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Cal Football: Chase Garbers Is Eligible to Return in 2022 - Won't Decide Until After the Season

Coach Justin Wilcox on the unique nature of this season: `You're a senior, kind of.'

Would redshirt senior quarterback Chase Garbers consider returning for a sixth season at Cal?

It’s within the parameters of what the NCAA is allowing — an extra year of eligibility to make up for the shortcomings of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So Garbers, a starter for the Bears since the middle of the 2018 season, knows what his options are.

And he says he has no idea yet what he might do.

“I haven’t given it too much thought,” said Garbers, who said basically the same thing when asked about it during fall camp back in August. “Obviously, I know the opportunity is there. No decision has been made in my head. We’ll just see what happens after this season.”

Cal coach Justin Wilcox acknowledged this is uncharted territory.

“It’s different for everybody,” Wilcox said in the video above of the circumstances. “New for everybody, where you’re a senior, kind of. It is unique.”

Garbers has made no secret of his ambition to someday play in the NFL. Currently, his name does not appear in any of the mock drafts that are found on various websites.

Asked about all the factors that he will consider, Garbers said, “It’s always been a dream of my to play professionally, so that would definitely go into it.

“Certain academic things here at Cal that I’d be able to take. I’m already graduated so I’d have to find a grad school or another certificate program to enroll in. There’s a couple of factors, but no decision has been made.”

Garbers, who is 22, graduated last May and currently is enrolled in a post-graduate certificate program in business organization management.

I asked Garbers how his decision might be affected if the response he gets from NFL scouts tells him he has a chance to play professionally but he’d be better off honing his game for another year in college.

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“I think that’s too much of a what-if at this point,” he said. “After the season, get all the feedback from people and coaches and we’ll see what happens from there. Every option I’ll consider.”

Wilcox said he had conversations over the summer with all the players in Garbers’ class, including wide receiver Nikko Remigio, running back Chris Brooks and tight end Jake Tonges.

“I spoke with all those guys about how they were approaching it mentally. We talked then and we’ll talk after the season as well,” he said. “It’s really not a discussion for now.

“All those guys are going to have decisions to make and we’ll help the best we can. The hypothetical situations are kind of infinite right now, being in the middle of the season.”

Wilcox said both parties — the coaches and players — will want to be on the same page about these decisions.

Garbers recently moved past Aaron Rodgers into 10th on Cal’s career passing yards list and he’s third in the Pac-12 this season, averaging 248.7 yards. He leads the conference in total offense at 283.8 yards per outing.

He also sits in 10th place in pass-efficiency rating at 130.06.

Garbers is coming off perhaps his best performance of the season in the Bears’ 26-3 win over Colorado. He is a tough grader in the video above when asked to evaluate his outing, which included completing nearly 76 percent (22 of 29) for 225 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while also rushing 10 times for a career-best 96 yards.

We talked with Cal offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave in the video below about Garbers’ game against the Buffaloes and his progress all season.

Cover photo of Chase Garbers by Neville E. Guard, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo