Here we go! This is crunch time. Now, we get to the CGB Hall Of Fame finals. One of these two men will enter the hallowed ground of the CGB Hall Of Fame. Is it going to be Aaron Rodgers or Russell White?
Voting ends Friday at noon PT. Click here to view the full bracket.
norcalnick provides one more fantastic profile about one of Cal's greatest quarterbacks.
Because I am also a San Francisco 49er fan, I tuned into the 2005 NFL draft very much hoping that Aaron Rodgers would complete his destiny as a childhood Joe Montana fan and don the Red and Gold as our franchise quarterback. Four years later and I’m still not sure if I wished that had happened.
Rodgers only had about a season and a half to make an impression as a starter for the Golden Bears, and he wasted very little time. Taking over as starting QB midway through the ’03 season, Rodgers led a late season charge for a bowl berth in a year that was expected to be a rebuilding year. He then had perhaps the best performance ever by a Cal QB in a bowl game, sending expectations for 2004 sky-high in a thrilling, crazy 52-49 victory over Virginia Tech in the Insight Bowl. He threw for 394 yards and 2 TDs.
His 2005 season can almost be described as disappointing, although none of the fault would fall to Rodgers. How can a 10-2 season be disappointing? How about when hard-luck injuries gradually hamper the passing game as the team slowly puts the offensive burden on the legs of JJ Arrington? Or when those receiver injuries haunt Cal by essentially preventing any chance at a comeback in a painful loss to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl? And most of all, how about when your QB puts together one of the most impressive single game efforts in a losing effort to the eventual national champs? Never have I been surer of something football related in my life than when Cal had first and goal at the USC 9 with less than two minutes to go. Cal was going to score. Aaron Rodgers was 29-31. There is no way we don’t take the lead. I just sat numb in my chair when Jonathan Makonnen slipped on 4th down, not comprehending that I was wrong.
Go to Hell, BCS! You go to Hell and you DIE!
Sadly, the peak of Rodger’s passing attack at Cal was probably reached in Corvallis in the game just before Cal’s loss to USC. In that game Rodgers, Chase Lyman, and Geoff MacArthur absolutely blitzed Oregon State in a 49-7 victory. Next week Lyman would go down with a knee injury that would essentially end is football career. Makonnen would miss most of the games that year with a variety of nagging ailments and MacArthur played through various problems that limited his abilities before going down with a freak injury in practice before the Holiday Bowl. It’s a testament to Rodger’s talent and Tedford’s coaching that Cal’s passing attack didn’t completely disappear.
Despite a rocky start, Rodgers came to embrace Green Bay fans, culture and moustaches.
Rodgers intelligently declared for the draft in a down year for quarterbacks. In one of the most unbelievable displays of NFL draft skullduggery he somehow slid to the end of the first round to the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers suffered through Brett Favre’s chronic indecisiveness and is now the unquestioned starter for a perennial playoff contender. Meanwhile, Alex Smith is for some reason still considered a viable starting quarterback contender for the 49ers. I said above that I don’t know if I’m still upset that the 49ers drafted Smith over Rodgers. That’s because I wouldn’t wish the 49er’s dysfunction on a Cal quarterback as clearly talented as Rodgers is, even if that means he has to play for a team that knocked out my 49ers every damned year in the late 90s. When everything is done many expect Rodgers to finish his NFL career as the most decorated quarterback ever to come out of Cal. I’ll remember him as the player that vaulted Cal from feel-good mid-conference team to perennial Pac-10 title contender.
The case for Russell is laid out below. He made it all the way to the Sweet 16 before falling to Jason Kidd.
LeonPowe: Superman. One of the 3 best running backs (some would argue the best ever) to play at Cal. Finished in the top 5 in Heisman as a junior. Carried Cal to a #7 National ranking at the end of the 1991 season. Hurdled a Purdue player well before anyone else did it.
Cal's all-time leading rusher was perhaps the biggest recruiting coup in school history. Controversy surrounded White's decision to move from Crespi HS to Berkeley, since he was a Prop 48 student who had not achieved a qualifying SAT score. A summer of tutoring revealed that Russell was dyslexic, and he would go on to earn his degree in social welfare in four years with a B average.
He would also go on to become Cal's all-time leading rusher, behind 1,000 yard efforts in 1991 and 1992. Fifteen times he rushed for at least 100 yards in a game, including a 229-yard effort in Cal's record setting 52-30 beatdown of USC in 1991. With White, the Bears reversed a decade of futility and won back-to-back bowls in 1990 and 1991. His '91 season, with 1,177 yards rushing and fourteen touchdowns earned White first-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Foundation and the FWAA.
Now thanks to Prd74, we all get to bask in Russell's greatness a little; his freshman campaign in 1990 had some great moments, including a 99 yard kickoff return against Miami in the first video and an utterly insane run starting at 4:24 in the second vid.