Cal’s Jahvid Best to leave school to enter draft

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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP)—California star tailback Jahvid Best announced Saturday that he will skip his senior year and enter the NFL draft after a disappointing final college season cut short by injury.

“It wasn’t an easy decision. It took a lot of thought and we got a lot of advice from everybody,” Best said on a conference call. “This is an opportunity that I can’t pass up.”

Best missed the final four games of the season after a frightening fall knocked him out and sent him to the hospital with a concussion and sore back. Best said the injury played only a small role in his decision and actually made it more likely that he would have stayed so he could have ended his career on a high note.

Best said he has heard projections that have him going as high as the first round and as low as the third round in April’s draft. But he said those are nothing more than guesses and didn’t play much of a role in his decision.

“It was just kind of a gut feeling,” he said. “I go with my feelings. That’s how I make decisions. I feel like I’m ready to play in the NFL and I think I’ll be successful.”

Best said he’s still not fully healed from the injury that occurred Nov. 8, when he fell on the back of his head from about 8 feet while leaping into the end zone for a touchdown against Oregon State.

He was unconscious after the fall and taken off the field on a stretcher. He was hospitalized overnight and did not return to the field the rest of the season. It was his second concussion of the season, having sustained a mild one the previous week at Arizona State.

“I’m still not 100 percent right now,” Best said. “But I’m very optimistic about my ability to come back by the time the combine and pro day come around. I have no doubt in my mind I’ll be able to perform.”

Best entered the season as one of the most dynamic running backs in the country and a contender for the Heisman Trophy. He finished with 16 touchdowns and 867 yards rushing before the injury.

In his career at Cal, Best had 2,668 yards rushing, 62 catches for 533 yards and 35 total touchdowns. He had 11 rushes for more than 60 yards and four that went for at least 80.

“I think the sky’s the limit,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “I think Jahvid has great potential. The obvious thing is his speed. But I don’t know if everybody appreciates his ability to catch football. I think he’s just going to get better and better.”

With Best sidelined down the stretch, Shane Vereen rushed for 566 yards and six touchdowns in the final four games for Cal (8-5). Vereen’s best performance came in the Big Game at Stanford, when he carried 42 times for 193 yards and three scores in a 34-28 victory.

Vereen finished his sophomore season with 852 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns.

“Shane Vereen is very comparable,” Tedford said. “Those two guys really did a nice job complementing each other. Shane when healthy has a lot of the same characteristics Jahvid has. We’re very fortunate there.”

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Updated Jan 2, 7:02 pm EST
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48 Comments

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  1. <i>nudesc</i>
    48. Posted by nudesc Mon Jan 4 1:01pm EST

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    You saying that he was using the school for a meal ticket? Do you realize how much money is generated from a star college player vs how much his education costs. It will easily be 100 to 1. I also think that not staying in school to graduate is not the smartest thing, but to say the player was using the college or university is just not accurate.
  2. WillyWolf
    47. Posted by WillyWolf Mon Jan 4 11:58am EST

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    When he is crippled and no autographs to sign he will wish he had gotten his education. It is sickening now to see college players go to the pros as quick as they can and to just use the schools for a meal ticket. Football players are a dime a dozen and injured ones are even more. I think these young bucks should just go from high school into the pros and play in a combine for a while and skip buying the books and going to class when their alternative is not to finish school anyway. I don't admire him. He is just another user who wasted an education some kid would deserve.
  3. AZP
    46. Posted by AZP Mon Jan 4 3:46am EST

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    I'm a St Louis Rams fan, and If Best falls to the 2nd or 3rd round, I think he would be a good pick for us. He would be a good complement to Steven Jackson, our Pro Bowl power running back. He wouldn't have to be an every down back when Steven can play. And when Steven isn't able to play, he could be spelled by Ken Darby and/or Chris Ogbanayya. I'm glad Best declared for the draft. He may be a good prospect for my team.
  4. Daniel H
    45. Posted by Daniel H Mon Jan 4 1:53am EST

