Cal filling Jared Goff’s quarterback vacancy just become more intriguing. Zach Kline, the former 4-star prospect Goff beat out for the starting job in 2013, enters the fray.
That on its own isn’t newsworthy; that Kline will be on his second stint with the Cal football program is.
Originally a Jeff Tedford recruit, Zach Kline competed with Goff for the gig in Sonny Dykes’ first season. He transferred to FCS Indiana State, but returned to Cal in the winter to finish his undergraduate English degree.
In December, I reached out to Zach about the possibility of him rejoining Cal. He wrote the following in an email:
I will graduate at the end of the semester with a degree in English. I will be able to transfer as soon as I wrap up my last class, ending July 1. I do not at this time plan on joining the Cal Football team. I will be eligible to play in any conference, so I haven’t yet decided where I plan to transfer. I figure you can’t go wrong with a degree from the number one public university in the world!
Plans didn’t exactly change since Kline had no intended direction for 2016 beyond weighing his options. How he factors into the quarterback competition will certainly be intriguing, given his familiarity with Dykes’ offense and preexisting relationships with players on the roster.
Shoutout @zachklineQB coming back and killing the workout his first time back.
— Darius Allensworth (@_MoneyDA) February 27, 2016
Kline threw three touchdowns in relief of Goff during the 2013 season. His big arm made him a coveted recruit out of San Ramon Valley High School.
The unconventional FCS transfer route worked for Cal’s Pac-12 North rival Oregon last season. Vernon Adams flourished filling in for Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, and former Montana State quarterback Dakota Prukop will compete to fill Adams’ vacancy this offseason.
The re-addition of Kline tweaks that idea. It’s not often a coach can add a quarterback already familiar with his playbook.
Chase Forrest enters spring practice looking like the player to beat, but Ross Bowers and Luke Rubenzer are also in the mix. Rubenzer saw significant snaps in 2014 as a situational quarterback, but moved to safety last season.