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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Jared Goff, California Golden Bears
Jared Goff, California Golden Bears. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images) /

Jared Goff is now entering his prime as the starting quarterback for the defending NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams. After looking completely lost as a rookie playing for then-head coach Jeff Fisher, Goff got his quarterback whisperer in the form of Sean McVay. His transformation as a passer from year one to year two as a pro was utterly jaw-dropping. But before all that, Goff was the greatest quarterback in Cal football history.

The Kentfield, California native first came to Cal in 2013. After enrolling early, Goff became the first true freshman to win the starting quarterback job out of camp, beating out Zach Kline. Goff would put together three excellent record-setting seasons for the Golden Bears before turning pro.

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Admittedly, Cal was not a good program when Goff arrived. The Golden Bears won one game during Goff’s freshman season playing under Sonny Dykes. They would improve to 5-7 in 2014 but still didn’t make it to a bowl game. Finally, as a junior, Goff would lead the Golden Bears to a holiday season bowl, going 8-5 with a win over the Air Force Falcons in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Overall, Goff owns Cal football records in passing yards with 12,195, completions with 977 and passing touchdowns with 96. He threw for over 3,500 yards and completed over 60 percent of his passes in all three years he spent at Cal. Goff would be named First-Team All-Pac-12 in his junior season in 2015 before turning pro.

In the 2016 NFL Draft, the newly relocated Rams took Goff No. 1 overall. That 2016 team was an unmitigated disaster, as Fisher and most of his staff were fired. Since McVay took over in 2017, the Rams have won the NFC West in back-to-back years, reaching the Super Bowl in 2018 for the first time since 2001 as a franchise.

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Goff is now a two-time Pro Bowler at the quarterback position for the Rams. He may not get into the College Football Hall of Fame because his teams didn’t win enough, nor did he ever earn an All-American nod. That being said, Goff’s numbers as a passer and his mental toughness to play through tremendous growing pains as a program in the mid-2010s are certainly commendable. Look for him to continue to light the NFL on fire, now in his fourth year as the Rams’ star signal-caller.