When the Cal Bears were looking for a new head coach this offseason, one of the selling points of the job was that the cupboard in Berkeley was far from bare of talent. One of the centerpieces of the Cal roster, many believed, was quarterback Zach Kline who redshirted his first year on campus and appeared ready take the reins in 2013. But Sonny Dykes found his quarterback of the future in true freshman Jared Goff and Kline has decided to transfer to the Oregon State Beavers for a better shot at starting during his collegiate career giving the Beavers a nice boost to their quarterback depth down the line.
Kline served as the backup to Goff this season and saw limited action for the Bears. He completed 43-of-82 passes on the season for 443 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. After Cal’s disappointing season was over, Kline says that he sat down with Dykes and the Bears’ coaching staff to discuss his future with the team which he described to the Bay Area News Group:
“I just think from what the coaches have told me, I have a better opportunity somewhere else. They put it to me straight and in a professional way, which I appreciate.
“I wish I could stay at Cal … (but) it’s clear Jared is the guy. They told me, ‘If you want to start, you should go somewhere else.’ I need to find a place where that’s going to be the case.”
The plan now, according to what Kline has told Oregon State coaches, is for the quarterback to attend a junior college during winter and spring terms where he will earn his associate degree. From there, he will transfer to Oregon State either in summer or fall term, sit out the 2014 season and be eligible to play as a junior in 2015. Kline will have two years of eligibility remaining once he becomes eligible after sitting out the one season and will have a good shot at stepping into the starter’s role in 2015.
Oregon State is in line to lose their top two quarterbacks over the next two seasons. Backup Cody Vaz is a senior this year and will leave the program after their Hawaii Bowl appearance against the Boise State Broncos. Starter Sean Mannion, meanwhile has one more year of eligibility remaining. If he returns to Corvallis for his senior season, he’ll be the leader of the offense in 2014 as he continues to build an impressive resume for NFL scouts and take one last shot at getting Oregon State to the top of the Pac-12 in his final year of college football.
That leaves an opening under center in 2015 where Kline can come in and contribute. There are no quarterbacks currently on the roster who have attempted a pass for Oregon State besides Vaz and Mannion so Kline will likely have an experience edge from his limited action with Cal in 2013. Whether or not he is able to capitalize on the opportunity at Oregon State remains to be seen but the Beavers will be more than happy to add the talented quarterback to their roster to add depth under center for the future.