We conclude the first round of the CGB Hall of Fame with two of Cal football's greatest (one past, one on his way to pro greatness) dueling for a spot in the second round! The winner goes onto face Patrick Christopher.
Voting ends at noon PST on Friday. Examine the case for either side after the jump and vote in the poll!
We remembered Alualu a few days before he went 10th in the NFL Draft a few months ago. Hydro's memory particularly stood out:
While working for the team, I often worked with the defensive line. On one sunny day, some of the more senior defensive linemen were having a little chit chat between drills. Coach Delgado was firmly shouting out orders to players currently in the drill, and Abu Ma'afala, Nu'u Tafisi, and Mika Kane had just popped out of the drill. They had been talking about who among the defensive linemen, will become either really really good or become an NFL player. Between labored breathes, and with eyes fixed afar in thought, they pondered their nearby comrades in blue practice shirts and shorts.
Somebody mentioned a few people, and those names didn't really garner much response from the others. But then somebody, and I think it was Abu, suggested Tyson Alualu. I think he said something like, "I think Tyson has a good chance." The others immediately agreed with "yeah, Tyson." It was unanimous. The others weren't agreeing to agree, they were agreeing because they really believed Tyson Alualu would be the next great one.
Tyson wasn't there at the moment. I think he was in the drill itself. He didn't hear those words, but I did and stored that memory away for today.
I've written about this before, but for those of you who have ever done something enough to know what it takes to be good at that something, you know you can judge the talent and potential of others at becoming good at that same task. For example, and I'll use myself, I grew up playing a musical instrument. I turned out to be decent enough to make a few honor bands. I knew who was good, and who wasn't. I knew who had potential to be a pro, and who didn't. Those experiences I had helped me judge others, and that's exactly what was going on in the conversation between Tafisi, Ma'fala, and Kane.
Upon hearing those words, I made a distinct effort to keep an eye on Alualu from then on. I'd be stupid not to since his teammates pegged him as the one of the next greatest ones.
This story I am relaying to you occurred in 2006. Tyson Alualu was a freshman in 2006. The elder defensive linemen picked him out as a freshman. They could see the talent and potential that early. It was that obvious.
This memory is one of my favorite memories because I felt like I had been told of the future. Before anyone even thought that Tyson would be our next terror on the defensive line, I already knew he would be thanks to the conversation I had overheard.