Our next CGB Hall of Fame match-up features one of the best players to come out of the Cal secondary against one of the best golfers the Bears have ever had.
Most Cal fans saw Syd'Quan grow up in front of their eyes after starting the dismal Tennessee game in 2006. He turned into a shutdown corner that had incredible ball skills and instincts that were a joy to watch.
On the other side is Charlie Wi, who led Cal to the 2004 championship and has carved out a pretty successful pro career on the PGA Tour.
This match-up comes out of the Pappy Waldorf Region and the winner is going to move on to face Ashley Walker. I think that it could be a close battle here, as Cal fans have some recent bad associations with the Thompson last name. We shouldn't hold it against Syd'Quan though, as he gave the Bears everything he had and is a Golden Bear favorite. The full write-ups are after the jump. You can take a look at the full bracket here and be sure and get your votes in before the voting ends on Friday. GO BEARS!
(4) Syd'Quan Thompson
My first memories of Syd'Quan Thompson was his performance against Tennessee. Most Cal fans will remember it wasn't good. Tennessee was scoring touchdowns on him. The aftermath of his performance was devastating. People were ripping him left and right saying how bad he sucks and how he shouldn't be playing. But what a lot of those people didn't realize was that Syd's problems against Tennessee were because he was wearing a cast on one of his wrists and he couldn't tackle. The problems weren't that he was blowing coverages. And if my memory serves me correctly, I don't think Tennessee really scored a touchdown over Syd; their touchdowns came from underneath passes where their WRs sort of ran over Syd's one handed attempts to pull them down. In other words, Syd's problems weren't really his coverage abilities. I'm not sure many Cal fans realized that though.
In my eyes, when I saw Syd see his first real reps in practice and on the field in 2006, my opinion was that Syd was a solid practice player. He covered his men well, and was around the ball when it was headed in his direction. He seemed like a solid player with a pretty good chance at being a great CB. A lot of Cal fans thought to the contrary though.
I had no idea Syd'Quan Thompson would be as good as he is today but I got my first hint that he might be this good at the 2006 Cal Football Awards banquet. At that banquet Daymeion Hughes (now Dante Hughes) won one of the defensive player awards.
When he took the stage to accept his award, he went through the usual thanks to family, coaches, and friends. Then he did something a little different. He went on to encourage the younger CBs to keep at it, practice hard, and don't give up. He said they could be as good as him. Then he singled out Syd'Quan Thompson. He said to Syd, in front of the entire banquet, that Syd could be better than him. He said it many times. "Syd, you can be better than me." He said it with conviction. He knew it.
I've talked about this many times before, but when somebody really good at their trade points out that someone else can be just as good or even better, you better listen. Those that are some of the best at their trade know what it takes to become the best, and who has what it comes to be the best. In 2006, Dante Hughes was one of the best CBs in the nation. He knew what it takes to get there, and he saw that Syd'Quan Thompson had it too.
(13) Charlie Wi
OhioBear: The greatest achievement in the history of the Cal golf program is certainly the 2004 national championship, the one and only NCAA team championship in the program's history. But who is the greatest
individual golfer in the history of the program? PGA TOUR professional Charlie Wi may be that guy. In 1995, Wi won the Pac-10 individual championship, becoming the first Cal golfer ever to do so. (Only Wi and Eric Mina have accomplished that feat.) That same year, Wi was a first-team All-American and had the third-best stroke average
in the country behind only Tiger Woods and Stewart Cink. Wi turned professional after leaving Cal and won his first title as a professional in 1996 on the Asian Tour. Though Wi is still in search of his first PGA TOUR win (he has finished second four times), he has earned more than $8 million during his PGA TOUR career. And that does not include the nine major tour professional tournaments Wi has won internationally, including the 2006 Malaysian Open on the European Tour.
Longtime Cal golf coach Steve Desimone is the historical face of the Cal golf program, and for good reason. But if there were a Mt. Rushmore of Cal golf, Wi would be chiseled on it right next to Desimone for his Cal career and his solid pro career since.