After he announced his verbal commitment to Washington on Monday, Ethan Garber's brother — Cal quarterback Chase Garbers — joked that he couldn't believe Ethan committed to a school that "can't beat Cal." The 2020 quarterback is looking forward to setting the record straight.
The chatter is nothing new for Ethan and Chase Garbers.
The brothers and southern California quarterbacks grew up together, after all. They played one-on-one basketball together (and still do). They golfed together (and still do). They competed with each other, and against each other. They pushed each other. They beat each other and chided each other.
But never in football. Not yet.
That could change in 2020, as Ethan — a soon-to-be senior quarterback at Corona Del Mar High School in Newport Beach, Calif. — announced a verbal commitment to Washington on Monday. Chase, meanwhile, started seven games in his redshirt freshman season at California last fall, completing 61 percent of his passes and throwing for 1,506 yards with 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
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One of those starts came in an upset 12-10 home victory over Washington, when Chase completed 16 of 23 passes for 153 yards.
So how did the Cal quarterback welcome his little brother to the Pac-12?
“He’s been saying, ‘I can’t believe you committed to a team that can’t beat Cal,’” Ethan said with a laugh Tuesday. “Because Cal beat them (in football) last year and beat them in basketball (recently).
“I told him, ‘Not when I’m there. I don’t think you’ll get us when I’m there.”
Granted, Washington won its previous two football meetings with Cal by a combined score of 104-34, and the basketball program claimed three consecutive victories over the Bears before falling Feb. 28. But why let the truth get in the way of some good trash talk?
Still, Ethan might have to wait to set the record straight. Should he sign with UW, Garbers would join a quarterback room that currently includes redshirt junior Jacob Eason, redshirt sophomore Jake Haener, redshirt freshmen Jacob Sirmon and Colson Yankoff and true freshman Dylan Morris. There will be a hotly contested competition.
But that’s also nothing new.
“Anywhere you go there’s going to be competition,” Ethan said. “I was never brought up to run away from competition. You’ve got to embrace it. It brings out the best in you. I feel like I thrive in competitive situations, and I’m just ready to compete.”
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound quarterback certainly thrived in his junior season at Corona Del Mar, throwing for 4,135 yards and 55 touchdowns with just eight interceptions, while completing 67 percent of his passes. He earned scholarship offers from Georgia, Miami, UCLA, Utah, Colorado and Washington State along the way.
Still, he remains modestly ranked by 247Sports.com, currently slated as a three-star prospect and the No. 41 pro-style passer in the 2020 class.
So where’s the divide between production and perception?
“He’s never going to blow you away and wow you with the physical tools,” said 247Sports national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman. “He’s not going to be a guy that is going to throw the ball through a wall. It’s not to say he doesn’t have a strong arm. But Chase had a better arm than him. That’s one way I’ll put it.
“But (Ethan) is probably a better athlete than Chase was. Chase was more of a slinger and a risk-taker. Ethan’s the smarter guy. He’s not going to take a lot of risks. He’s going to be far more efficient. He’ll take what the defense gives him. He’s able to really go through his progressions and reads. He’s never going to have a lot of ‘wow’ throws, but he’s going to be efficient. He’ll move the chains.”
But will he beat Cal (or Oregon or Utah or Washington State, for that matter)? Will he win the starting job? Will he get the better of his big brother?
Those are all goals for Ethan Garbers. They aren’t the only ones.
“I’m super comfortable (with committing to UW and shutting down my recruitment),” Ethan said. “I kind of got tired of the whole recruiting process. I wanted to get done and focus on winning this state championship next year with my high school.”
Ethan will attempt to do that alongside three-star Washington tight end target Mark Redman, who the quarterback called “pretty much my best friend.”
“(I’m recruiting him) every day, man,” Ethan said. “I’m always pushing, ‘Go Dawgs. This is the best place for you.’”
At the very least, it appears to be the best place for Ethan, who took an unofficial visit on Valentine’s Day and promptly fell in love with UW. He verbally committed to a family affair — and not just when Cal meets Washington.
“It’s a family up there,” Ethan said. “I truly believe that, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”