This weekend we conclude the second round of voting! Two Golden Bears thriving in the NFL face off in the second round of CGB Hall of Fame voting. Who deserves to move onto the Sweet 16? Vote for the athlete who you believe should go forward!
Voting ends Friday at noon PT. Click here to view the full bracket.
I have so many memories of Mack that it's hard for me write something coherent (ok, I rarely write anything coherent, so harder than usual). I guess it starts back in 2005 around the Vegas bowl. Some may not remember but we had a really good center before Mack, Marvin Philip. Philip started every game in 2004 & 2005, finishing 2004 as an AP second team All-American and 2005 as an AP first team All-American, in addition to being named Cal's offensive MVP (for comparison's sake, Mack was only a third team AP All-American this year). Despite the prospect of losing our All-American center to graduation, I remember telling anyone who would listen (and not too many people will listen to you talk about back-up centers, especially in Vegas) about a redshirt freshman named Alex Mack who was apparently mauling people in practice. It's not too often that you can feel comfortable losing a first team All-American, but that's what Mack did.
I remember playing Tennessee at Memorial on NCAA Football 2007 and having Alex Mack pull and take out two guys to spring Forsett for a touchdown...and a few days later watching Mack take out THREE guys on almost an identical play (0:51 on the video) during the actual game. I remember Mack eliminating two WSU players to spring Forsett for a 40 yard TD against the Cougs (2:02 on the same video), our only win in 7 games and perhaps my favorite single play from the 07 season. I remember asking Mack after the USC game that year if he would be coming back in '08, and hoping that "I don't know, man" would become a yes. I remember watching Mack run around the sidelines after the Emerald Bowl, slapping hands and thanking everyone that could get close enough to him as he tried to extend his Cal career for another 15 minutes.
Ironically, Mack departs in a fasion similar to Philip - with a much talked about younger player ready to take his place. Chris Guarnero was a standout in practices as a redshirt freshman and played extremely well at left guard last year before going down for the year with a toe injury. He may not equal Mack in his Cal career (who will?) but judging by what we've seen so far (that's him sprining Best on the first play), Cal's in good shape yet again at center.
Nnamdi Asomugha is the true embodiment of a California Golden Bear. On the field, Asomugha propelled himself to become one of the top secondary players in football while at the University of California. Playing safety at Cal, Asomugha was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 2003 with the 24th overall pick where he then became a cornerback. What a cornerback he would turn out to be.
Since the first day, Asomugha has had to prove the doubters wrong. Many questioned whether or not he was worthy of the high selection, but he silenced all of them for good. After his eight-interception season in 2006, Asomugha earned the reputation of a being a shut-down cornerback. In 2007, one scout told Pro Football Weekly that Nnamdi Asomugha was thrown at "less than any defender in the last ten years." The following year, Nnamdi saw even less action. Opposing quarterbacks tested the top-notch corner a mere 27 times. Asomugha allowed only eight receptions all year. He’s a unanimous All-Pro selection on every team and has earned the right to be called, undoubtedly, the best cornerback in the National Football League. He is, without question, the undisputed leader and the heart of the Oakland Raiders.
Nnamdi Asomugha graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Finance in 2006. More importantly, philanthropy has been a huge area of focus for the pride of the Silver and the Black. He has been partners with the East Oakland Youth Development Center since 2004. He emphasizes the importance of education, hard work ethic on and off the field, a positive attitude, and a healthy diet.In 2006, Asomugha launched an annual high school college tour program. Each year, he teams up with the East Oakland Youth Development Center to take students from Bay Area high schools on college tours across the country. Additionally, Asomugha distributes backpacks to the incoming freshmen each year at Narbonne High School in Los Angeles. He also outfits the football and basketball team with shoes, a mandate he wrote into an endorsement contract he signed with Nike.
Education and community service are his mainstays. Asomugha serves as Advisory Board Chair for his family’s foundation, the Orphans and Widows In Need (OWIN) Foundation. Through OWIN, Asomugha and his family provide food, shelter, medicine, vocational training, literacy efforts, and scholarships to widows and orphans victimized by poverty or abuse in Nigeria.
Not only does Asomugha help within his community, he also helps in his mother’s homeland of Nigera, since he’s born of Igbo descent, an ethnic group in southeastern Nigeria.
To top all of that off, Asomugha met with former president Bill Clinton to discuss the importance of global service and student activism at the Clinton Global Initiative University.President Clinton’s youth initiative designed to challenge college students to take action on some of the most pressing global issues in areas such as education, poverty and global health
Here are some of the awards that Nnamdi Asomugha has been noted for off of the football field.
Outstanding Community Service Nomination (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Commitment to Excellence Award (2006)
Commitment to Excellence Award (2007)
Home Depot Neighborhood MVP (2007)
Sports Illustrated 2008 Sportsman of the Year (2008)
"Do Right Men of 2008" by Essence Magazine (2008)