Now that Cal quarterback Jared Goff has declared for the 2016 NFL Draft, where does he stand?

We take a look back at Jared Goff's career, and why he's so coveted by NFL teams ...

California quarterback Jared Goff is headed for the NFL. He announced his decision -- which, according to sources, has been made for weeks, now -- on Thursday at a press conference in Berkeley.

"After much deliberation with my family and close friends, I've decided to forego my senior season and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft," Goff said, fighting back tears. "This is going to be hard."

He read a statement, twice having to stop and collect himself.

"None of this would be possible without those guys in that locker room," Goff said. "I'm so proud to be a Golden Bear for life.

"I didn't think I would be [emotional], but all the people that had an impact on me, it's hard to put it into words, and that's why I've been emotional. Thinking about my teammates and all the fun we've had, it's hard to say goodbye to that."

After much deliberation with my family and close friends I've decided to forego my senior season at Cal and declare for the 2016 NFL Draft. This decision was not an easy one by any means. When you are a student-athlete at the No. 1 public university in the world and part of a tremendous football program it is really hard to postpone finishing school and getting your degree while playing one final season with your best friends. With that being said, I feel ready to take the next step in my football career and am excited about what the future holds.

Playing football and attending school at Cal has been by far the best experience of my life – from what I've learned in the classroom to the lifetime friendships and bonds I've made. 

It would be nearly impossible to thank everyone I want to but I need to make sure to thank several people who have helped me get to this point and who I owe a lot of my success to. First is the Cal football family, community and fan base. The overwhelming amount of support I've received over the years has meant the world to me and I can't thank you all enough. Secondly, I want to thank coach [Jeff] Tedford and coach [Marcus] Arroyo for initially offering me a scholarship and recruiting me to Cal. I also want to thank our AD Mike Williams and our Associate AD Chris Pezman for all they have done for me since I’ve been here. Next I would like to thank the entire support staff and coaching staff for all they do for me and our team behind the scenes that no one really knows about. I want to thank everyone on the strength and training staff for working relentlessly with me to improve my strength and speed, help me rehab from my shoulder surgery two years ago, and develop an individual eating schedule to help me gain the weight I needed to over the past three years.

I also want to thank two of my high schools coaches – coach Maz and coach Munoz – for developing me and getting me ready for college.

I want to individually thank coach Dykes for continuing to recruit me, believing in me from the start and always sticking by my side through both the tough times and the great times. He's been there from the start with me and I feel as if we have gone through everything together. I want to thank coach Franklin for having a significant impact on my life from a football aspect as well as the overall life lessons he has taught me. I've never had a coach change my life and my outlook on things the way he has over the past three years. He has taught me so much about myself and has guided me through the process of being a Division I quarterback week in and week out. I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am now without these two coaches and appreciate everything they have done for me.

I would also like to thank my family and friends for their endless support over the past few years. I couldn't imagine having a better support crew. In particular I want to thank my dad, Jerry; mom, Nancy; and sister, Lauren, for always being there for me and helping me along this bumpy but amazing journey.

Lastly, and most importantly I want to thank my teammates. Over the last three years we have been through so much together and that has only brought us closer as I have formed lifelong friendships with so many of my fellow student-athletes on the team. These guys are my brothers and I owe everything to them as they have been one of well over 100 pieces of a puzzle just as I have been. As successful as I have been able to be here, none of it would've been possible without every single one of the guys in that locker room. I am so incredibly proud to be on this team with these guys and to be able to call myself a Golden Bear for life. -- Jared Goff's Statement

Goff -- whose special relationship with former roommate Ray Hudson is the stuff buddy comedies are made of -- said that Hudson texted him this morning: "Did you change your mind after a long night's sleep? You still haven't thrown me a touchdown, yet."

"I am excited for Jared and his family as they move into their next challenge," offensive coordinator Tony Franklin said in a statement. "I include his family because I firmly believe that Jerry and Nancy have played an integral role in molding Jared into one of the best quarterbacks to ever play college football. But more important is how they raised him to being a really good human being with a heart and soul that all parents should strive for their children to possess. It has been a beautiful adventure traveling this journey with Jared and watching him develop from a skinny kid – who was extremely well coached in high school, to a young man with elite leadership skills that blended perfectly with his physical talent."

Goff leaves with a mountain of numbers beneath his feet in his three years in Berkeley, and while Goff said, at the start of this season, that he wanted The Axe, and he wanted Roses, he's content with how this year -- and his career -- have ended.