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    I'm not sure anyone will be willing to take a chance on him because of his history with injuries. I think he is still doing the right thing though because if he comes back and gets another concussion then no team will be intersted in him.
  5. Brailon
    44. Posted by Brailon Sun Jan 3 10:15pm EST

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    Watz new i knew he was going hez gonna b a great pik he s0 ElEctrifying i think hell b good wit da Jets (n0t a jets fan) along with Th0mas Jones,Brad Smith,& Shonn Grenne but g0tta shake dat c0ncussion!!!!!!
  6. Stanford Fan
    43. Posted by Stanford Fan Sun Jan 3 4:33pm EST

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    Majeed:

    You forget that he can always come back and finish his degree. It's the years he can earn money in the NFL that are limited.

    I wish him well in the draft. He is lightning quick and can catch the ball, so he should do well in the NFL. Just glad that Stanford won't have to play against him in 2010.

    Now if only we can get Shane Vereen to declare for the draft, too.
  7. <i>quickdaryl</i>
    42. Posted by quickdaryl Sun Jan 3 1:45pm EST

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    Of course he should go. Don't know a thing about him, but if he's good enough to make a pro team one year, he should go. This is a no brainer. Make the league minimum one year and finish the season and you'll earn what you'll earn the first six years working at a job with an undergrad degree. If he waits one year and gets injured again he'll go undrafted and half to swim through the employment search with the other 20% of Americans that are un- or under-employed. Life is hard out there for a graduate these days.
  8. Dawgmeat
    41. Posted by Dawgmeat Sun Jan 3 1:29pm EST

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    lol @ Cal fans pissed off at Tedford. he's the best coach you guys have had in 50 freaking years. Cal fans are just still bitter than my Huskies laid a BEAT DOWN on them.
  9. Dawgmeat
    40. Posted by Dawgmeat Sun Jan 3 1:26pm EST

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    Jerry ? Fresno St is in the NFL ? hmmm .... interesting.


    also ..... no need to post the same post 57 times ..... one time will suffice.
  10. John
    39. Posted by John Sun Jan 3 12:17pm EST

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    Should of stayed in school. With recent injuries not one but two recent concussions and his history of ankle injuries as a sophmore, what NFL team is willing to gamble the future of their team on drafting this individual? Maybe in the last couple of rounds.With no guarenteed money or signing bonuses in contract. The last team to pay the price of drafting a injured player on the hopes that he would return to his prior level of play ,without verifying this with a additional year of college play, was the Bufallo Bills, when they drafted in the 2003 first round at number 23 with the selection of Willis McGahee.(still paying for it) And to think not one team drafted a quarterback named Tony Romo,that year
    Hopefully another NFL team will throw caution to the wind and allow him to have his big payday, but I don't see that happening. The doubt of reestablishing himself as a premier running back,that wasn't injury prone was so great that he realized his only chance at the big payday was to enter the nfl draft this year.
  11. brinand68
    38. Posted by brinand68 Sun Jan 3 10:58am EST

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    Why do they allow the likes of brandymoly on these sites? if its not concerning the game then don't allow the trash on it. And yes you are trash!!!
  12. <i>oldterp</i>
    37. Posted by oldterp Sun Jan 3 3:29am EST

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    Andy the limp D@ck

    Wow. Running on a 100 ranked defense is the same as running on any NFL team to you.

    Best s@cked against good college teams.

    Best will never play an NFL regular season down.
  13. <i>oldterp</i>
    36. Posted by oldterp Sun Jan 3 3:27am EST

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    Erik

    What is the difference between Chris Johnson and Jahvid Best?

    one runs a 4.2 40 with natural moves and the other runs a 4.5 40 with straight ahead running.

    Best's career just ended.

