Wow. Just, wow. This is one of those randomly unique matchups in the CGB Hall Of Fame that is very interesting to me. Here, we have 2 of the best DBs to put on the B+G. Deltha O'Neal aka Mr. Big Game 99 Offense. And he is taking on Nnamdi Asomugha, the total package. But only one can move on! Who will it be?
You can view the full bracket here. Voting ends this Friday at noon. Full write ups after the jump. GO BEARS!
Deltha O'Neal (3)
O'Neal's NFL career is well known, but it might surprise some of you young ones how much of an impact he had with the Bears.
Tony Macaroni: What some may not know is that Deltha entered the program as a reserve tailback and got pushed into duty as a freshman when the other backs went down with injuries. He had a serious fumbling problem (I heard that Bobby Shaw encouraged him to carry a football around with him as he went to class). He fumbled the opening kickoff in the ‘96 Big Game, setting up the first of what seemed like 20 Stanfurd TD’s. But Holmoe eventually moved him to CB, and he was instantly a force to be reckoned with. He had eight (!) interceptions his senior year, four of which he returned for touchdowns. He was also a rediculous return man, his two return TDs accounting for Cal’s only points in the 1999 Big Game.dballisloose: And in that 1999 Big Game, it should be noted that Stanford was trying to kick AWAY from Deltha, absurdely so to the point where they would kick all but 2 out of bounds….the 2 that he fielded (and maybe the years are making me exagerate that he only fielded the 2) he took all the way, and those of us in the stands would prepare for the kicks with our thumbs and index fingers together in a triangle, cheering "Deltha, Deltha, Deltha".
I think Deltha may be the most impactful Cal player ever. Ever.
Kodiak: A converted running back, he might have had the had the best post-interception running ability of any Cal DB...well, ever. With our Holmoecaust offense being so woefully inept, Deltha was often our only real threat to score any points.
Deltha holds Cal records for most interceptions in a season (9), most interceptions returned for a touchdown in a season (4), most interceptions returned for a touchdown in a career (5), and is one of the 4 Cal players who has returned an interception 100 yards for a TD. Most of this took place in 1999, when O'Neal had an absolutely fantastic season that catapulted him into a first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos.
O'Neal was the Pac-10 defensive player of the year in 1999. That he did it on a team that went 3-8 is remarkable.
Nnamdi Asomugha (7)
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)