"I'm happy with where we are," Goff says. "One thing I wanted to do when I got here was turn it around, and that's what we've done. We've made progress in the right direction. It's just another stepping stone. "When I got here, we were coming off a 3-9 season, and then we went 1-11, and it was probably a lot worse than people think, honestly. It was just, there was guys, coaches, I don't know, it just wasn't fun. 1-11 is just about as bad as you could get. It was just harder, I think, than people made it seem. You go 1-11, and people think, 'Oh, the season's just over; you can go to the offseason.' It was tough, because you had to regroup. I wouldn't say it was worse than people think; it was harder than people think. I went into every game thinking we were going to win. Last year was tough, too, coming one game short. We lose on a Hail Mary, lose on the last play of the game against BYU, and it was tough. This year, I think we did a lot of things that we wanted to do. We knew that we were going to be pretty good this year, and two games could have gone either way."

Goff set 26 Cal records including career marks for passing yards (12,220), touchdown passes (96), total offense (12,086) and completions (977) while starting all 37 games possible at Cal and is the only quarterback in school history to have ever started his first game as a true freshman in 2013.

After the bowl win over Air Force, he sat and took stock.

"These two guys on my left are two guys I'll never forget," he said, looking at Bryce Treggs and Stefan McClure. "Two of my brothers, two of my teammates. And they went on a ride with me as well. As well as there's 20, 30, 40 guys who have been here for three years or probably even more that have been on the same journey. And it's been a lot of fun. To go from 1-11 to last year being so close and this year winning eight games and finishing with a bowl victory, it's really as much as you could ask for. And it's been a lot of fun.

The Numbers

He established single-season Pac-12 records for touchdown passes (43) and passing yards (4,719) while completing a single-season school-record 341 of his 529 attempts with 13 interceptions for a 161.30 passing efficiency rating that ranked second on Cal’s single-season list as a 2015 junior, while also setting single-season school records for touchdowns responsible for (43), total offense (4,711) and total plays (585). Goff became the first Cal quarterback to earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors since Aaron Rodgers in 2004 as a 2015 junior and was also selected Cal’s Bear Backers Team MVP on offense.

“I’ve heard people say he’s better than Aaron Rodgers at this stage," said former Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory, now the defensive coordinator at Washington. "I don’t know about that, but I do know he’s really good. I’ve never been in the NFL, but I’ve been in college for a while and this kid seems like a no-brainer. He can really put the ball in a tight window, and he can do it under pressure with a quick release.”

Goff broke Rodgers's Cal bowl game passing yardage record with 467 in his swan song against Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Goff became the ninth Pac-12 player to throw for 4,000 or more yards in a season in 2015, while he is one of six players in conference history to throw for 3,000 or more yards in three seasons and the second to throw for 3,000 or more yards in each of his first three campaigns.

On Tuesday, Goff led Cal to its first bowl victory since 2008 as well as its first winning record since 2011 during a 2015 junior season that began with a 5-0 start that was the Golden Bears’ best since also winning their first five games in 2007 and one victory away from their best since the 1950 team won its first nine contests, ranking as high as No. 19 in the Amway Coaches Poll and No. 20 in the AP Top 25 in the Week 8 national rankings for its highest national rankings in six seasons. 

"I'm happy to be here right now," Goff said at the end of the season. "I think we did a pretty good job. If the ball bounces a couple different ways, a couple different times, maybe we're sitting at 9-3 [headed into the Armed Forces Bowl], or maybe win 10 games, but that's how it goes. We had a Texas kicker miss a PAT that would have sent it to overtime, probably, and then we beat Washington by a touchdown. We had a bunch of close games both ways, so it kind of evens out. You would like to win all the games, but you can't, all the time. You want to win all of them, but you can't."

Goff finishes 2015 with a 161.30 passer efficiency rating, and finishes his Cal career with a 143.95 mark that rank second on Cal’s single-season and career lists.

Goff had 268 yards passing or more and at least two touchdown passes in each of his last 14 contests and all 13 in 2015 most recently when he was named Cal’s Most Outstanding Player of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in which he set the bowl’s single-game records by passing for 467 yards and six touchdowns.

He broke his own Cal single-game school record with 542 yards passing while adding five passing TDs and picked up another single-game school mark with 573 yards of total offense while leading Cal to a 48-46 comeback victory over Arizona State on November 28 to earn Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time in three weeks.

Before that, Goff earned Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career in Cal’s 54-24 victory over Oregon State, equaling his own school mark for touchdown passes in regulation with six that along with the six vs. Air Force are tied for the third-most in a game in the nation in 2015. 

In his final three wins (Oregon State, Arizona State, Air Force), Goff combined for 1,462 yards passing and 17 touchdown passes to a single interception for a 206.33 passer efficiency rating while completing 81-of-125 passes (64.8%).

