Sport: Men's Track and Field (100m Dash)
Country: St. Lucia
Birthday: January 30th, 1989
Hometown: Vallejo, California
Cal affiliation: former California Golden Bears football player, back in school after NFL stint to finish his degree in Legal Studies
Years at Cal: 2007 - 2009
It's official: Jahvid Best is going to the Olympics in track & field for St. Lucia. pic.twitter.com/RRNfixyvuG— Cal Football (@CalFootball) July 16, 2016
One of the best and most electric player to come through Cal Football, Jahvid Best’s football exploits are simply fun to watch. His combination of speed, vision, and the ability to change direction is rivaled by just a few.
Best saw the field as a true freshman in 2007, playing as the primary backup running back to Justin Forsett. He rushed for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns in just 29 carries. He also caught 13 passes for 74 yards and another touchdown.
2008 was Jahvid Best’s breakout year. He totaled 1580 yards rushing with 15 touchdowns. Best set a Cal record for most rushing yards in a game with 311, when he accomplished that feat against the Washington Huskies. His 2,247 total yards is the most all purpose yards total in Cal history. Best concluded his best season by earning the Offensive MVP award at the Emerald Bowl when he recorded a 186 yards, 2 TDs performance.
With Heisman hype at the onset of his junior year in 2009, Best started out the year strong. The highlight may be the game against Minnesota when he ran for 131 yards and scored 5 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Best’s junior season and Cal career when he suffered a horrific concussion against Oregon State while scoring a touchdown. Cal fans don’t need to see the replay of that ever again.
Best concluded his Cal career with 2668 yards and 29 touchdowns rushing to go with 533 yards and 6 touchdowns receiving. Despite his injury history, Best wowed then Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz who famously said, “Some people watch adult videos on their computer...I go to YouTube to watch Jahvid Best highlight clips.” The Lions traded up to the first round and selected Best with the 30th overall pick.
Best had an okay rookie year, somewhat slowed by turf toe. Then in a 2011 preseason game, Best suffered a concussion. Best was able to get back that year and had a great game on Monday Night Football.
Unfortunately, Jahvid suffered another concussion later that season and that was the last time Best got to play in the NFL. Best was on Injury Reserve for the entire 2012 before being released.
Best returned to Berkeley in 2014 to work as a student-assistant coach on Cal Football and finish his Cal degree.
Once it was clear to Best that he wasn’t going to get another shot in the NFL because of his concussion history, he decided to head back home and resume taking classes at UC Berkeley. Once enrolled, Best reached out Dykes and the coaching staff about helping out.
“The main thing for me is really getting my degree; that’s really my main focus,” Best said. “All the football stuff is a bonus for me.”
Best isn’t sure what his exact role on the team will be once the season begins, but he wants to help Cal’s players in any way possible.
“I feel like I owe a lot to Cal,” Best said. “What I did here and all the help I had while I was here: I feel like it’s my turn to come around and do my part and help out in any way I can. So what they need me to do, I’m here to help.”
In addition to football, Jahvid Best also ran track in high school. He won the 100 meter dash at the Arcadia Invitational with a time of 10.36s despite an injured foot. He was 3rd in the state in 2006. Best’s senior season times of 10.31 and 20.65 in 100 meter and 200 meter were the 5th and 2nd fastest high school time in the country.
With his NFL dream dashed by concussion, Best returned to track. He ran a 10.262 in 2015 in the 100 meter dash. Then at a meet in UCSD, Jahvid Best ran the official Olympics qualifying time of 10.16. Since Best’ father was originally from Saint Lucia, he got to become an Olympian and represent Saint Lucia.
More on Jahvid and his Rio Outlook:
This is the last of the Rio 2016 CGB Profiles for the 42 Calympian athletes. You can say that I have saved the Best for last.
By qualifying for the Olympic games, Jahvid Best became the first ex-NFL player to be an Olympian (current NFL player Nate Ebner was later named to the USA Rugby team).
Concussions may have cut short Best’s NFL career/dream, but he was able to re-aim and achieve other athletic dreams.
Dreams may/will change.... Never stop pursuing them. Above all else never stop believing in yourself. #anythingispossible— Jah (@J4hvidbest) July 16, 2016
Thanks to Jahvid for the inspirational story and enjoy (and stay safe) in Rio!
Jahvid Best will race on Saturday, August 13th.
Good luck to Jahvid and GO BEARS!