Cal's Chase Garbers Ranked Among Nation's Top 25 Quarterbacks

Jake Curtis

Cal fans have been lauding the improvement of Bears quarterback Chase Garbers, wondering when he might get some national recognition. Well, it has happened. Garbers was ranked among the nation's top 25 college quarterbacks for 2020 by Yahoo.com on Tuesday.

Granted, Garbers is at the very bottom of the list, coming it at No. 25, but it indicates people in other parts of the country are at least aware of Garbers.

Here is what Yahoo said about Garbers:

Chase Garbers enters his third season as Cal’s starting quarterback after an injury interrupted what had the chance to be a special 2019 campaign for the Golden Bears. Garbers had Cal out to a 4-0 start before an injury against Arizona State. He came back late in the year and helped his team win its final three games. In fact, Cal was 7-0 when Garbers played for more than half the game. He is one of the more underappreciated players in the country..

The last sentence is key: "He is one of the more underappreciated players in the country."

A closer look at this top-25 list suggests Garbers probably should have been ranked higher.

One of the quarterbacks ranked ahead of Garbers -- Alabama freshman Bryce Young (ranked No. 24) -- has never played in a college game, and another -- Oklahoma redshirt freshman Spener Rattler (No. 21) -- has thrown just 11 passes in college. I'd rank Garbers ahead of those two untested players.

Also, Garbers ranks behind the only other three quarterbacks who return in 2020 after being Pac-12 starters last year -- Arizona State sophomore Jayden Daniels, USC sophomore Kedon Slovis and Mississippi State senior K.J. Costello, who was Stanford's starter last season.

Most surprising is that Daniels in the top 10, at No. 9. His performance in last year's upset of Oregon earned him national acclaim, but I'd rather have Garbers in a game tomorrow.

I have no trouble with Slovis being ranked No. 11 after seeing him tear apart Cal's defense last season, but I'm not sure about Costello, who was injured most of last season and was only moderately productive when he was healthy in 2020. 

Two things may support Costello's No. 20 ranking: his outstanding 2018 season, when he led the Pac-12 in passer rating, and the fact that he will be playing in the quarterback-friendly Mike Leach offense at Mississippi State. Gardner Minshew and Anthony Gordon both led the nation in passing yards per game in their first and only season as a starter under Leach.

Perhaps the most interesting name on the list is Shane Buechele at No. 13. He has thrived at SMU in the passing offense of former Cal coach Sonny Dykes.

Garbers, a fourth-year junior, still has his shortcomings. He holds onto the ball too long, and has a habit of getting hurt. But his dramatic improvement from his freshman season to his sophomore season suggests another major step up is possible -- especially with Bill Musgrave as his offensive coordinator. He might even be good enough in 2020 to consider entering the 2021 NFL draft, something Cal fans would rather not consider. Of course, that is getting way ahead of ourselves, particularly since we don't even know whether there will be a 2020 college football season.

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