Where could Cal look next in the transfer portal on offense?
Could Cal try and get a second quarterback?
The Cal offense showed signs of improvement in 2022. But improvement from below-average to somewhat below-average wasn’t quite enough for the Bears to make a bowl game. With a lot of the senior leadership transferring out, the Bears could afford a talent infusion on this side of the football and increase the level of competition.
Cal simply has to get better here if they’re going to tread beyond .500 every season. More talent at every position can only help, not hurt.
Cal did lose Christopher Brooks to the portal and Marcel Dancy to graduation, so the Bears are looking at a fairly young roster in their backfield. Damien Moore seems like the likely starter, but Chris Street, DeCarlos Brooks and Ashton Stredick will likely stake their claims as well.
There are a bevy of options at running back for more depth and competition for next season from the portal. First is the exodus happening down on the Farm, annexed by Bear Territory last November.
Austin Jones and Nathaniel Peat, the two leading rushers for the Cardinal the last two seasons, entered the transfer portal yesterday.
Both Jones and Peat saw diminished time behind a Stanford offensive line that did not perform well. David Shaw and Tavita Pritchard focused on a quick pass-heavy offense with Tanner McKee to try and generate points instead, but it came at the expense of a run game that was fairly effective in 2020. Jones rushed for 550 yards in 2020 in the COVID-abbreviated season—that declined to 378 in 2021. Peat averaged a steady 34 yards per carry.
Both could be good additions to the Cal running corps.
Jones has good bounce and fundamentals that would make him a solid option. He would be a great pass-catcher who could step in on passing plays and come out of the backfield as well. Jones hails from Oakland, so he could become an even more local talent.
In addition to his running, Peat could be a special teams return player—he was first-team All Pac-12 kick returner as well, and could provide an injection of explosiveness the Cal run game has been looking for.
Probably the best overall talent in the Pac-12 transfer portal is Colorado running back Jarek Broussard. Broussard was the focal point Colorado’s entire offense in 2020 and 2021. He led the Pac-12 in rushing last season, winning Pac-12 offensive player of the year honors, and still finished tenth in the conference in rush yards despite a declining Buff offense not being able to support him.
Broussard is from Texas so you’d expect his attention to move in that direction first, but there is definite opportunity for him to pave his way into the Cal rotation and make waves.
Broussard entered the portal earlier this week.
Another quarterback - maybe?
Purdue transfer quarterback Jack Plummer gives Cal an experienced face in the locker room. And he figures to vie for the starting position with Kai Millner and Zach Johnson.