The Webb snared a Bear, not a Buff.
The dizzying and much-speculated recruitment of Texas Tech graduate transfer Davis Webb came to a close Wednesday when he confirmed to ESPN.com that he was heading to California -- not Colorado (or Auburn, Mississippi State or any other program tangentially linked through rumor or innuendo).
The quarterback’s decision is an instant boost to a Cal team looking to replace Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. Cal’s offense was already in transition with the departure of Goff and some heavy hitters at wide receiver and with the addition of new offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. However, it’s Spavital -- rooted in the same offensive philosophies Webb practiced at Texas Tech -- who is credited with swaying Webb.
The Bears worked out four different quarterbacks during spring ball, where the thinking was that Chase Forrest and Ross Bowers impressed the most. But with Webb’s injection into the competition, the Bears add high-level experience and knowledge of the system. Webb threw 46 touchdowns over three seasons with Texas Tech, and Pac-12 fans might remember his MVP performance in the 2013 Holiday Bowl against Arizona State.
Webb’s decision comes less than a month after Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre told ESPN.com that he talks to Webb “basically every day,” was confident he’d keep his commitment to the Buffs and that he did not like the fact that Webb could still be recruited despite signing a financial aid agreement with Colorado in January.
If MacIntyre is feeling a bit scorned, it's understandable. Though it's noteworthy how Colorado assistant Darrin Chiaverini handled the situation with grace on social media. It's a sharp contrast to a recent Twitter outburst over a quarterback recently decommitting from Texas A&M. MacIntyre released a statement Wednesday through the school's athletic department stating: "We are excited about the quarterbacks that we have and we're moving on."
So where does this leave the Buffs? The health of returning starter Sefo Liufau, who continues to rehab a Lisfranc foot injury, has been a closely kept secret in Boulder.
MacIntyre told ESPN.com back in March: "All I can say is a Lisfranc injury is very, very, very serious. Mentally you think you're back, and then you can't stand on it for a couple of days. I've been through a lot of them. Sometimes it takes a year. Sometimes it takes two. He's working hard at getting back. That's where it sits."
If Liufau wasn’t able to return, Webb would have provided solid insurance. It’s also possible he would have outdueled a healthy Liufau. But the speculation is that Colorado wouldn’t have been trying to get Webb if they were confident Liufau would return.
There are multiple ways to interpret the tea leaves. Perhaps what Webb says is true and he just felt more comfortable with Spavital. If that’s the case, so be it. Perhaps Liufau isn’t going to redshirt (as has been rumored) and he’s going to be ready to go by fall camp and Webb simply wanted to go to the spot where he thought he could play the most -- the thinking is that it’s easier to win the job at Cal rather than battling a three-year starter at Colorado.
Webb is, after all, the No. 1 rated senior quarterback by Mel Kiper Jr. He wants as many NFL eyes on him as possible. Writes Kiper:
Webb in particular has an NFL skill set and is a player NFL teams will watch closely. He could thrive in the draft process.
With Liufau missing spring, Colorado is down to quarterbacks Jordan Gehrke and Steven Montez. Gehrke has some experience as a veteran backup and he knows the playbook. Montez -- thought to be Colorado’s quarterback of the future -- might need the future to be now.
Webb hasn’t earned anything yet. And he shouldn’t be considered Cal’s savior until he’s at least thrown a pass in a Bears uniform. (The same would have been typed had he opted for Colorado.)
All his decision means is that as of right now, one Pac-12 team is feeling better about its quarterback situation than the other.