Cal QB Aaron Rodgers Enters NFL Draft

Jan. 3, 2005

AP Sports Writer

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - California quarterback Aaron Rodgers will skip hissenior season to enter the NFL draft.

'I just feel like it's too big of an opportunity to pass up,' Rodgers saidMonday. 'I'm looking forward to competing with the other quarterbacks for achance to make an NFL team, and I'm fulfilling a childhood dream.'

Under the tutelage of coach Jeff Tedford, Rodgers became a top pro prospectin just two years with the Golden Bears, whose season ended last week with a45-31 loss to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl. Rodgers passed for 2,566 yardsand 24 touchdowns this season, his first as Cal's full-time starter.

Rodgers signed with Cal after one year at a junior college in his nativeChico, Calif., starting the final 10 games last season. He passed for 2,903yards and 19 touchdowns while completing more than 60 percent of his passes,throwing just five interceptions and leading Cal to a victory in the InsightBowl.

Rodgers' numbers declined in the second half of this season when his topfour receivers all were sidelined or slowed by various injuries, but he stillled Cal (10-2) to its best season in a half-century. The Bears achieved theirhighest ranking since 1952 and went unbeaten at home for the first time since1950.

Rodgers also helped his pro stock by playing his best game againsttop-ranked Southern California. Though the Bears lost 23-17, Rodgers completed23 straight passes and got his team within a few yards of the possible winningtouchdown in the final seconds.

With a strong arm and good mechanics, Rodgers' game seems well suited forthe NFL. He's widely expected to be one of the first quarterbacks chosen, andcould be picked high in the first round.

Tedford already has prepared for life without Rodgers by signing JosephAyoob, the state's top junior college quarterback.

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