By Christian Pundt (with Xander Gold)
Hometown: Oakland, CA
Class: Sophomore (Redshirt)
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Hailing from the other great state at producing football talent, Xander Gold was born and raised in California before moving up the West Coast to quarterback Oregon to levels of success unseen since the Mariota days. The Northern Californian prodigy rose to fame as an athletic marvel in high school, utterly dominating the competition and leaving local sportscasters with their jaws dropped. At a young age, Gold’s athleticism earned him numerous regional and national accolades, as well as his highlight reel landing him on SportsCenter at one point.
Xander Gold entered college as a five-star recruit and, according to many high school scouting services, the top overall recruit in the country. Despite having offers from national powerhouses such as Alabama, USC, Texas, and LSU, Gold opted to stay near home and suit up for the Oregon Ducks. After redshirting his freshman season, Gold would be unleashed to the tune of 4,300 total yards and 43 total scores in his first season on the field, leading Oregon to a National Championship Game (where they would be defeated) and giving Gold a runner-up at the Heisman podium.
Xander Gold was only marginally less efficient (yes startingly more productive) as a third-year sophomore, particularly shocking given that the running joke was that PAC-12 head coaches held a summit last summer to discuss how in the world they were going to stop this kid. He ripped the entire western US to shreds again to 4,500 total yards and 52 touchdowns. This effort put Gold back in the runner-up position for the Heisman (which must be setting a massive chip on his shoulder, being passed over – twice) and earned Oregon another spot in the Natty, in which they would finish the job.
College football historians that I have spoken with have argued that if Xander Gold came back to Oregon and finished his four years, won a Heisman and another ring, and continued his statistical pace, he could’ve gone down as one of the greatest to ever play the game at the college level. Alas, the SFL called his name, and, feeling as though he had accomplished everything he wanted to at the collegiate level, Gold felt it was time to move on to the bigs.
Weight: 222 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.43
20 Yard Dash: N/A
10 Yard Dash: N/A
Bench Press: 15 reps (225 lbs)
Vertical Leap: 33.5”
Broad Jump: 118”
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.03
60 Yard Shuttle: 10.72
Xander Gold is an uber athletic, highly productive quarterback with bags of potential. Arguably, Gold has the highest ceiling of any prospect in the class. Initially dismissed by pro scouts as being a “college quarterback” who relied on an untranslatable spread offense, Gold has caught some serious helium the last few weeks. The success of the pass-heavy (if not spread) offenses in Tallahassee and Alaska have calmed those anxieties however. Gold followed that up by absolutely blowing up the combine and showing off the athleticism that has made him the player he is.
NFL Comparison: Marcus Mariota
SFL Comparison: Julian Tyree
– Might be most athletic player in the class
– Very projectable
– Highly productive college player
– Has said all the right things publicly
– Reportedly interviewed well
– Only an “average” arm
– West coast kid. Brings a very specific personality that might not mesh well with every team
– Introverted. Would not be the dynamic vocal leader that every team wants
– Questions still remain that he could just be another college QB that put up big numbers
– Late riser. Even with impressive athleticism and an even more impressive resume, teams could still be wary of drafting a player high who was not a wire-to-wire elite prospect
Even in such a polarized climate surrounding Xander Gold, both camps agree that he offers the highest upside of any player in this draft class. He presents unmatched athleticism at the quarterback position that could add a different dimension to his eventual team’s offense and the leadership and production that goes along with being the face of the franchise. He handles himself well in public channels and with the media and should be a professional face off the field. For some, even the SFL’s own Melt Kipper, he has risen to being the top overall prospect.
At the end of the day, Gold will be a top five pick and probably lead his new team to a lot of playoff appearances down the line. He should have a long career in the league and could have a future eventually holding a coaching or front office position.
CC: What brought you to the SFL?
XG: I would like to think that my skill brought me here. I think I’m ready for this big leagues, so here I am.
CC: I asked this same question to Kody Hill as a little icebreaker before the questions heat up, who do you model your game after?
XG: There’s not anyone i specifically mold my game after. I like to think of myself as my own person and player. Some people on campus used to call me a unicorn because they’ve never seen anyone do what I do.
CC: You only have two years of experience at Oregon, what makes you believe you can step up to the plate?
XG: I think my stats prove it all. I think my body is mature enough and I believe my skill and game knowledge is where it needs to be for me to take that next step. A lot of people wanted me to enter the draft after my first season but my family and I felt like one more year wouldn’t hurt and it proved to be a correct guess.
CC: What sets you apart from the other rookie players and the other rookie quarterback prospects?
