Our next match-up features two footballers from the last 15 years on the Golden Bear gridiron. Marvin should be very well known by everyone reading here, given his recent draft status and the fact that his Cal career recently concluded. He was a solid receiver in every sense and will no doubt do really well in the NFL.
On the other hand, you could be excused for not being so familiar with Nick Harris, as despite his greatness, he toiled for those terrible teams from the late 90's that most of us would prefer to erase from our memories. He also has made news recently, as he was replaced by Bryan Anger in Jacksonville and signed on with Carolina (coached by Ron Rivera).
I think that this might be closer than people would think, but I'd guess Marv moves on. Whoever does win will advance to face the winner of the Mike Pawalski/ Justin Forsett match-up. This pairing is out of the Brick Mueller region and you can look at all of the match-ups in the full bracket here. The complete write-ups are after the jump and voting will end on Friday.
(7) Marvin Jones
Cal Football: Marvin Jones Highlights - WR #1 (via calathletics)
Marvin Jones was a steady talent for Cal football, albeit one that may not have shone as brightly as we all hoped and expected, though through no fault of his own. It seems that Marvin tremendous potential was limited through inconsistent quarterbacking, but you never heard him complain and only saw him line up each Saturday and give everything he had. He has great hands and good speed and his instincts for the game will all serve him well at the next level.
I know that I will definitely miss seeing #1 line up for our offense this fall, but also the great shots of his son cheering on from the stands. I know that all Bear fans wish Marvin the best at the next level and I think that we all believe he has the talent and work ethic to succeed. Cincinnati has definitely made a great choice in drafting him and he'll have a solid pro career. But for all of us, Marvin will definitely be remembered as a great Golden Bear.
Played in 43 games during his four seasons at Cal from 2008-11, making 38 starts by starting all of the team's games over his final three campaigns ... finished his career among Cal's all-time leaders in receiving yards (2,260, 6th), 100-yard receiving games (6, T6th), receptions (156, T7th) and receiving touchdowns (13, T8th) ... also ranks tied for seventh on Cal's single-game receptions list with the 12 he recorded as a junior at Nevada ... set career highs for both receptions (62) and receiving yards (846) as a senior in 2011, both second on the club, after leading Cal in both receptions and receiving yards in 2009 and `10 as well as in touchdown receptions as a 2009 sophomore ... made at least one reception in each of his past 38 games over his final three seasons (2009-11) ... posted career averages of 14.6 yards per catch and 52.8 receiving yards per game, as well as a long reception of 62 against Colorado in his junior season ... snared 33 catches of 20 or more yards in his career, as well as five grabs of 50 or more ... led or co-led all Cal receivers in receptions in 16 games and in receiving yards on 13 occasions ... added 11 rushes for 116 yards (10.5 ypr) and a long of 48 for a touchdown in the 2010 season opener against UC Davis ... also had 14 punt returns for 102 yards, all as a senior, and a long of 37 against USC during his senior campaign ... scored 86 career points, adding a two-point conversion to his 14 total touchdowns ... finished with 2,488 all-purpose yards (116 rush, 2,270 receiving, 102 punt return) ... had four career tackles.
Kodiak: Marvin clearly worked on his body and his craft during his time at Cal.
He was a bit skinny when he came in, but left as one very solid guy. After having some inconsistency earlier in his career, he became absolute money with all manner of circus catches. It's a little sad to think about what a guy with his hands might have done had he not needed to make so many shoe-string, tight-roping, fingertip catches.
Avinash: I didn't follow recruiting much back in 2007, but I do remember being pretty excited about Marvin. DeSean was his main recruiter and raved about him, and you know what they say about game recognizing game. DeSean was definitely right about Jones, as he was our most consistent receiver for two years and gracefully slid into the #2 spot his senior season when the Bears rode [Keenan] Allen.
Allen is more physically talented, but Jones was just so fundamentally sound in his routes, cuts and his breaks that it's a shame we couldn't turn him loose more often. We could've killed a lot of good teams with a good quarterback throwing him the football. Sometimes I felt as if he was so used to having to adjust to poor throws that he had a hard time dealing with footballs that landed on his numbers.
Hydro Tech: To me, when I think of Marvin Jones, I think of him as a great WR who sort of under-performed ... but by no fault of his own. Unfortunately, I think Cal's QBs while Marvin was here weren't exactly all that consistent and accurate which really hurt his ability to showcase his talents. I think Marvin is better than he often looked and better than most of us realized. He had fantastic hands and would routinely catch some very difficult passes. He was fantastic along the sidelines and getting his feet in bounds. He does a pretty good job shielding the ball from the defender when he catches it. While not always getting the most separation from his defender, he'd still routinely catch the ball against tight coverage. I wouldn't be surprised to see Marvin drafted in the 4th to 6th rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Perhaps what impressed me most of all was Marvin's Cal spirit and responsibility. Marvin regularly conversed with Cal fans on Twitter, and represented Cal proudly. He also would apologize for any drops and promise to do better. He works hard and doesn't try to cover up his errors with excuses. Marvin takes responsibility for his actions and knows that he has the power to shape his future.
(10) Nick Harris
Nick was cursed (or, perhaps blessed) to toil at Cal from 1997 to 2000, four years that didn't exactly see Cal find a great deal of success. But! BUT! It did allow him to gain invaluable experience and the time to hone his craft to an absurd degree. How much time? How about setting and NCAA record for most punts (322) and net yardage (13,621) in a career. That's approximately 80 punts per season, and more than 7 punts per game! Go Bears!
Harris's junior campaign has to be one of the greatest individual seasons in Cal history. He averaged 44 yards per punt despite often being asked to pooch punt the ball, and his longest was a booming 70 yarder. Harris and a vintage Hit Squad defense somehow managed to keep Cal competitive despite an offense not safe to be viewed by the general public.
His crowning moment was undoubtedly against UCLA on the road in 1999:
The Bears had put the Bruins in a hole when Nick Harris' 34-yard punt was downed at the UCLA 1. Harris later had a 68-yard punt, and averaged 53.1 yards for seven kicks.
So if you take away a 34 yard punt that could not have possibly traveled any further, Harris averaged 56 yards for his other 6 punts! His punting and a dominating defensive performance allowed Cal to escape with an ugly, penalty and turnover filled 17-0 victory. I distinctly remember watching this game because of Harris. Cal scored an early touchdown, but otherwise struggled moving the ball. By the 2nd quarter I was actively looking forward to punts, because that meant Harris would get the chance to pin UCLA deep. And the best chance of Cal scoring would always be a turnover or safety created by the Hit Squad. The Nick Harris for Heisman campaign was in full swing!