Cal Football: Is Chase Garbers a Heisman Trophy Candidate?

Photo by John Hefti - USA TODAY Sports
Jake Curtis

Heisman Trophy winners seem to come out of nowhere these days. Nobody was talking about Johnny Manziel entering the 2012 season, when he ended up as the Heisman Trophy winner.

So is it too far-fetched to claim that Cal quarterback Chase Garbers is a Heisman Trophy candidate?

Well, yes it is. In fact, it’s not 100 percent certain that he will be the Bears’ starting quarterback in Cal’s 2019 opener.

But Sports Illustrated offered a list of possible 2019 Heisman Trophy contenders, and Chase Garbers is mentioned. OK, you have to read down quite a ways, and you have to realize SI is listing more than 100 players on its list.

But in the story under the headline “The 117 College Football Players Who Could Win the 2019 Heisman Trophy,” you will find the name “Chase Garbers” on the list.

Is he in "Group I: The Elite Quarterbacks on Elite Teams"?

Well, no.

How 'bout "Group II: Very Good Quarterbacks on Good Teams"?


Is he included in "Group III: Good Quarterbacks on Good or Pretty Good Teams"?

Not there either, although you may note the typo in this subhead on the SI site.

Garbers probably doesn't qualify under"Group IV: The Non-Power 5 Stars" or "Group V: First-Year Starters Who Could Pop."

So where is he?

Ah, here he is, in "Groupl VI: All Other Power 5 Starting Quarterbacks"

Chase Garbers is the next-to-last name listed in that category, just ahead of Jake Luton of Oregon State.

But his name is on the list.

Garbers improved over the course of his redshirt freshman season in 2018, and he was the starter for the second half of the season. His numbers were not great (61.2 percent completion rate, 14 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 420 yards rushing), and the Bears’ offense was not very good. However, there are countless examples of quarterbacks who make remarkable improvement from their first season to their second. He performed better during spring ball, all but nailing down the starting spot for 2019. Plus most of the recent Heisman Trophy winners (Manziel, Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, Marcus Mariota) were dual-threat quarterbacks, like Garbers.

OK, we know the chances of Garbers winning the Heisman Trophy are infinitesimal, and we had our tongue in our cheek while writing this. But the point is that Heisman Trophy winners can come from unlikely sources, and Sports Illustrated, the so-called Bible, has him on its list.