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Sunday, January 16, 2022

UF might be plucking another talented back from the Golden State.

California's James Montgomery, who was a strong candidate to win the job as the Golden Bears' starting running back next season, is in Gainesville and wants to transfer to UF, said current Gators wide receiver Carl Moore.

"If Florida offers him, this is where he's going," Moore said following practice Saturday afternoon.

Montgomery and Moore grew up in the Sacramento area and played together at Rancho Cordova High.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford granted Montgomery's surprising release request on March 17.

Montgomery, a redshirt freshman last season at Cal, would have to sit out the 2008 season per NCAA rules and would have two years left to play after that.

Another running back from the Golden State, Southern California's Emmanuel Moody, transferred to UF over North Carolina last August.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Montgomery was considering Washington State, UF and one other SEC school last week.

That other SEC school may have been South Carolina, where Montgomery visited earlier this week, Moore said.

Montgomery told the Sacramento Bee that he left Berkeley because he didn't like the Bay Area.

"The thing with him was that Cal wasn't his first choice," Moore said. Montgomery originally committed to Washington in high school. "He went there because his mom was sick, so he wanted to stay close to home. After he got there, he realized no one was really pushing him to make him better. He doesn't really like Berkeley too much, either. So he wanted to come out here where it's big-time football, where he knows he's going to get better, and he'll be going against people that can compete with him. Me and him, we grew up together. He knows me, come here and it's not going to be like he doesn't know anybody."

The Sacramento Bee reported that Montgomery's mother, Cynthia Cooper, is in improved health, making it a little easier to transfer to a school far from home.

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Attempts to reach Montgomery on Saturday afternoon were unsuccessful, but Moore said that Montgomery was supposed to talk to Urban Meyer following Saturday's practice.

Montgomery backed up departing senior Justin Forsett at Cal last season and rushed 36 times for 171 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games.

Montgomery was reportedly listed as Cal's No. 1 running back on its initial spring depth chart, though his main competitor, Jahvid Best, may be sidelined for all of spring practice with a hip injury.

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