We know the numbers -- his 26 school records, his Pac-12 record-breaking 43 touchdown passes this past season, his 96 career TD strikes -- but where is he going to take his talents?

When you talk Cal and the NFL, the first name you go to is Mike Silver, of the NFL Network, and I chatted with him about what Goff's prospects look like.

"I've been talking to GMs and personnel executives and scouts and coaches about Jared, non-stop, constantly, for months," Silver says, and those talks have not all been initiated by him. In fact, for the most part, teams have been asking Silver about the Bears' Golden Boy.

Why is Goff so coveted?

He came up in high school as a pro-style drop-back quarterback, but he can also be mobile, when asked, as we've seen with several designed runs this season, and a sprinkling of such plays over the two prior years. He's played in a shotgun spread, obviously, the past three years.

He's shown an ability to slide in the pocket, step up in the pocket, manipulate the pocket, feel pressure instead of having to see it, sensing how close opposing defenders are, and making good decisions with the ball. He's not a gun-slinger or a risk-taker, but he can also fit the ball into very tight windows, and has shown an ability to put the ball where only his receiver can get it. He has a high, quick release and is unfazed by heavy blitzes, as he showed during the 21-point comeback against Arizona State in the season finale.

"[Goff]'s certainly tall enough, more than tall enough," Silver says." I'm not a scout, but he's got a great release, he makes really good decisions, he decides quickly, he throws a hell of a ball. The things they're going to pore over and ask about him are how tough is he? How would he handle the job? To me, a lot of the toughness stuff has been answered, for those of us who watch him, closely, whether it's putting your shoulder down against Washington to win that game, or hanging tough when the program's downtrodden, to help to elevate it, which is a hard, hard thing to do."

Head coach Sonny Dykes said of Goff, "He's been a great model for all of us. He continues to get hit, and jump on up, go play another play."

Safety Stefan McClure says of Goff, "When we look at some of those throws, man, he’s standing in there, in the pocket, taking shots, doing everything he can to help our offense get down the field, and he makes great throws.”

Goff has had to deal with an offensive line that has allowed 27 or more sacks each of the last three years -- 2.4 per game. While the 27 sacks in 2015 was fifth-fewest in the conference, the 27 last year were third fewest, and the 35 in 2013 were the third-most in the league.

"In Jared's final season of 2015, he had complete freedom to change routes, protections, and schemes – more than any quarterback I've coached in my 35 years in this business," said Franklin. "I gave him this freedom because he earned it and it helped us to win more games.

What Are the Knocks?

Any time you look at gaudy quarterback numbers, the first question that's asked is: What was the system?

The Tony Franklin System is obviously very heavy on the pass, and Goff has piled up a lot of yards because the Bears were down late in games, but if you scout on numbers alone, you'll lose your job, in this business. As the NFL works more and more spread concepts into its game, the question about college offensive systems will cease to be asked, but at this point, it's still perhaps the only thing that could hold some teams back.

"I would say the answer is, in 2016 football, he's not alone," Silver says. "There's going to be a lot of that this year. That doesn't mean it's not a fair question, but it's not an uncommon question, and my instincts tell me that, when people meet the kid, and they watch the film, and they see what he looks like in a workout, I think they're going to be really impressed."

"The NFL is sometimes referred to as a 'different game' than college," Franklin said in a statement. "It really isn't. I hope Jared gets lucky and ends up with one of the few coaches in that league who recognize a skill set and develop it, rather than one who only criticizes his college experiences and attempts to make football a much more complicated game than it really is. Regardless, he will succeed and flourish in any system. Congrats to all of Jared's teammates, as this unique professional experience that Jared is traveling through would have never happened without his teammates and their efforts."

Goff, while certainly tall enough, probably needs to add about 10-15 pounds to his frame. Dykes said Goff should be 230 pounds by the time all is said and done.

Goff still has his father's height and his mother's metabolism, so declaring early, withdrawing from school and training are his best bet to get bigger and stronger before the Pro Day in March, and the NFL Scouting Combine. He'll be doing his training down in Irvine, Calif., with Rep1 Sports. 

"They ask me more questions than they make declarative statements," Silver says of NFL GMs. "I think he's somebody who's clearly in the top two quarterbacks right now, for what that's worth. My instincts tell me that he'll end up as the top one, unless it's one of those weird years where the whole world decides that no quarterback is going to be a stud on the NFL level, which would shock me. I think that means he's probably going top two, top three, maybe top one."

So, where is Goff headed? Click below.

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