Let's start the 2012 California Golden Blogs Hall Of Fame off on the right foot! We have a great match up here, two former teammates, Jahvid Best and Cameron Jordan. These guys were great Golden Bears out on the gridiron and continue to rep the B and G in the NFL.
(3) Jahvid Best
Best seems to always have one mode: Fast. He ran fast. He cut fast. He caught fast. He leapt fast. He even interviewed fast. He's the prototypical Internet-generation athlete!
He was a one man instrument of warfare, like that sniper in Saving Private Ryan. In a blink of an eye, he took teams out of games. We can count the games, the names, the teams he left burning on the turf in his wake. CSU '08. Wazzu '08. Furd '08. Washington '08. Miami '08. Maryland '09. Minnesota '09. UCLA '09. Opposing fans probably felt a little helpless once the Jet found the seams and broke loose--it was hardly a fair fight once Xs and Os crumbled into the 100 m dash.
I don't think I've ever seen a football player take over a football game by himself the way Jahvid did with the liabilities he had to nurse from everyone. He was hampered with a generally weak offensive line (especially in the interior) and a terribly hamstrung quarterback situation. Even Desean had a fairly accurate Longshore throwing to him much of his career. Best had to win many games on his own (and when I say on his own, he generated around 70 to 80% of their meaningful offense, sometimes even more). The only Bear who had to burden that much of the load in modern times was probably Deltha, and those teams still stunk. One player can't make a team great; it's to Jahvid's credit that he kept the offense running alright with minimal help (Ta'ufo'ou, Mack and Malele in '08, and mmmaybe Summers-Gavin in '09).
(14) Cameron Jordan
You really can't describe Jordan's game better than Avinash does in this in-depth analysis:
"Jordan is an athletic marvel, with incredible arms he can whip around offensive linemen. He's prototypically perfect, the type of defensive linemen you could put on any front and he'd probably succeed. Perhaps Jordan's greatest assets are his arms, those million dollar arms. If he manages to make contact with you on your side when pass-rushing, he will utilize that deadly swim move, cycle that arm around, and get into the backfield and make a play. You have to defeat him and lock him up early. And when he finds you and tries to make a tackle? Might as well get your mind set for the next play, because you're not escaping."
NorCalNick: I loved many things about Cameron Jordan. For one thing, he went to more Cal games than I did. Cal vs. Stanford rugby at Witter field? Cam was there. Cal women's basketball versus, well, a bunch of teams? Cam was there. And he always showed up pretty noticeably at football games too. College fans have this ideal that the players they root for love their university as much as they do, and it's not a realistic or fair ideal most of the time. I'm pretty sure that it describes Cameron Jordan.
Solarise: I think Cam was an ideal teammate. You can tell from his easy smile that he just enjoys playing football. Coaches asked Cam to bring more intensity his senior year and he delivered. Cam was dynamic crashing through the line pursuing QBs, even earning a LIFE photo for his heroic harassment of Nick Foles in a bitter loss.