BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - The birthplace of counter-culture is a long way from tiny Prosper, Texas.
It took some getting used to, but Davis Webb has adapted just fine to a new environment and a new team in Berkeley, California.
Webb, a Texas Tech graduate transfer who replaced Jared Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, at quarterback, has led the California Golden Bears to a surprising 3-2 record, with consecutive upsets over ranked teams for the first time since 2009.
Webb leads the nation with 2,143 passing yards and 22 touchdowns.
He was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week after throwing four long touchdown passes in a 28-23 victory over then-No. 18 Utah.
Webb is thriving in a spread offense he’s familiar with from his days at Texas Tech, where he threw for 5,557 yards and 46 touchdowns is 23 games (14 as a starter).
But to say a stroll down Berkeley’s Telegraph Avenue, where the interchange of ideas and arts, along with the aromas of shish kebob and the occasional whiff of marijuana that fill the air, is a bit different form Prosper, a sleepy middle class suburb of about 10,000 where Webb grew up, would be an understatement.
“Culture shock? Yes, a little different than Dallas, Texas or Lubbock, Texas, and at the same time I’ve embraced it,” Webb said.
“This has probably been the best experience of my life, just being here has really allowed me to embrace the culture … and just kind of grow up as a man and be more mature. It’s been a great experience.”
Webb credits his teammates with helping him adapt to a new environment in Berkeley.
“I had a plan coming in here to try to make sure that my hard work and my work ethic would win over my teammates,” Webb said. “It’s worked thus far and I’m going to continue to do that and try to be leader for this team.”
Webb’s teammates say his energy is infectious.
“He brings a lot of joy to the team,” senior safety Khari Vanderbilt said. “He’s a quarterback but he’s in our defensive huddle pumping us up. He brings a good mindset to the team.”
Webb’s easy transition from the reddest of the red states to live-and-let-live Berkeley impressed his coaches.
“I don’t know how many times in his life he’d been to California before he got here so I think everything was new to him,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said.
“He’s a Texas kid who went to college in Texas, was used to his teammates at Texas Tech, was used to the way they were doing things, was used to a different lifestyle than he has here, and so for him to be able to come in the door one day and get acclimated and settled as quickly as he has I think really shows you how mature he is.
“That’s a hard transition for people, especially when you’re 21 years old, so he’s handled it about as well as you can handle it.”
His success on the field is especially impressive considering the Golden Bears lost their top six receivers from last season.
Webb’s work ethic has set him apart, Dykes said.
“He’s just a highly competitive person … when the game’s on the line he wants the ball in his hands, he want to make the tough decisions,” Dykes said.
And if the early returns are any indication, Webb’s decision to transfer to Cal hasn’t hurt his NFL draft stock.
“I think the more that people see him the more they’re going to like him,” Dykes said. “I think they’re going to like the film and I think they’re going to even like the maturity and work ethic and leadership even better.
“He’s one of those guys that if he has an opportunity to move in the NFL can transition pretty quickly.”
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