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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California Golden Bears
California Golden Bears. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images) /

Troy Taylor for a time was the most prolific passer in Golden Bears history. Taylor first came to Berkley in 1986, winning the starting job as a freshman that fall. He played in 11 games, completing 57.5 percent of his passes for 891 yards, one touchdown and eight interceptions. Unfortunately, Cal went 2-9 in the final year of the Joe Kapp era on the Golden Bears sidelines.

Taylor would return under center in 1987 as a sophomore, this time playing for new head coach Bruce Snyder. In his first full year as a starter, Taylor completed 60.8 percent of his passes for 2,081 yards, 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. While those are solid numbers, Cal was still a below-.500 team, going just 3-6-2 in that campaign.

Entering year two with Snyder and his third year as the starter, Taylor saw continued growth as a passer. He completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 2,416 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Cal football saw a two-win improvement in 1988, but couldn’t quite get winning record that season, going 5-5-1. At the very least, Snyder could trust Taylor to run the Golden Bears offense.

As a senior in 1989, Taylor regressed slightly from his junior year. He completed 55.8 percent of his passes for 2,738 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. While he threw for more yards than in any of his four seasons at Cal, his accuracy dipped below 60 percent, he couldn’t get his touchdown totals into the 20s or see a decrease in the number of picks thrown. Cal went 4-7 in 1989.

Overall, Taylor threw for 8,126 yards, 51 touchdowns and 46 interceptions as the Golden Bears quarterback. At the end of his Cal tenure, Taylor was the school leader in yards, completions and touchdowns. He has since been surpassed by other Golden Bear greats in the years that followed. Taylor finds himself second all time in passing yards and completions and fifth in career touchdown passes in school history.

He would end up being taken by the New York Jets in the fourth round of the 1990 NFL Draft, playing only two years with Gang Green before retiring. Taylor has since gone into the coaching profession, serving on Cal’s staff in the late 1990s, now as the head coach Sacramento State Hornets of the Big Sky Conference.