    Best will never play an NFL regular season down.
  14. <i>bobbersclay</i>
    35. Posted by bobbersclay Sun Jan 3 2:16am EST

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    he should have stayed. He couldnt stay for a whole season in college, imagine him in the pros. not only did he get his concssions but he had several ankle injuries his sophomore season. He should stay because this is the best he will ever be able to do. Im a cal fan and i agree with no name, tedford should go. I was watching the texas tech offense and thats all cal needed to do. They ran screens half of the time and it worked almost every time. With best in the open field they would have done way better, especially when riley cant complete a deep pass. Hope best doesnt get hurt and he does well in the return game, because thats where he'll end up.
  15. PassionNotSmudge
    34. Posted by PassionNotSmudge Sun Jan 3 12:57am EST

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    I agree. Best was a great college running back at CAL! We'll miss him. He's not stocky enough to be an every down back in the NFL (at least yet), but he's darn fast - maybe they'll give him a role like Bush has at New Orleans. He might as well make his mulah, while he can - why risk it? As for the Tedford comments, you can tell who the younger Cal Alumni are in this blog, because they don't remember how bad Cal was before this great coach showed up. Doesn't change the fact that I still can't understand why he doesn't drop Riley to second string, though. The players need a leader who can take charge, take responsibility, and aim well under pressure. Good luck, Jahvid! Go Bears!!!
  16. majeed a
    33. Posted by majeed a Sun Jan 3 12:46am EST

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    I think it is sad , he gives up a college degree from the one of the best schools in the world, for somthing that he can do next year, hope he will not regret it and hope that he can come back to finish his degree
  17. Steve T
    32. Posted by Steve T Sun Jan 3 12:45am EST

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    If he has had concussions, that is going to affect where he will be drafted in April. Good luck t him. He is a good player.
  18. kene
    31. Posted by kene Sat Jan 2 11:28pm EST

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    If people are being honest with themselves the best running back in the draft class is the guy from Stanford. However, racial stereotyping will probably force him to play fullback. Too bad.
  19. Alexandra S
    30. Posted by Alexandra S Sat Jan 2 10:51pm EST

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    We'll miss you Jahvid. Now go prove these haters wrong and make us proud.
  20. JERRY
    29. Posted by JERRY Sat Jan 2 10:48pm EST

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    I would like to wish the kid the best of luck in NFL,but he is not the best running back in NFL THIS YEAR, the best running back is Ryan Matthews from Fresno who does not get national recognition. This is all because of the so called big school do not like to play Fresno State. Matthew should be on the Heisman List.
  21. JERRY
    28. Posted by JERRY Sat Jan 2 10:48pm EST

    Report Abuse

    I would like to wish the kid the best of luck in NFL,but he is not the best running back in NFL THIS YEAR, the best running back is Ryan Matthews from Fresno who does not get national recognition. This is all because of the so called big school do not like to play Fresno State. Matthew should be on the Heisman List.
  22. JERRY
    27. Posted by JERRY Sat Jan 2 10:48pm EST

    Report Abuse

    I would like to wish the kid the best of luck in NFL,but he is not the best running back in NFL THIS YEAR, the best running back is Ryan Matthews from Fresno who does not get national recognition. This is all because of the so called big school do not like to play Fresno State. Matthew should be on the Heisman List.
  23. JERRY
    26. Posted by JERRY Sat Jan 2 10:48pm EST

    Report Abuse

    I would like to wish the kid the best of luck in NFL,but he is not the best running back in NFL THIS YEAR, the best running back is Ryan Matthews from Fresno who does not get national recognition. This is all because of the so called big school do not like to play Fresno State. Matthew should be on the Heisman List.
  24. JERRY
    25. Posted by JERRY Sat Jan 2 10:48pm EST

    Report Abuse

    I would like to wish the kid the best of luck in NFL,but he is not the best running back in NFL THIS YEAR, the best running back is Ryan Matthews from Fresno who does not get national recognition. This is all because of the so called big school do not like to play Fresno State. Matthew should be on the Heisman List.
  25. JERRY
    24. Posted by JERRY Sat Jan 2 10:48pm EST

    Report Abuse

    I would like to wish the kid the best of luck in NFL,but he is not the best running back in NFL THIS YEAR, the best running back is Ryan Matthews from Fresno who does not get national recognition. This is all because of the so called big school do not like to play Fresno State. Matthew should be on the Heisman List.
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