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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Nate Longshore, California Golden Bears
Nate Longshore, California Golden Bears. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Nate Longshore had the incredibly tough task of replacing Aaron Rodgers in Jeff Tedford’s offense. After redshirting during his freshman year in 2004, Longshore would be given the starting opportunity the next year in 2005. Unfortunately, his 2005 campaign ended after one game. Longshore suffered major leg injuries in the Golden Bears’ Week 1 opener versus Sacramento State and would be lost for the season.

Besides recovering from his fibula and ankle injuries, Longshore would enter the 2006 NCAA season in a bit of a quarterback battle. He had to dethrone the veteran who took his spot in 2005 in senior Joe Ayoob. Longshore would win that battle out of camp with Tedford naming him the Week 1 starter in 2006.

In his first year of significant college action, Longshore completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,021 yards, 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Cal went 10-3 that season, won a share of the Pac-10 Championship, finished No. 14 in the final AP Poll and defeated the Texas A&M Aggies in the Holiday Bowl. Things were certainly looking up for Longshore as the Golden Bears starting quarterback.

However, Cal and Longshore would not live up to lofty expectations in 2007. After playing well to start the year, Longshore suffered an ankle injury that resulted in a bone spur. His play suffered down the stretch, as Cal finished the year at a 7-6 mark. He completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,580 yards, 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Entering his final year with the program, Longshore faced serious pressure in maintaining the starting job. His fade down the stretch in 2007 led to there being an open competition with newcomer Kevin Riley, a top recruit out of Portland, Oregon. Eventually, Riley would win out, as Longshore struggled with both health and consistency. He completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 1,051 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions in his final year at Cal.

Longshore ended his Cal career with 6,783 passing yards for 51 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. He ranks in the top 10 in all major passing categories in Cal history, including sixth in yards, fifth in completions with 558 and fourth all time in touchdown passes. After going undrafted in 2009, he briefly spent time with the Miami Dolphins but didn’t make it out of rookie minicamp. Perhaps all the injuries led to Rodgers’ successor’s downfall as a serious pro prospect?