If I could pick any Heisman winner to have played for Cal, I would select Rashaan Salaam.
Many of you probably think this is a curious choice. In fact, most of you are probably just saying, "who?" Get off my lawn for a moment and take a trip down Cal memory lane.
In the vast span between Pappy Waldorf and Jeff Tedford, Cal football has had the misfortune and ignominy of frequently being bad. We're talking epically bad. Not just for a year or two. Try consecutive seasons, perhaps even decades of futility.
One of the few bright spots during this dark age of Cal football fandom was the Bruce Synder era. Over a five year span from 1987-1991, he rebuilt the Cal team from a perennial bottom dweller into a gritty squad that reeled off two consecutive bowl victories. In particular, his final season featured a decisive 37-13 win over football blueblood Clemson in the Citrus Bowl and a final national ranking of #7 in the coaches poll. I have a soft spot for this squad. It featured my favorite all-time Cal player (Mike Pawlawksi, QB) as well as the electrifying Russell White(TB).
But shortly after the 1991 season, infamous Cal villain Bob Bockrath(Athletics Director) opted to lowball Bruce Snyder and drove him to Arizona State. Prior to leaving, Bruce Snyder had secured a verbal commitment from a promising high school running back recruit named Rashaan Salaam. With Snyder gone, this commitment was also lost.
In the years that followed, Rashaan Salaam opted instead to sign with Colorado. He went on to lead Colorado to a Fiesta Bowl victory, #3 final ranking, and earned 1st team All-American honors. Oh, and he won the Heisman, too.
Bruce Snyder landed on his feet and led the Arizona State Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl in 1996.
Meanwhile, Cal endured the lackluster Keith Gilbertson era, was buoyed by false hope during Steve Mariucci's one-year pitstop, and then suffered through the dark ages under Tom Holmoe.
Even for a Cal fan, this quirk of fate still whispers, "what might have been?"
Agree or disagree? Are there other Heisman winners who you wish might have played for Cal?
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