By Ralph Mancini
In a Saturday teleconference call, University of California standout Jahvid Best described the process he went through in making the final decision to enter the upcoming 2010 NFL Draft.
While the running back consulted with head coach Jeff Tedford and former teammate Justin Forsett (now a member of the Seattle Seahawks) on the pros and cons of leaving college as a junior, it was a “gut feeling” that ultimately pointed him in the direction of the NFL.
“During the past couple of months, me and my family have been offered the opportunity to join the NFL…I plan to finish my education after football, but this is an opportunity I can’t pass up,” he reasoned.
Best had no doubts that he would be healthy enough to perform at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. But when asked what 40-time he would be targeting, he couldn’t come up with a specific number.
“I never ran a legit 40 [yard dash] before. I’ve only ran track,” he said while also adding that he himself is very curious to see how he measures up with his peers.
On the subject of the work he needs to accomplish to make himself 100-percent ready for pro ball, Best told the NFL Draft Bible that he’s determined to increase his overall physical strength to handle the more physical nature of the NFL.
The 5’10” playmaker further mentioned that he has yet to enlist the services of an agent and also communicated that no decision has been made on where he’ll be working out in preparation for the combine.
Coach Tedford joined in the question and answer session, and had no doubts about Best’s potential at the next level.
He described his player as an athlete who possesses great balance, excellent lateral movement, strength and the ability to catch the ball.
From a maturity level, Tedford lauded the junior phenom as a soft-spoken, level-headed individual who has always handled the attention surrounding him very well.
“He’s not a verbal leader, but he’s well respected in the locker room,” observed the head coach.
Regarding Best’s durability, Tedford focused on the way he recently bounced back from a dislocated elbow in a two-week time frame.
When the topic of the running back’s concussion was broached, however, the coach didn’t believe the future pro had any proneness to head injuries. In relation to the play in which he suffered the concussion versus Oregon State, he called it “a part of playing football.”
Tedford concluded the discussion by pointing out the similarities between Best and his successor Shane Vereen by commenting that they both have very similar characteristics.
Going forward, he continued, his Golden Bears offense will look to carry on with a two-man committee at the running back position.
Photo Courtesy of University of California
Saturday, January 2, 2010
By Ralph Mancini