Scott Fujita is a personal fan favorite of mine. Not only does he represent the Golden Bear on the field amazingly well, he also is a great reflection of the Berkeley ethos off of it. He gets involved with NFL labor issues, modern political issues, and even the restoration of New Orleans after Katrina.
However, he has a difficult first round match up against former Cal baller Ed Gray. Ed Gray only played 2 years at Cal, but was an explosive scorer who left tons of great memories in his short time at Cal. Who is gonna move on??
This is in the Joe Kapp Regional. The winner here takes on Ron Rivera or Thomas DeCoud. The full bracket is here. Voting ends this Friday at noon, so go and vote! GO BEARS!
(6) Scott Fujita
Coming out of high school, Scott Fujita was not seen as a Division I college football player - not one deserving of a football scholarship anyway. Some fifteen years later, one looks back at Fujita's career and sees not only a Division I football career at Cal, but a long NFL career and a Super Bowl ring with the New Orleans Saints.
CruzinBears sums up Fujita's progression quite succinctly.
Cal football walk-on to world champion
There was a great story in ESPN the Magazine focusing on Fujita's upbringing that touched upon his time as a Golden Bear.
Fujita redshirted his freshman year, but not before blowing away coaches in his first camp by helping out the injury-plagued Bears at safety even though both of his hands were clubbed up with tape-one because it was broken, the other because of a nasty gash. The Bears gave him a scholarship the next spring, and he added 20 pounds to his 6'5" frame while switching from safety to linebacker. But as a sophomore in 1999, he was plagued by nerve stingers in his neck. Following the season, he had career-threatening surgery that put him in the ICU for three days and a neck halo for a week. That was March. By August, he was cracking skulls again in live practice drills. Two seasons later, he was among Cal's leading tacklers. "I call it Pat Tillman syndrome," says former Cal defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich, now at Texas Tech. "There are a few players you come across who give their heart and soul to the game. That's Pat Tillman, and that's Scott Fujita.
Off the field, as paleodan pointed out, "[r]epresents the Cal bleeding-heart liberal spirit in much of what he does, see: NFLPA, gays in sports, Hurricane Katrina aftermath." Indeed, Fujita has been outspoken about the lockout situation, has been an advocate for gay rights, and hastackled numerous philanthropic causes.
(11) Ed Gray
The best finisher and mid-range scorer that I've ever seen from the guard position. He just didn't miss from about 10-12 feet in. Although undersized for a 2-guard (about 6'3), he was broad-shouldered, strong, and had some explosive hops. Because teams had to respect his ability to finish and dunk, he was able to get off a quick mid-range pull-up whenever and wherever he wanted. He averaged over 24ppg and won Pac-10 POY in 1997, despite everyone knowing that he was our 1st, 2nd and occasionally 3rd scoring option. Went out with a blaze of glory dropping 48 points against a good Wazzu team before landing awkwardly after a dunk and fracturing a bone in his foot. Had some weight issues after the broken foot, but was still drafted in the 1st round(22nd) by the Atlanta Hawks. His NBA career didn't take off because the translation to the point didn't go well and he had some issues defensively as an under-sized 2.
MinerNiner had this to say from last year's nomination:
"A transfer from Tennessee, Gray played only two years in Berkeley, but they were among the most memorable in school history. Gray's senior season was perhaps the greatest individual season for Cal basketball. He averaged 24.8 ppg, and left Berkeley with the records for the highest career scoring average (20.0 ppg) and the most 30-point games (six). Gray was named Pac-10 Player of the Year and a third-team All-American by the Associated Press."
And Tightwad Hill has a lengthy summary of his Cal career here.