Football: Cal reportedly close to hiring Jahvid Best as student assistant RBs coach

Former Cal running back Jahvid Best, whose NFL career was ended prematurely by a series of concussions, is returning to school to finish his degree and reportedly will be hired as a student assistant coach.

The Cal Rivals website reported that Best, 24, will work as an assistant with Cal’s running backs. Chad Nightengale, who coached Best at Salesian High in Richmond, confirmed Best intends to resume taking classes at Berkeley.

A Cal spokesman Saturday morning said he had no news to announce.

Best led the Pac-10 in rushing in 2008 and played two seasons for the Detroit Lions before a third concussion ended his playing days.

Best got his first taste of coaching last fall when he helped out on a part-time basis last fall Salesian.

“He was great with our kids,” said Nightengale, also a Cal grad. “He works very well with kids in general. His body of work in college and the NFL, obviously, will win a lot of credibility with players.”

At Cal, Best rushed for 1,580 yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2008, then had 867 yards and 12 TDs when he sustained a season-ending head injury in a spectacular spill against Oregon State.

Best, who rushed for 2,668 yards in part of three seasons at Cal, was a first-round draft choice of the Lions in 2010.

He totaled 1,719 rushing and receiving yards in two seasons with Detroit, but hasn’t played since 2011 and was released by the Lions last summer.

Cal coach Sonny Dykes also is in the process of trying to hire two defensive assistant coaches, including a coordinator.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Juancho

    If hes a student assistant then he cannot be involved in recruiting. So that sucks.

  • Dan

    Stanford’s DC Derek Mason has been hired as new Vandy’s new head coach. He was one of my top choices last year when Cal was looking. If you have a defense like Stanford has had, you’re going to be a perennial top 10-15 team. Of course Sandy Barbour would never understand that.

    Congrats to Mason, Vandy for themselves a good replacement for Franklin.

  • Juancho

    And how about some congrats for the recent major hires going to african american candidates. In the sec, penn state and texas. Good sign.

  • Larry

    I think it’s a good idea to bring Jahvid Best whom is a Ron Gould disciple back into the program. It should also be good for recruiting as well. Especially since he has NFL experience.

  • Eric

    It should still resonate with WRs/RBs/OL recruits that Best is part of the staff, which can be discussed by the coaches who do hit the recruiting trail.
    I think what I like the best (no pun intended) is that Jahvid is coming back to finish his studies..

  • Will

    Agree with Eric. His mere presence will be a boost for recruiting on that side of the ball, even if he’s not allowed to actively participate in recruitment.

  • Will

    I’m excited that he’s coming back to finish his degree. He’s going to show these players the importance of being a student-athlete. His situation also puts things in perspective for even the most talented players. You may have all the skill in the world, but it’s always good to have a backup plan, because you never know what’s going to happen to you in the pros.

  • Juancho

    Dont get me wrong. I love the hire. It will help. It will be huge next year though when he is promoted and can hit the recruiting trail.

  • Milo

    Welcome back Jahvid!

  • wgward

    The Bear…is coming out of hibernation.

  • Wehofx


    Twitter: @Coach_Riley: Excited to announce the newest member of #BeaverNation, QB Luke Del Rio! #GoBeavs

    zak goes from 1 qb competition to another.

    They better announce the new dc in a coupla hours or I’ll owe Juancho a coupla rounds.

  • Juancho

    I think tongilava committed today.

  • Calfan1

    Flipped fron sjsu?

  • Juancho

    I believe so. Which is bittersweet for me. San Jose is my second favorite program. I have allegiances through family. And to be honest Tongilava can have more impact on the San Jose program than the Cal program. Funny how a 2 star recruit can mean completely different things for two schools 30 minutes apart.

  • Juancho

    I wonder how much brand awareness Jahvid Best has. As a test, I asked two of my baseball kids today, who are high school age if they knew who Jahvid Best was. Not a clue.

    I wonder how much of this will really help in recruiting. Do players know who he is? Or because he didn’t have NFL success like Lynch is this something that is a great move because he will be a great teacher and role model, but in terms of recruiting really is being overblown by us Cal folks b/c we know who the heck he is. And we remember that pre-injury Jahvid. It’ll be interesting to monitor.

    For instance, I wonder if Koa Farmer before today had any idea who Best was. I read through the Twitter Book earlier. And Goff Twitterred that today was the first time he met Best.

  • Steve Knight

    Easy now…

  • Juancho


    Marshawn. My fellow classmate. As a raiders fan do i root with my cal allegiance ir support sf due to economic implications?

  • bigdruid

    Yes, only incompetence and ignorance could explain Barbour’s decision to hire a head coach with the #1 offense in the country instead of a Stanford coordinator. Sheesh.

  • Juancho

    Expect marcus griffin to commit to Cal. Juanchos crystal ball has spoken.