March 6, 2010
BERKELEY - Former Cal tailback Jahvid Best was honored by the College Football Performance Awards organization with the 2009 Elite Running Back Trophy during an on-court ceremony at halftime of the Cal-Stanford women's basketball game at Haas Pavilion on Saturday.
The award recognized Best as the top performer at the running back position based upon the 21 games in which he participated over the past two seasons. Best was responsible for 32 total offensive touchdowns in those games, and he concluded his career at Cal as the NCAA's active leader in rushing yards per carry (7.33). No other active running back in the Football Bowl Subdivision of college football averages more than 7.0 yards per carry (with a minimum of 300 carries).
The goal of the College Football Performance Awards is to provide the most scientifically rigorous conferments in college football. CFPA recipients are selected based upon objective scientific rankings of the extent to which individual players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams. As prominent scholars from a wide variety of disciplines note, CFPA eliminates the politics and biases that vitiate balloting-based awards. Furthermore, CFPA is the only awards organization to receive praise from both Republican and Democratic White House officials for promoting objectivity and fairness in college football.
Best played in 31 games and started 19 contests during his three seasons at Cal (2007-09) in a career that included 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 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, by missing the final four games of the season due to injury he did not participate in the required 75% of a team's contests to qualify in the final conference and national rankings. 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 received weekly honors from the College Football Performance Awards on five occasions in 2009 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. He was also named the College Football Performance Awards National Performer of the Week after a 5 touchdown performance against Minnesota.
Best rushed for 1,580 yards on 194 carries and a school-record-tying 15 rushing touchdowns 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 single-season 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 honors 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).
Best declared for the 2010 NFL Draft on January 2, 2010, foregoing his final season of eligibility at Cal. Best participated at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine on February 28, 2010, and recorded the fastest time by a running back in both the 40-yard dash (4.35) and three-cone drill (6.75).