Throughout this offseason, we’ve spotlighted Class of 2013 quarterbacks who have a shot at making the Elite 11 finals in July. This week, we profile Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) junior Jared Goff, who shined at the Oakland Elite 11 regional.
When you play quarterback in Northern California, wearing the number 16 carries extra meaning. After all, it’s the same number Hall of Famer Joe Montana wore while leading the San Francisco 49ers to multiple Super Bowl titles.
Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.) junior Jared Goff has worn the same number since he started playing quarterback as a 7-year-old. While he was too young to catch Montana during his playing days, Goff quickly learned the significance of wearing that number.
“I look up to him,” said Goff. “It’s got a lot of meaning to me.”
While the 6-foot-4, 190-pounder has a long, long way to go to match “Joe Cool,” he has become a star in his own right in the Northern California high school football realm.
Rated the nation’s No. 14 pocket passer by ESPN, Goff has committed to Cal. He threw for 3,179 yards and 44 touchdowns as a junior while leading Marin Catholic to the North Coast Section Division III final, where the Wildcats were edged by Campolindo (Moraga, Calif.) 20-18 on a last-second field goal.
Since then, Goff has focused his offseason training on improving his skills to help Marin Catholic capture the crown this fall. He’s also aiming for an invite to the Elite 11 finals, and he took a great step in that direction on May 18 when he was one of the finalists at the Oakland Elite 11 regional.
We caught up with Goff to talk about his commitment to Cal, his goals for this upcoming season and what an Elite 11 invite would mean to him.
ESPNHS: When did you first realize you wanted to play quarterback?
Goff: I’ve been playing quarterback since I was 7. I liked how if the game isn’t going well, it’s all on your shoulders. I like the leadership part of it, how everyone looked to you when things weren’t going well.
ESPNHS: Your dad played Major League Baseball. Did you ever have the urge to play baseball beyond high school?
Goff: I think I have the ability to play college baseball. But it’s too demanding a position at quarterback, it’s too much of a commitment. So I won’t be playing college baseball. I’ve always loved baseball. My dad was totally clear that if I didn’t play sports, he’d be happy. He just wanted me to have fun. I like them both, but it was nice he didn’t pressure me.
ESPNHS: What led you to pick Cal?
Goff: I committed to Cal over Boise State and Washington State. (Cal head coach) Jeff Tedford puts a lot of guys in the NFL, especially with a guy like Aaron Rodgers. And it’s second to none academically. You can’t really ask for more than that. Both my parents went there and it’s 30 minutes from home. I knew when I was at Cal that nothing could beat it for me. Everything fell into place. It was perfect. They were the first to offer, so that added to it.
I’m super excited to work with coach Tedford. Between him and (quarterbacks) coach (Marcus) Arroyo, they have 40-plus years of playing or coaching the quarterback position, and I’ve never heard of that anywhere else. I’m really excited to get better working under them.
ESPNHS: How relieved are you to have the process over with so early?
Goff: It definitely helps a lot, because I don’t have to worry about calling coaches all the time or keeping up on the recruiting news. I can focus on being a better leader and getting that state ring.
ESPNHS: Talk a little bit about the section final. How much has that weighed on you this offseason?
Goff: That was a tough one. We had plenty of chances to win that game. It was frustrating and disappointing because of how good we were and how poorly we played. But I think that’s a good thing for us now. It showed we have to bring our best effort and focus to every game. But Campolindo deserved it that night.
ESPNHS: How would you describe your experience at the Oakland Elite 11 regional?
Goff: It was a lot of fun going up against the top guys in the country. Being able to compete and do well against them was awesome. It definitely helped a lot. I went out with the goal of getting MVP but just came up a little short.
ESPNHS: You did end up beating out Oakland Elite 11 MVP Max Browne for MVP honors the next day at the Oakland NFTC. How did that feel?
Goff: It was nice to win it, just to come away with something from the weekend. Max was one of the first people to come up and congratulate me. We were obviously competing, but we formed a friendship there. Cal-USC (where Browne has committed) is a big rivalry, and we were talking about how fun it’s going to be to compete against each other for four years.
ESPNHS: What would an Elite 11 invite mean to you?
Goff: It would mean everything. I’ve been working for it since my freshman year. I knew then it was something I wanted.
School: Marin Catholic (Kentfield, Calif.)
2011 Team Record: 13-1 (Lost in North Coast Section Division III final)
Passing Yards: 3,179