Cal QB Chase Garbers discusses decision to stay with Golden Bears for 2021 season

Cal quarterback Chase Garbers isn’t afraid to say he’s the best signal-caller in the Pac-12. Garbers said that he could be the best quarterback in the conference earlier on in his college career, and he reiterated that to me earlier this month. “Yeah, I do think I’m the best quarterback in the Pac-12,” he said. “I think that will continue into this season. I’ve just got to go out there, and we’ve got to play some games.” Despite his confidence, the Cal QB elected to go back to school for one more year instead of declaring for the NFL Draft.

Cal QB Chase Garbers has high confidence in his abilities

Chase Garbers doesn’t necessarily do or say anything out of boastfulness or arrogance. His personality is a unique one, only shared by guys like Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. It’s confidence without cockiness and an unshakeable sense of self-assuredness that never allows him to get off-kilter.

Current Corona del Mar High School head coach Daniel O’Shea describes Garbers as guarded — in the sense that he doesn’t wear his emotions on his sleeve or allow them to get the best of him in a game.

“He’s a thoughtful leader, O’Shea said. “He’s humble by nature, but his level of competitiveness — he will slit your throat in a competitive atmosphere without being this bragger, yeller, screamer. He has this weird internal competitiveness, but on the outside, it comes across as a humble leader.”

Also, like Burrow, Garbers is well-known for his mental capacity and quick ability to process.

“I think without a doubt his mental capacity to play the position is his greatest attribute,” O’Shea said. “His ability to process our varsity playbook just in eighth grade was impressive, and it certainly put him in a position as a sophomore to eventually win a job over a returning player on our roster.”

Garbers decided to go back to Cal for the 2021 season

Chase Garbers had the chance to go on to the NFL this year, but he will take next season to improve his draft stock with the Golden Bears.

“Ultimately, it came down to that I knew we had a good team coming back,” he said of his decision to return. “Our coaches were staying here. There wasn’t much change within the program.”

With the uncertainty of the entire season, the Golden Bears ended up only playing four games.

Despite the shortened season, Garbers completed a career-best 62.5% of his passes this past season for 771 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions. He’s completed 61.4% of his passes for 4,049 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions throughout his college career.

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Former Cal QB and Bears radio analyst Mike Pawlawski said at one point that he considers Chase Garbers to have really turned the corner in 2019, referring to it as a “matrix moment.”

“I think 2019, the Ole Miss game was definitely where I kind of flipped the switch a little bit,” Garbers said. He noted that the offense felt more in sync and connected than it had previously.

Garbers would go on to elaborate.

“Just everything felt more in sync, more connected with everybody,” he said. “The offense clicked even more. Then obviously, I had the collarbone injury that took me out for a couple of weeks. But I came back with that same tempo and pace that I had in the Ole Miss game and rode that into the next season. I carried that into 2020, now carrying that into 2021.”

Where does Garbers need to improve to boost his NFL Draft stock for 2022?

Chase Garbers has noted several areas he aims to improve during past interviews, specifically naming aspects of his game like improved escapability and a quicker release. While he doesn’t necessarily model himself after any one quarterback, he does watch film on Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. Burrow also spent a lot of time watching tape on the former.

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The Cal QB has come a long way throughout his career, but that’s not entirely satisfactory for Garbers.

“No, I wouldn’t say I’m there yet,” he said. “I think I am continuously improving. There’s little things that you can do. You get to a certain point in your career where it’s the little things that will help you be better, not so much drastic changes. So just improving on the little things like a quicker release, more hip mobility, knee mobility things I need to improve on.”

It will be interesting to see how Garbers continues his upward momentum in 2021, and he’ll be one to watch around this time next year when NFL teams begin setting their sights on draft prospects.

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