Former Cal quarterback Zach Kline returns to Berkeley to compete for the starting job

BERKELEY -- Zach Kline returns to Berkeley to compete for the starting quarterback job after two years in the wilderness.

BERKELEY -- California head coach Sonny Dykes announced on Tuesday that Zach Kline -- the former four-star Under Armour All-American and 2012 signee, who lost the competition to start to Jared Goff in the spring of 2013, then transferred to Butte College and then to Indiana State, will re-join the Bears this spring to take another crack at that starting job.

Kline reached out to Dykes, after transferring to Cal to finish his undergrad degree after playing in just three games for Indiana State this past season, asked if he could come back to the team.

Kline went 6-of-13 for the Sycamores, with 47 yards and no touchdowns.

He told BearTerritory at the time of his transfer that he solely intended on finishing his degree, and then finding a place to transfer for a graduate season, but given Goff's departure, and the open quarterback competition this spring, Kline wanted to take another go at winning the job. "I said, 'I want to make sure we manage expectations,' for him and for everybody," Dykes said. "Zach's a great kid, a very hard-working kid, a popular rkid. I met with him, I asked him to meet with Damon Harrington, because he has a good sense for what's going on with the team, and he met with Damon and then Damon gave me the OK. At that point, I said, 'Yeah, we'd love to have you back.' He'll go through spring ball, and we'll see what happens."

Kline will be a non-scholarship player, and will wear No. 17, instead of the weighty No. 8 he wore when he first arrived in Berkeley.

"Zach handled the first time here really with a lot of maturity, and it didn't go the way he wanted, and I was really proud of the way he handled it," Dykes said. "That's hard to do, sometimes, when you're a young guy. He wants to come back, be a part of this team, graduate with the guys he came in with. It was important to him. We sat down and talked about it, and I said I was happy that he decided to come back."

Dykes has no idea what to expect from Kline, who hasn't seen Division I action since 2013. He will compete with Max GilliamChase ForrestLuke Rubenzer and Ross Bowers for the starting quarterback job.

"I don't have any idea. I expect him to try his best, and we'll see what happens from there," Dykes said.

In 2013, Kline played in six games off the bench, completing 43-of-82 passes (52.4%) for 443 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions for a 100.14 quarterback rating, while rushing 13 times for 14 yards. In his Cal debut, Kline completed 18-of-37 passes for 165 yards (all career highs) with one touchdown and one interception in against Oregon, a game in which Goff struggled in heavy rain to grasp the ball.

Will Kline be on the roster in the fall?

"I don't know. We'll just kind of see where it takes us," Dykes said. "That's one thing I've learned: I don't draw a whole lot of conclusions. Sometimes, you have to let things play out and see what happens."

In order for Kline to be eligible in the fall, he'd have to be a graduate student at Cal, which means finishing his degree this spring and summer, and enrolling in a graduate program.

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