Jan. 2, 2007
BERKELEY - California junior running back Marshawn Lynch has announced his intention to declare for the 2007 NFL Draft. Lynch was the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and a first team All-American for the Golden Bears. In his final career game, the Oakland product ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bears to a 45-10 victory over Texas A&M in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. California finished the year with a 10-3 record and is currently ranked No. 20 in the nation.
"The opportunity to play in the NFL is something that I have always dreamed of," Lynch said. "Right now, it is just hitting me that my dreams are going to have the chance to come true. I would like to thank my family and friends for staying true to me and also Coach Tedford who has played a major part in this, as well as Kevin Parker for all of his help and advice.
"I also want to thank all of my teammates and the Cal staff and all the mentors that have taken time to come and talk to me as well as all of the Cal Bear fans. My time at Cal has been great; I really enjoyed the chance to play with my cousins and all the friendships I made with the coaches and players. I will always consider myself a Golden Bear."
Lynch departs California as the school's second-leading rusher with 3,230 yards in his three-year career. He scored 35 touchdowns in 35 career games and had a school-record 17 career 100-yard rushing games. In addition to becoming just the second Golden Bear to run for 1,000 yards in multiple seasons, Lynch was rated as the No. 1 running back in the nation by SI.com in October. This season, he led the Pac-10 in rushing yards (1,356), touchdowns (15) and all-purpose yards (1,785).
"Marshawn has had an outstanding career here and has been a key part of building this team into a nationally-competitive program," California head coach Jeff Tedford said. "We are going to miss him but support his decision. This has always been a goal and dream for him and we are happy that he can now realize that dream. We will always be grateful for his contributions as a student-athlete to our program and he will always be a member of the Cal family. We wish him all the best and I am sure he will have a productive, successful professional career."
During Lynch's time in Berkeley, California posted a 28-9 (.757) record, including a pair of bowl victories. Lynch was the Most Valuable Player of the 2005 Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl after running for 194 yards and three touchdowns, as well as being the co-MVP of this year's Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. Cal's 10 wins this year give it two 10-win seasons in three years; the Golden Bears have been ranked in the top 10 in each of Lynch's three seasons with the program.
In addition to being a powerful, bruising runner with outstanding quickness, Lynch has proven to be a potent receiver and an outstanding blocker in the backfield. He tallied 68 receptions for 600 yards with six touchdowns in his career.
As a sophomore, Lynch established himself as one of the top running backs in the country with 1,246 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He ranked seventh nationally with 124.6 rushing yards per game. While playing behind current NFL running back JJ Arrington as a freshman in 2004, Lynch carried 71 times for 628, an amazing average of 8.8 yards per rush.
Lynch was a nationally-rated All-American at Oakland Tech High School, where he rushed for over 2,000 yards with 33 touchdowns in 10 games as a senior. In his final prep season, he recorded 10 touchdowns in two playoff games.
California has had 21 first-round draft picks in its history, including three under Tedford. In 2005, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was selected No. 24 overall by the Green Bay Packers, while in 2003 quarterback Kyle Boller went No. 19 to the Baltimore Ravens and Nnamdi Asomugha was picked at No. 31 by the Oakland Raiders.