Je'Quari Godfrey's first season playing football was 2015. He'd been a lifelong basketball player, a shooting guard. His last game on the court? A state title win by Ivan Rabb's side for Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd.
A year later, and Godfrey has an all-league nod under his belt, and two scholarship offers.
On Wednesday, Godfrey got his second scholarship offer -- for football -- from Rabb's current school: California.
"I'm very, very excited," Godfrey told BearTerritory on Wednesday night. "It's big news for me. This is what I've been waiting for, and now that it's actually happened, it's crazy. It's the first school I really came up watching play anything, so it's the first thing I've known, as far as college sports go."
The offer followed his Junior Day trip to Berkeley earlier this month, when he finally got to see beyond the stands -- inside the facility, through the weight room, and inside the locker room.
Oh, man, the visit was amazing," Godfrey said. "Of course, I'd been on campus, and I'd been to games, but the in-depth tour and everything, I never had any experience like that. It was the first time seeing anything like that. It was amazing."
Godfrey has one other offer -- from Hawaii -- but this one is going to be tough to beat.
"As far as making a decision, I don't know where I'm at right now," said Godfrey. "I talked with my mom and everything, about what would be a good fit for me, but Cal, that's a great school, a great football program. it's a great offer to have, and I'm really excited."
At 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Godfrey is done playing basketball, but going out on a state title was "not bad, at all," he laughed. Now, football is front of mind, and Godfrey is front-of-mind for the Bears, too, especially seeing how his athleticism translated from the hardwood to the gridiron.
"It's everything," Godfrey said. "It's all I've been doing all my life. I've always been just basketball, and that's where all my athleticism comes into play, is from basketball."
There are plenty of translatable skills from hoops to cornerback -- the backpedaling, the side-to-side movement, the footwork -- and that's what Cal likes.
"That's exactly what the coaches told me," said Godfrey, who spent much of his Junior Day visit with cornerbacks coach John Lovett, who head coach Sonny Dykes said, despite being "104 years-old, he's one of our best recruiters."
"Coach Lovett, I was with him for a good part of the day, actually," Godfrey said. "I got to meet with him, got to have a position meeting, sit down, see how practice would go, and we ran through the routine of a day of being a Cal cornerback. I spent a lot of time speaking with him, really closely, so it was good getting to know him and developing a relationship with him."
What makes Lovett such a good recruiter?
"Nothing against the younger guys, but coach Lovett, he knows what he's doing, and has so much experience under his belt, being a college coach, an NFL coach, traveling everywhere," Godfrey said. "He really knows the craft of coaching football, and has a great idea of what he's doing."
Coaching is going to be important for a player like Godfrey, who already has long arms and a smooth gait -- the perfect DNA for a big corner.
"They said I have great balance on the field, great hips, I'm long, tall body, and really fast," said Godfrey, who's recently run a 4.4 40. "And, they said I had great ball skills."
That 4.4 40? Godfrey said he can get even faster. He hasn't had any return experience -- just special teams reps as a gunner -- but, if all goes according to plan, he'll be taking back kicks and punts this year for the Dragons.
"My first season, I played strictly cornerback, and I played special teams, but not returning punts," Godfrey said. "This year, I'm expected to return."
This season, Godfrey had 20 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 58 interception return yards on four picks and three passes defended. Not bad for his first year on the field.
"I'd always wanted to try football, but things came up at times, and I never had the chance to, but junior year came around, and I was able to," Godfrey said. "When school started, I had wanted to get my grades up, and have everything correct, first, and this year, I was able to do that, and I played."null