Davis Webb's college career began at Texas Tech, where he set Big 12 records and was named Holiday Bowl MVP as a true freshman. It ended at Cal after he was replaced in Texas following injuries. Through the ups and downs, Webb's confidence never wavered.
“Ask the coaches at Texas Tech and now at Cal and they’ll all tell you the same things,” Webb said to CSNBayArea.com in an exclusive phone interview. “I’m the hardest worker in the facility, I’m a great teammate.
"And I can spin the rock better than anybody in the country.”
Webb had big shoes to fill at Cal, replacing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff. He performed admirably, finishing 419 passing yards and six touchdowns shy of Goff's 2016 marks ... in one less game.
With his college career in the rearview mirror, Webb is putting all his focus on the next step in his career -- the NFL Draft in April. He's training daily at Proactive Sports Performance in Thousand Oaks with 11-year NFL quarterback and longtime coach Jim Zorn.
A recent "light" day began at 8:00 a.m. with a two-hour throwing session under Zorn's watchful eye. Two more hours of mobility, running and motions were followed by another hour of passing with Zorn. Then Webb moved on to his mental game with three hours in the classroom. The day ended with a big dinner back at home and a little extra homework for desert.
“It’s a full day and it’s a lot of fun,” Webb said of his current routine.
The next chance for Webb to showcase his skills before the draft comes Feb. 28 in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine, an opportunity he looks to take full advantage of.
“I’ve got a couple goals in mind,” Webb said, “but I’m gonna keep those personal because those are my goals. I’m excited to shock some people at the combine because I’m pretty athletic.”
Some players opt to sit out specific combine events, but as someone who feels he has plenty to prove, don’t expect that from Webb.
“Oh yeah, I’m doing it all,” he said proudly. “I’m a very competitive person and I feel like I’ve got a lot to show and prove, and I have no problem doing that.”
After excelling in an open shotgun offense at both Texas Tech and Cal, Webb’s main goal heading into the draft is to show he's more than just a system quarterback.
“The thing I want to prove to people the most is just my football capability of being able to learn a brand new offense and I did that at the Senior Bowl,” Webb said. “I learned a West Coast offense with the Cleveland Browns and got better every day and that translated over to a great game in the Senior Bowl.
“I think I proved that first hurdle and I’m just gonna keep continuing to do that and prove that I’m not a system guy and I have the capability to learn any offense, and if you give me the information, I’m gonna lock it down.”
Indeed, Webb put on a show in the Senior Bowl. After entering the game in the second quarter for the South, Webb completed 5 of 7 passes on a 95-yard drive that culminated in a perfectly placed 39-yard touchdown, a flick-of-the-wrist fade pass to Texas A&M’s Josh Reynolds. Webb was named the game's Most Outstanding Player after throwing for 165 yards on 11-of-16 passing. He led scoring drives all three times he hit the field in the South’s 16-15 win.
“I think the biggest thing was just how detailed every play is,” Webb said of his experience running an NFL-style offense. “You spend 10 minutes on a play. It’s very detailed from the receiver splits to the quarterback’s drops, to the mechanics of the whole play, to why we’re callin’ it, why the protection is that way, to situations and down and distance.”
For Webb, a Texas Tech graduate who earned just under a 4.0 GPA in his three months as a Cal grad student, the NFL game plays to his advantage.
“It’s a detailed game and that’s something that kind of plays in my favor,” Webb said. “I’m a cerebral guy, I’m a thinker and that’s why I think I’m gonna separate myself from these quarterbacks in the draft class and continue to get better because I’m the one putting the work in and I plan on having a good career.”
Webb is considered to be a top five quarterback in the 2017 draft class, along with Clemson's Deshaun Watson, North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky, Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahome II, who replaced Webb when he went down with injuries at Texas Tech.
The 22-year-old has been in contact with all 32 NFL teams including the 49ers and Raiders. San Francisco is one of a number of teams in need of a franchise quarterback along with the Browns, Jets, Bears, Bills, Cardinals, Texans, and Jaguars.
"Football is not a hobby of mine, it’s an addiction," Webb said. "I want to be around this game for the rest of my life, whether that’s playing or coaching one day and I just love this game."
Webb was the backup quarterback on his seventh grade B-team. The next year, he was dropped a level and served as the C-team backup. The experience made him a huge fan of Tom Brady, who went from an overlooked sixth-round pick to the greatest champion in Super Bowl history. Just like Brady, Webb strives to prove his doubters wrong.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a chip on my shoulder, it’s just a feeling that maybe someone doesn’t want you, maybe someone thinks another quarterback is better,” said Webb. “I want to be the best quarterback I can be, the best quarterback for that team, because that’s all I can control.
“I plan on being the best version of myself as a friend, a brother, a son, and a quarterback. I plan on working on that each and every day and getting better each and every day.”
Webb has 70 days left until the Browns are on the clock in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our feature on Cal quarterback Davis Webb...