Elementary School in the Watts area of Los Angeles
  • Active in many areas of having books donated to the Essence K. Coprich Library at 116th Street Elementary School

Fabiano Hale, RB, 5-11, 225, So., SQ, Santa Cruz, CA/Soquel HS

Dink Artal Award (Scout Team Player Of The Year – Offense)

  • Instrumental in his work of preparing a Cal defense that was improved in several areas including most significantly turnovers gained for opposing offenses by taking on the role as the opponent’s top running back
  • Also played in five games off the bench as a backup running back and on special teams, contributing five rushes for 24 yards along with one tackle

Kyle Kragen, DE, 6-2, 245, Sr., 1L, Danville, CA/Diablo Valley College/San Ramon Valley HS

Stub Allison Award (Player Demonstrating Commitment In Strength And Conditioning)

  • Dedicated to strength and conditioning after missing the entire 2014 season due to illness
  • Posted weight room numbers of 500 pounds in the squat, 385 in the bench and 370 in the power clean
  • One of five Cal players to start all 12 regular-season games on defense and leads the squad in tackles for loss (7.0, -39 yards), sacks (6.0, -32 yards) and quarterback hurries (5) while ranking second on the club with 65 tackles and adding his first career forced fumble and pass breakup with all the numbers career highs
  • Earned his first career Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honor at Washington
  • Has career totals of 93 tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss (-51 yards) and 9.0 sacks (-47 yards) over 24 games played and 17 starts

Daniel Lasco, RB, 6-1, 205, Sr., 3L, The Woodlands, TX/The Woodlands HS

Cort Majors Team Captain

  • Voted on as a team captain by his teammates for the second straight season as a 2015 senior as he has contributed 360 all-purpose yards with 331 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground, four receptions for 24 yards, and one kick return for five yards as well as four tackles with a career-high three stops against USC as a 2015 senior despite missing four games and being limited in others due to injuries
  • Has 2,395 career all-purpose yards over 40 career games and 15 starts including 1,872 rushing yards on 348 carries, 48 receptions for 458 yards and five kick returns for 25 yards, while also adding 25 tackles primarily on special teams

Puka Lopa, DE, 6-1, 250, Sr., 3L, Sacramento, CA/Grant HS

Ken Harvey Award (Player Demonstrating Academic Commitment And Improvement)

  • On track to graduate from Cal in December of 2015 with a bachelor's degree in social welfare
  • Has 11 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss (-9 yards), 1.0 sack (-7 yards) and one quarterback hurry as a 2015 senior

Stefan McClure, S, 5-11, 205, Sr., 3L, Vista, CA/Vista HS

Cort Majors Team Captain

Joe Roth Award (Player Who Best Exemplifies Courage, Sportsmanship and Attitude)

  • The only player in Cal history to have served as a captain for three seasons
  • Earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors for the first time in his career as a 2015 senior as he has career highs of 12 games played, 12 starts, 52 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss (-11 yards), as well as his first career sack (-9 yards) and one fumble recovery against Washington State that he returned a career-long 45 yards for his first career touchdown and two pass breakups
  • Earned his first career Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honor vs. Washington State
  • Has played in 36 games with 27 career starts over his five campaigns with the program despite missing 25 contests including the entire 2012 season due to injury suffered at Arizona State in the final regular-season game of his 2011 true freshman campaign
  • Was on the Wuerffel Trophy watch list and Cal’s nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®, both honors for community service

Griffin Piatt, S, 6-3, 205, Jr., 1L, Moraga, CA/Campolindo HS

Frank Schlessinger Coaches Award (Player Who Demonstrates Outstanding Athletic Ability And Academic Success)

  • Earned first-team Pac-12 All-Academic honors for the second straight season as a 2015 junior with a 3.62 cumulative GPA as a business administration major
  • Recorded 21 tackles, one interception, two pass breakups and one fumble recovery over seven games and one start as a 2015 junior after returning from a season-ending injury suffered as a 2014 sophomore that also caused him to miss the first four contests of 2015
  • Also suffered an injury that ended his 2015 junior season early in the 11th game of the campaign at Stanford

Jordan Rigsbee, OL, 6-5, 300, Sr., 3L, Chico, CA/Pleasant Valley HS)

Brick Muller Award (Most Valuable Lineman)

Cort Majors Team Captain

  • Has started a career-high-tying 12 games without missing any contests as a 2015 senior and has the opportunity to establish a new career-high in the Armed Forces Bowl
  • Has helped the Bears break single-season school records in 2015 for total offense (6,293), passing yardage (4,425) and passing touchdowns (38) that were previously set in 2014
  • Has helped lead the way on the offensive line for an offensive unit that ranks fifth nationally in passing offense (368.8 ypg) and eighth in total offense (524.4 ypg)
  • Leads all active Cal players with 48 starts and is the only Cal player to have started every game possible over the last four seasons as well as one of only two active Cal players to have participated in each of those 48 contests with the other being punter Cole Leininger
  • Has split his 48 career starts on the offensive line between four different positions, starting his first 16 games at left guard, his next eight at center, his next 12 at right tackle and his most recent 12 in 2015 at right guard

Cameron Saffle, DE, 6-3, 240, Fr., HS, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS

Clint Evans Award (Most Intense Freshman Competitor)

  • Returned from injury to make his Cal debut in the sixth game of the his 2015 true freshman season at Utah and played in each of the last seven games off the bench
  • Recorded 10 tackles including his first career sack (-3 yards) in the regular-season finale against Arizona State while adding his first career tackle for loss with 0.5 against USC (-2 yards)

Bryce Treggs, WR, 6-0, 185, Sr., 3L, Inglewood, CA/St. John Bosco HS

Berkeley Breakfast Club Award (Outstanding Player in the Big Game)

  • Recorded a game-high-tying and season-high seven receptions and a game-high 102 yards receiving with one touchdown catch at Stanford to earn the honor
  • Has a team-high and career-best 813 yards receiving on 41 catches with six touchdown receptions to rank tied for second on the team over 12 games and five starts as a 2015 senior
  • Has the team’s highest yards per reception average as a senior at 19.8, the longest catch with an 80-yarder at Oregon and the highest single-game receiving yards total with a career-high 147 in the regular-season finale against Arizona State
  • Has three of his seven career 100-yard receiving games over the final four regular-season contests of 2015
  • Ranks fourth all-time at Cal with 191 receptions, fifth with 2,363 yards receiving and 10th with 14 touchdown catches
  • Moved past his father, Brian Treggs, in receptions and yards receiving during his 2015 senior season and is one scoring grab away from the 15 touchdown receptions his father recorded from 1988-91
  • Has a current streak of at least one reception in each of his last 38 games to rank tied for sixth in the country as well as 44 of his 45 career contests that have included 32 starts

Trey Turner, DB, 6-0, 180, Fr., HS, Mobile, AL/Murphy HS

Bob Simmons Award (Most Valuable Freshman)

  • Has played in all 12 games off the bench on special teams and as a defensive back as a true freshman in 2015 and contributed 10 tackles, as well as his first career tackle for loss (-3 yards) and interception

Russell Ude, DT, 6-3, 260, Fr., HS, Atlanta, GA/The Westminster School

Dink Artal Award (Scout Team Player Of The Year – Defense)

  • Instrumental in his work of preparing Cal’s offensive for opposing offenses

Patrick Worstell, WR, 6-2, 190, Jr., 1L, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS

J Scott Duncan Award (Most Valuable Special Teams Player)

  • Has played over 200 special teams snaps and totaled six tackles while playing in all 12 games off the bench
  • Named Cal’s Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance at Texas including a team-high 19 special teams reps


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