Cal football lost yet again this weekend. This time, it wasn’t a game, but a player. Redshirt freshman quarterback Zach Kline confirmed late last night that he was in the process of transferring from Cal.
Kline, who had been rated as the nation’s number four incoming freshman quarterback by Athlon, and Phil Steele, was supposed to be the heir-apperant to the starting role at quarterback this year. However, with the play of true freshman (and godsend) Jared Goff, Kline got relegated to the primary backup role.
The San Ramon Valley alumni came out of high school as someone who was a sure-fire star. He has thrown for 3,630 yards and 36 touchdowns in 2011 before enrolling early at Cal in 2012.
This season, in limited action, the Danville native threw for 443 yards on 43-of-82 passing with three touchdowns and four interceptions. Kline told the San Jose Mercury News that coach Sonny Dykes convinced him that Cal was not the best place for him to be at this time.
“I wish I could stay at Cal. I tried to stay all year,” Kline said. “It’s clear that Jared’s the guy. They told me, ‘If you want to start, you should go somewhere else.’ “
The quarterback is no doubt talented, but probably doesn’t have as much upside as Goff does.
Also transferring is offensive lineman Feddie Tagaloa. Tagaloa had won the starting tackle job at the end of spring camp, but inconsistent play led to him losing the job and having to shift over to guard late in the year.
With both men leaving, an already shallow depth chart gets that much shallower. Both players were young enough to have impact for more than just next season, so from that viewpoint this hurts Cal a lot. I am really disappointed not to have Tagaloa on the depth chart for next year. That said, I don’t know if Kline leaving is necessarily the worst thing in the world. In fact, it could be a win-win situation.
Kline was not likely to see time at quarterback with Goff having more upside. Kline leaving now (with three years of eligibility left) and the hype for him coming out of high school still on him, gives him a fighting chance to go to a good program. While people in the Bay Area would love to see him go somewhere close (San Jose State is the program that continually gets brought up as a solid landing spot), I would not be surprised to see him playing in a low-to-middle of the road program in the ACC or AAC. Hell, if he decided to go to a good JUCO next season, he could end up playing at a top-end program somewhere.
For Cal, this works out, because it eliminates the potential quarterback controversy that you may have heard about all spring. Kline is clearly talented, he showed flashes this year…and as we all know, the best player on the team is always the guy who is on the bench. If Goff came out flat next year with Kline sitting on the bench, Kline would have become the best choice to run the team according to some. Now, that problem is eliminated.
Kline is good. He even has the potential to be great. But Goff is the team’s future. He is the guy who will lead this team out of the 1-11 muck it’s in. Kline leaving is great for all parties involved. He can become a star somewhere else (maybe somewhere better) while Cal gets to let it’s star become a real leader without having someone breathing down his neck.