(6) Bryan Anger
CAL FOOTBALL 2010 - Bryan Anger Feature (via calbearsgobig)
iVinishe: The first football game I had ever watched was 2008 Michigan State @ Cal. I had absolutely no idea how football worked; in fact, I remember wondering why we kept giving the ball to that Best guy when he clearly wasn't scoring. This game was also Cal's introduction to Bryan Anger, punter extraordinaire. To my naive mind, Anger was clearly the best guy on our team.
Over the next 4 years, Anger went on to become the most outstanding punter in the nation. Other punters occasionally averaged a yard more for a season here and there, but only Anger had the ability to make an entire stadium go "WOW." From 2009-2011, Anger garnered First Team All-Pac-10/12 honors for three straight seasons, and set the all-time Cal single season punting record with an average of 43.5 yards/punt.
This spring, he goes into the NFL Draft as one of the top punters of his class.
Before that fall day, I had no idea people could kick balls that high, or that far. To this day, I'm still not sure people can. I've watched quite a bit of football at all levels since that day, and I still haven't seen anyone who can match a well-placed Anger bomb. He is, quite literally, a game-changer, and there has been some element of truth to jokes of our punter being the best (or at least, most outstanding), player on our team for the past 4 years
California Punter Bryan Anger Draft Profile (via ProFootballWeekly)
Anger ended up being taken in the 3rd round of the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars and had a stellar rookie season, averaging over 47 yards per punt and also demonstrating his tackiling ability by taking down Houston Texans return man Keshawn Martin on a 71-yard runback to save a touchdown. Of course, national sports media had a lot of fun with that one, but it only reinforced what we Golden Bear fans already knew, which was that this guy is a legit athlete.
(11) Joe Igber
Cal Beats Stanford, Big Game 2002 (via belmonto)
I'll let BearStage talk about Igber here:
Joe Igber. My all-time favorite Cal running back. Often overlooked, his name litters the pages of Cal's record books.
- His 3,124 career rushing yards are the third most in Cal history. Only Russell White and Marshawn Lynch can claim more.
-His 2002 rushing total of 1,130 yards was the 3rd highest single-season total in Cal history (at that time)
His greatest performance: a 226-yard, one-touchdown performance in the 2002 Big Game, which Cal won 30-7. Not only did he set the record for most rushing yards in the history of the Big Game (which still stands), he helped bring the Axe back to its rightful home after a painful 7-year drought.
These accomplishments alone should be enough to garner him consideration. And while these are all great reasons to appreciate Joe Igber, I'm most impressed with him because his career typified what we strive for Cal to be. You see, Igber somehow managed to balance the workload of a star Pac-10 running back with the workload of becoming a civil engineer.
Now, most people can barely handle one of those challenges. We all know how time consuming and stress inducing engineering majors are - between physics/math/engineering courses, labs, projects, research (if you're ambitious) - it's more than enough for most of us. UC Berkeley is one of the best (and toughest) places in the world to study engineering. People come from all over the world to study engineering at Cal, and that reputation is well-deserved, and it was the main reason that Joe Igber decided to come to Cal in the first place.
Also, we've all heard about how much time, sacrifice, dedication it takes to play Pac-10 football, let alone be a starter - the practice, the training, and weight rooms, the film, the travel. Add to the that the pressure of being the star running back, and you've got yourself a full plate that very few have the patience and focus to handle.
On top of even that - to perform at the level that Joe Igber did, to set records and do things on the field no Golden Bear has ever done, while handling that academic workload - it's just ridiculous.
Joe Igber is that rare combination, the very best of both of Cal's worlds - an amazing athlete and an impressive scholar. As such, I nominate him for the CGB Hall of Fame.