CGB Hall of Fame: Dante Hughes vs Steve Bartkowski

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One Golden Bear is near and dear to our hearts. The other one is the only Golden Bear to be drafted #1. Tough choices to make in this Round of 32 matchup. Cast your votes by noon on Friday (to find who the winner faces, click here and cast your votes for that matchup!)

Plenty of people made the case for Dante.

thehawkse7en: Just an excellent, excellent cover corner who totally locked down one side of the field during his Cal career.

zachahuy: For all the exciting interception he made. " Lott Trophy winner in 2006 and a first team All-America while leading the nation in interceptions at the time with 8"

Spazzy McGee: Dante Hughes was one of the most dominant if not the most dominant cover corner Cal had ever seen.  Many multi-year players in college show vast swings in their ability from year to year, or have careers rendered moot and inconsistent by injury or other distraction.  With a steady progression from solid to spectacular over his four years at Cal, Daymeion showed none of this. 

 

A highly lauded dual threat recruit, Daymeion was equally dangerous rushing and passing.  His stellar D in addition to the 15 TDs and yardage totals he chalked up landed him as the #41 player in the nation coming out of Crenshaw High School in LA. 

 

Starting as a true freshman in the oh-so-innocent Tedford days of 2003, he won team freshman of the year, and in a sign of things to come, intercepted his first pass for a 72 yard TD vs. Oregon State.  His sophomore year brought continued development, starting in 11 games and honing his approach and tackle skills.

 

Daymeion truly started to shine in 2005, his junior year, in a vein not seen since Deltha O’Neal.  With five interceptions, 16th nationally, for a massive 159 return yards, DelthaDaymeion effectively shut down half the field for opposing QBs, and along with Tim Mixon was a major force in the (mostly) rock solid 2005 D.  His play also led to two of the more inventive facebook groups to be created for Cal football players (Group 1 & Group 2 here, click on them!).

 

His senior season was stunning.  Eight interceptions for a hundred and then some yards and two more for TDs, seventeen pass breakups, and 72 tackles.  QBs hardly dared throw near him.  With his partner in defense Tim Mixon out of Cal with untimely injury problems, Daymeion found time to tutor an up-and-coming freshman named Syd’Quan Thompson.  It appears to have worked.  His hard work was well rewarded.  In addition to the Lott trophy, Hughes was an AP first-team All American and the Pac-10 player of the year.  He was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts and continues to play for them under the new persona of Dante Hughes. 

 

Thank you for your hard work Daymeion!

 

As for Steve, Tightwad Hill recapped his storybook season.

There's no harder player to rate than #17 on our 50 Greatest countdown. Steve Bartkowski is, of course, the only Golden Bear to be picked #1 in the NFL draft. No quarterback in the school's history possessed the arm strength of #10, who was reported by assistant coach Paul Hackett to have thrown a football 100 yards in the air at practices. Few if any players matched his overall athletic ability; Bartkowski was also a magnificent baseball player who made All-America as a 1st baseman in 1973.

In his senior year of 1974, Bartkowski put it all together once he got to work with Hackett, a punchline of a head coach who was nevertheless a gifted tutor of quarterbacks. He convinced Bartkowski to trade velocity for accuracy, and the results were spectacular. Despite playing through the pain of a separated shoulder, Bart led the nation with 2,580 yards passing and earned consensus All-America honors for the 7-3-1 Bears. He topped the 300 yard mark four times (Washington, WSU, UCLA, Stanford); each of those efforts came after the shoulder injury, suffered in a 31-14 upset win over #14 Illinois in Champaign. Bartkowski finished 10th in voting for the Heisman that year, and would almost surely have ranked higher had he received even a modest amount of pre-season hype.

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