Jan. 2, 2010
BERKELEY - Tailback Jahvid Best announced Saturday that he will forego his senior season at Cal and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.
"Over the past couple of weeks and over the past month, my family and I have been offered the opportunity to enter the NFL and now we have a decision," said Best. "It wasn't an easy decision. It took a lot of thought. We got a lot of advice from everybody - coaches, coach [Jeff] Tedford, my running backs coach [Ron Gould], friends, a lot of advice from everybody. We sat down, we met with coach Tedford and talked about the pros and cons, and after weighing out the pros and cons, we decided to enter the draft and forego my senior season at Cal."
"Everyone knows the impact that Jahvid has on a program," said Cal head coach Tedford. "We wish him well. It was a decision that he's made with his family, and we support him 100 percent. He's done a great job; he doesn't owe us anything. He's done a great job for this program, not just on the field but off the field. He's been a great representative of this program, and he's going to be a big success at the next level."
"Any time you lose a Heisman candidate or somebody of that caliber then you have to replace them," continued Tedford. "That's the job going ahead is trying to develop the rest of the guys that we have."
Best played in 31 games and started 18 contests during his three seasons at Cal (2007-09) in a career that includes a second-team All-American selection by College Football News in 2008 and a pair of first-team All-Pac-10 honors (2007, '08). He finished his Golden Bear career ranked seventh on the school's all-time rushing list with 2,668 yards on 364 carries. His 29 rushing touchdowns are tied for third on the school's all-time chart, while his 35 total touchdowns are fourth. His three career 200-yard rushing games are the most ever by a Cal player and he is also among the school's all-time leaders in all-purpose running yards (4,045, No. 5), 100-yard rushing games (13, No. 6) and scoring (210 points, No. 9). Best recorded 34 career rushes of 20+ yards to go along with 11 of 60+ yards and four of 80 or more, including a career-long 93-yard touchdown run at UCLA in 2009 that was the third-longest in school history.
Despite missing the final four contests of the 2009 season due to injury, Best rushed for 867 yards on 141 carries (6.1 ypc) and scored 16 touchdowns overall (12 rushing, 4 receiving) in nine games of action. Best was one of the country's top Heisman Trophy candidates during the early stages of the campaign and was named one of 16 national semifinalists for the Maxwell Award given annually to the nation's top collegiate football on Nov. 4. Three days later he suffered a season-ending injury when he landed hard in the end zone on a seven-yard touchdown run against Oregon State at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 7. Best still earned an honorable mention All-American selection from Pro Football Weekly, second-team All-Pac-10 honors and shared Cal's Offensive Team MVP honors with fellow tailback Shane Vereen.
Best's 16 total touchdowns in 2009 were only one shy of Cal's modern-era single-season record and two short of the school's all-time single-season mark. He also completed the regular season with a scoring average of 10.67 points per game that ranked second in the Pac-10 and third nationally, and was also among the conference per-game leaders in rushing (96.33 ypg, No. 4) and all-purpose running (122.0 ypg, No. 9) at the conclusion of the regular season. However, he did not participate in the required 75% of a team's contests to qualify in the final conference and national rankings, playing in nine of the squad's 13 contests. His season was highlighted when he was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 19 after rushing for 131 yards and a school-record-tying five touchdowns on a career-high 26 carries to lead Cal to a 35-21 win at Minnesota. He was also selected by the College Football Performance Awards for weekly honors in 2009 on five occasions and was the only running back in the nation to earn recognition from the CFPA in each of the first three weeks of the season after beginning the campaign with three consecutive 100-yard contests.
Best rushed for 1,580 yards on 194 carries and a school-record-tying 15 touchdowns on the ground in his 2008 sophomore campaign to earn second-team All-American honors from College Football News and a first-team All-Pac-10 selection as a running back. The rushing yardage ranks as the second-highest single-season total in school history with his 8.1 yards per carry a school record. He ranked third in the country in rushing yards per game (131.67) and entered the 2009 campaign as the nation's leading returning rusher in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) for both average yards per game and average yards per carry for any player with at least 125 rushes in 2008. Best earned Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honoree three times in 2008 and also tied for the conference lead in scoring with an average of 8.0 points per game while pacing the league in kick return average (26.3 ypr). In addition, Best set a Cal single-game record when he rushed for 311 yards on 19 carries while adding four rushing touchdowns in a regular-season finale victory over Washington. He was named Offensive MVP of the team's Emerald Bowl win over Miami by rushing for a bowl-record 186 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. He had all three of his career 200-yard games in 2008, preceding his school-record effort against Washington with 201 vs. Stanford and 200 at Washington State.
Best burst onto the scene at Cal as a true freshman in 2007 when he was named a first-team All-Pac-10 player on special teams. He saw action as a kick returner and a gunner on kick coverage, while also contributing 221 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries (7.6 ypc) in 10 games as a backup tailback. He was named Cal's Most Valuable Freshman and also received the J. Scott Duncan Award (Cal's Most Valuable Special Teams Player).
"I want to say thank you to the University of [California-] Berkeley for the opportunity to play college football for the school and also to receive an education, an education that I plan to finish after I'm done playing football," said Best. "But this is an opportunity I can't pass up. I had to take advantage of it."
Jahvid Best Statement on Declaring for 2010 NFL Draft
Throughout my life my family has always been the most important thing in my life. They have always been there for me, and they are who I go to when I have difficult decisions to make. When I was a senior at Salesian High School my family and I had to face a major decision. I was a highly-recruited athlete, blessed with talent that coaches thought could translate to college football quite well. My family and I gathered all the information we could, compared the pros and cons, and prayed over it. At the end of the day, we decided that I would accept my offer to the University of California.
From the day I stepped foot on campus at Cal I was welcomed with open arms. Cal has provided me with the tools and support that it takes to become a man. I have been shown a lot of love here at Cal. On the field, I have been blessed to learn from arguably the best coaches in college football. They showed me what it takes to be successful in this game and I thank them for that. Off the field, I have been shown all the support I could ask for. This support is essential if you want to be a successful student-athlete at Cal. Overall my experience has been nothing short of great, and I thank the university, fans, teammates, coaches and football staff.
With the many blessings I have had in my life, God has recently blessed me with one more opportunity. This opportunity is to play in the NFL. Playing football at the professional level has always been my dream and now I have the opportunity to make this dream happen. Over the last several weeks, my family and I have had many discussions, and we've also had meetings with coaches and others pertaining to this subject. Many have given us great and useful information, but at the end of the day it is our decision. I have weighed all the pros and cons of "stay or go" with my family, coaches and others, and have even gone through the process of "sleep on it," losing sleep over it, and praying on it. Leaving a great university is a very difficult decision; however, my family and I have made a decision. At this time, I have decided to forego my senior season at Cal and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.