XG: My worth ethic. If I’m not eating or sleeping, I’m studying game film, I’m working out, I’m at the practice facility perfecting my craft. I don’t think anyone works harder than me, I want this more than anything.
CC: In what offensive system do you see yourself working best under year one; longterm?
XG: I feel as if I can adapt to any system, but a system I think I’d excel at the most is the “Spread Offense”. I would be most lethal in that kind of offense especially with a decent RB.
CC: You’ve probably grabbed the most helium in the draft and are arguably the highest rising prospect in the last few weeks. You are now up to #2 in the SFL Beat Writers’ Big Board 4.0 (up from #4 in 3.0). How does that make you feel?
XG: It’s flattering but really it’s just outside talk. It’s a humbling feeling but honestly it doesn’t mean much. Sam Darnold was projected to go first pick for most of the off-season and on draft day Baker scooped that spot up. So nothing is really final until draft day is here.
CC: What do you bring to a team?
XG: I bring that firepower every team needs to succeed. I bring leadership,toughness and a positive attitude. Along with my worth ethic I bring that “Midas Touch”, everything I touch turns into GOLD.
CC: Who do you WANT to be drafted by? What colors do you want to don season 11?
XG: I’d be lying to you if I said there isn’t a team or teams I’ve fell in love with over these last few weeks. Honestly I would love to land several places but ultimately the team I would want to be drafted to is the team that’s not afraid to give this kid a chance. What ever team puts their faith in me to lead their team is the team I want to be drafted to and play for.
CC: Here’s another question I asked fellow top prospect Kody Hill and I feel like this will end up heavily applying to you too. Are you ready to be the franchise cornerstone if an expansion team drafts you?
XG: Most definitely. I’m ready to put a team on my back and take them to the next level. I’m ready to take the league by storm and show that I belong.
CC: Do you see yourself as the type of guy that could commit long-term to the team that drafts you?
XG: I always have the mindset of giving the team that takes a chance on you your all. We all know that a lot can take place during the season but loyalty is in my blood. As long as i feel everything is good between us I don’t see any reason for me to go out and find a new team.
CC: Should Aaron Arrington draft you first overall?
XG: I believe he should. I think I bring a whole lot to the table and I feel like the we would both benefit from eachother.
CC: Let’s say you don’t go #1. Let’s say disaster strikes. Let’s say you find yourself sliding on draft day. Have you prepared yourself emotionally for that situation yet? How would you react?
XG: Going #1 isn’t my main priority, just simply getting drafted is. But I will say this, if I happen to slide on draft day, this chip that’s on my shoulder will only get bigger. And every team that passed on me will sooner or later regret it and I’m going to make them feel me for years to come.
CC: What if a team with an established quarterback drafts you. Let’s say you end up with a team like Tallahassee, Indianapolis, or Alaska and you’ll be the clearcut backup entering training camp. What’s your mindset? Will you be going for the starting job right away, try to unseat the starter? Or will you take a year to sit behind the veteran?
XG: It’s in my nature to compete. I respect everyone that came before me but I’m not going to take the back seat. I am a competitor and I’m going to do everything in my power to make a case for myself to be taking snaps under center Week 1 of the regular season.
CC: Which rookies do you have a target on? Which one are you most looking forward to playing? Do you feel like you have a target on your back?
XG: When I say this I mean it in the humblest way possible. I feel like i strike fear in all of my competition’s heart no matter who it is. So yeah i think I have a target on my back but then again who doesn’t? I love everyone in my class, but I look forward to playing my good pals Marcus,Kody,Thomas and Aman.
CC: I think we can all see you’re a quiet guy, an introverted personality if you will. How do you think that translates on the field?
XG: My play on the field does all the talking, so I never felt the need to be this loud rowdy kind of guy. I let my play do all the talking and go home and call it a day. Opponents underestimate me because of my quietness, but they pay for it later on.
CC: Where do you see yourself at the end of the season? How about at the end your career? What will your legacy be?
XG: I see myself helping and leading my team to the playpffs at the end of the season. The ultimate goal is to reach the championship and I see myself leading my team to the playoffs for a chance to do that. When it’s all said and done I think I could be one of the best players to play this game.
CC: This is looking like a pretty active and competitive rookie class. How do you feel about you chances to win Rookie of the Year? Is it important to you to win Rookie of the Year?
XG: Awards aren’t everything to me. What matters most to me is the trophy you raise up with your team at the end. Of course winning an award would be cool though, it’s just not my main goal in this league. I do think I have a good chance at winning the ROTY award though.
CC: What’s your goals to accomplish in the SFL?
XG: I want to win multiple championships. I want to be considered the best to ever play my position and then eventually branch off into coaching/owning.