In January, shortly after Jared Goff declared for the NFL Draft, he was working out in Los Angeles, on the campus of San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra, bringing Bryce Treggs with him, across from him was Newport Beach (Calif.) Corona Del Mar.
"He wasn't tense, going into the draft," said that young quarterback -- now-Cal commit Chase Garbers. "You'd think he'd be tense, but he was laid back, having fun with it, and getting his work in. The first time, I was like, 'Dang, this is Jared Goff. This is a big deal.' He always had the tightest spirals. He never threw a bad ball."
One of Goff's trainers at the time was also a coach at Corona Del Mar -- Karif Byrd. Garbers would work out with Goff twice more, picking the future first-overall pick's brain every chance he got.
"We worked out three times, and he gave me the ins and outs of Cal, stuff about coach Dykes that you wouldn't normally hear from reporters, how his experience was and how him going to Cal was definitely the best decision of his life," Garbers said. "I was definitely paying attention to his work ethic, how dedicated he is. He's the first overall draft pick, which is a big deal, and he had to get there, somehow. His work ethic, that was impressive, working out with him."
Treggs, who accompanied Goff on two of the three workouts, blew Garbers away, too.
"That guy can run," Garbers marveled. "He was very impressive. He and other guys getting ready for the Combine would always run routes with Jared."
When Garbers committed on Tuesday, Treggs offered his own compliments.
"At first, when I came out there, the first thing I thought was, he had great zip on the ball," Treggs said. "After the first pass he threw me, I went up to him and asked, 'What college do you go to?' I thought he was already in college, based on how he was throwing the ball. I was like, 'This dude can sling it.'"
"It was definitely an exciting feeling knowing that a guy of that stature tweeted about me," Garbers said. "It was definitely a good thing."
At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Garbers was already, Treggs said, "built like a college quarterback," more like junior-year Goff than freshman-year Goff.
"He's ready to take on the hits and what it takes to be good at the Pac-12 level," Treggs said. "He has some nice size on him. Like I said, I thought he was in college. I'm not going to get too far ahead of myself and say he's going to start right away, but I can definitely see him competing for a starting job. There's no doubt that he's going to. He fits the ball into tight windows, and he's durable, which is huge at the Pac-12 level, because he's going to take some hits."
Three months after the first meeting between Garbers and Goff, Garbers scored a Cal offer, a matter of days before coming up to visit Berkeley.
"I had my eye set on Cal," Garbers said. "When I went up there the first time, I kind of had a gut feeling that this could be a place for me."
It certainly helped that he was able to pull on a pair of virtual reality goggles and experience what it's like back of center in offensive coordinator Jake Spavital's offense. An idea began to take root.
"The education Cal offers, the world-class education, the No. 1 public business school in the country, Coach Spav and coach Dykes, they're great guys," Garbers said. "I really like what they're doing on offense. They were definitely a big part of my decision. The comfort level with the campus and with the coaching staff, alone, I think that was pretty big. Then, working out with Jared Goff, getting his insight, and talking to some other Cal commits really helped.
"I'm really tight with Taariq Johnson and Jeremiah Hawkins, at Buena Park. They actually beat us in the playoffs last year, so that's how I know them. We talked about their process and why they chose Cal. They definitely gave me a little insight. I haven't heard any bad things about Cal, so that's another big reason."
"I didn't get the feeling that I really knew that Cal was the place until after the Washington visit," Garbers said. "The visit, what we did, basically, was get around the coaching staff more, talked about the offense, and really just hung out with the players, got a feel for campus life and what it's like to be at Washington. Coming back, they offered [Jake] Haener, so that kind of sealed the deal with the whole Cal commitment."
That offer to Haener -- Garbers's fellow Elite 11 Finalist, out of Danville (Calif.) Monte Vista -- came five days after Garbers's visit, and seemed as though it was made in the wake of the Huskies figuring that Garbers would wind up committing to the Bears.
"I'm not so sure about that, but the coaches there, they're professionals," Garbers said. "They hear what they hear, they've got to make business decisions, and that's what it came down to."
Regardless of the reasoning behind the offer, Haener jumped on it immediately, and the Chase Watch began.
"I was actually going to commit when I went up there this weekend," Garbers said. "But, I was thinking, Monday night, 'Let's just commit right now, and not wait 'til this weekend, just for the heck of it.' I called coach Dykes up, and I said I wanted to b a Cal quarterback. He was vey fired up, and that's what happened."
There are still schools in the Pac-12, though, who are chasing their quarterback need for 2017. Two of them happen to be in Garbers's back yard. He spent last weekend at USC's skills camp, and the Trojans were reportedly close to offering. If USC does not get Jack Sears, a source said, they're likely to go after Garbers.
"USC's still recruiting me pretty hard. I'm not going to turn down a program that just wants to talk," Garbers said. "I'll listen to them, but I'm 100-percent a Bear, committed to Cal, and that won't change. If they want to offer, that would be cool, but it doesn't change my mind. I'm a Cal commit."
As for UCLA?
"UCLA, you know," Garbers said, before pausing a beat. "Communication has dropped off a little bit. [I'm] not that interested in UCLA that much anymore. We still talk here and there, and they still recruit me, which is cool, I guess, but I'm a Cal commit. I'm a Golden Bear. You can't change that."
Garbers -- whose last day of school is Friday -- will be visiting his new home on June 24, for two days.
"I'm looking forward to getting up there, around coach Spav, going around the campus," he said. "This time, I'm going to bring my entire family. Last time, it was just my dad who was with me. Getting the whole fam up there to check it out. Actually, from my school, this year, there are 21 kids going to Cal, which is the third-highest at our school, so that'll be cool, because I'll know some people there, along with the football team. I'll be hanging out in my future home."
The current freshman class -- in its entirety -- is already on campus, including a certain five-star from the state of Georgia.
"I definitely want to meet and talk with Demetris Robertson," Garbers said. "That guy's a straight baller. I'm very excited to have him on the roster. I want to get a whole take on what those guys think, so far, definitely."null