Cal football: 15 greatest quarterbacks in Golden Bears history

Jared Goff, California Golden Bears. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Jared Goff, California Golden Bears. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) /
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Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Aaron Rodgers is without debate the greatest quarterback to ever play at Cal. However, he only comes in here at No. 2. This is largely because he only played two years with the Golden Bears. All that aside, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t earned his place on Cal’s Mount Rushmore for quarterbacking talent as Jeff Tedford’s greatest signal-caller.

Rodgers grew up in Chico, California. Despite an incredible high school career at Pleasant Valley High School, he didn’t receive any major Division I offers to play quarterback. The best he could do was walk on at Illinois, which Rodgers wanted no part of. Fittingly, he went the junior college route, playing close to home at Butte Community College. After spending 2002 at Butte, Rodgers would transfer to Cal in 2003 to play for Tedford.

With three years of college eligibility remaining, Rodgers would land the Cal starting job midway through the 2003 NCAA season. He completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 2,903 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. Cal went 8-6 that year and beat the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Insight Bowl. Rodgers would be named a Pac-10 honorable mention at quarterback that season.

As a junior in 2004, Cal went 10-2 and finished as the No. 9 team in the country after losing to the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the Holiday Bowl. Rodgers would be named First-Team All-Pac-10 and earn an All-American honorable mention for the Golden Bears. He completed 66.1 percent of his passes for 2,566 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Rodgers would leave school a year early to enter the NFL Draft. Even though there was a chance he could have been drafted No. 1 overall by his childhood favorite team in the San Francisco 49ers, they chose the Utah Utes’ Alex Smith over him. Rodgers would slip to No. 24 and be selected by the Green Bay Packers. After three years of backing up Brett Favre, Rodgers emerged as one of the greatest quarterbacking talents the NFL has ever seen. The Super Bowl XLV MVP and two-time NFL MVP will be a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer six years after he calls it quits.

In two years at Cal, Rodgers completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 5,469 yards, 43 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He averaged 8.2 yards per attempt and put together a career passing efficiency rating of 150.3 in Golden Bear uniform. Though Rodgers only ranks just inside of the top 10 in both passing yards and touchdowns in Cal history, he is second all time in completion percentage behind only Rich Campbell. Rodgers also has the best career yards per attempt and passing efficiency rating in school history with a minimum of 300 pass attempts.