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CGB Hall of Fame: (3) Shane Vereen vs. (14) Prof. Stephen G. Miller

Super Bowl stalwart, and 2009 Big Game Hero, Shane Vereen, faces off against beloved ancient athletics Professor Stephen G. Miller in the latest CGB Hall of Fame match-up.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

(3) Shane Vereen

Shane Vereen 2009 Highlights (via HANDSOMElifeOFswing)

Royrules22: "This guy carried the ball 40+ times against a top-10 Stanfurd team on the Farm and helped us pull of a monumental upset. That alone makes him deserve this."

TwistNHook: Shane Vereen might be the most interesting runner of the Tedford era. He always had Jahvid Best ahead of him, but in the tail end of 2009 and 2010 managed to show why there was no real drop off from Best to Vereen.

The first memory that immediately pops into my mind and, most likely the minds of all others, is Vereen's yeoman performance in the 2009 Big Game. A legendary performance.

Rushing No Gain Loss Net TD Lg Avg
-------------------------------------------------
Vereen, Shane 42 199 6 193 3 36 4.6


Watching the game in person, you didn't really have an opportunity to reflect on how amazing a day Vereen had. He took the ball every which way, including multiple Wildcat options. He scored 3 TDs and willed Cal to victory that day.

Berkelium97: My fondest memory of Shane Vereen will always be the legendary 2009 Big Game. But my first memory of him was the Michigan State game in '08. I was quite excited to see him play in his first game--particularly since he played high school a couple miles from where I grew up. In fact he was one of the highest recruited players ever to come out of Valencia High School, so I was really looking forward to seeing him hit the field. Anyway, back to 2008. Throughout the second half of the game, it seemed like Cal was never quite able to put the game away. With just under 5 minutes to go, Michigan State once again made it a one-possession game. Best returned the kickoff, so Vereen was the RB sent out for Cal's play on offense. I remember thinking that all we had to do was burn the clock. A five-minute drive would seal the game and certainly seemed possible. Vereen, of course, had other plans. He didn't burn the clock. Instead, he burned the entire Michigan State defense with an 81-yard run that sealed the victory. It was clear after that day that we had a lightning and lightning combination at running back--two guys who were capable of breaking free on any given run.

Four weeks later Vereen gave us a first glimpse of his incredible durability--a trait we often felt was lacking in Best. Against ASU Vereen ran the ball 27 times and caught 5 passes. In his entire career at Cal Best never topped 27 carries. Vereen did it in his first start and kept the offense chugging along. Vereen was an excellent complement to Best because he could take a pounding and still churn out yards. The Best-Vereen tandem might have been the best of the Tedford era, thanks to the unique combination of skills they had.

Solarise: Shane Vereen off the field is just as impressive as his accomplishments on the field. He spent a summer interning at CSN Bay Area and earned lauded praise for his maturity and work ethic:

"It's remarkable. He's just Shane to us," CSN Bay Area news executive Doug Brown said. "We don't treat him any differently than any other intern. Around here, he's just one of 20 interns we have that is willing to rip scripts and all the other stuff that interns are supposed to be doing." The fact that Vereen was interested in an internship says a lot about his perspective. He is expected to have an NFL career someday, whether he leaves Cal after this season as a junior or waits until the 2012 draft. But Vereen says he wants his life to be about more than football, and broadcasting is something that has always interested him. His father, Henry, works in the television industry as a video engineer.

"I understand that football is just one part of my life," Vereen said. "When that is all said and done, I'm not going to sit at home and do nothing. Anything can happen. You can get hurt anytime. It's good to have options, especially an option that I've been interested in for a long time." One of the highlights of Vereen's internship so far was holding the microphone for a news conference with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom during an event to kick off the World Cup. He returned to the newsroom and worked with producers to put the story together, just like a regular field reporter.

More than a star player on the field, Shane Vereen was the epitome of a Cal student athlete.

Shane Vereen 2010 Highlights (via HANDSOMElifeOFswing)

Shane's gone on to the NFL and has had a nice couple of years with the New England Patriots, even delivering a highlight reel run against the Houston Texans and developing from a role player to a vital part of the rushing attack. Vereen looks to continue being a vital cog in NFL offensive schemes as a member of the New York Giants.

(14) Stephen G. Miller

fiatlux introduces Professor Miller, one of the most beloved professors at Cal:

Professor Miller is hands down my all time favorite professor at Cal. And it's not close. He is exactly what you think of when you think of your idealized college professor. He taught in classics, including the popular (particularly for this forum - see what I did there...) Classics 180, Ancient Athletics, which also happened to be attended by many athletes. It was by no means a mic class, but it also wasn't really hard and it was in fact really interesting and enjoyable.

Professor Miller would inject contemporary points into his lecture and would often have the athletes in the class delver punch lines or key points. Mike Pawlawski for instance was called on to deliver a lecture on what a hero is, using Joe Roth as the subject.

Now this is back in antiquity before the Internet, but Professor Miller would often have students up to his house in North Berkeley to watch away football games. He'd go all out BBQing and providing all the booze... and it was a great mix of people he would have up.

All that alone would be great, but professor Miller is also a world renown expert in the Olympics. There are four ancient Olympic sites in Greece and the University of California controls one, Nemea, thanks to Professor Miller who excavated what had been roads and grape fields to unearth the ancient Nemea Olympic grounds. Through his vision of bringing the classics to everyone, he has made Nemea easily accessible to the general public and in fact hosts his own "games" open to anyone.

It's just a magnificent experience that I would encourage all of you to do.

Here's some interesting coverage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUKJI5lrE5U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXnuoKb2dQ8

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/2004/04/08_nemea.shtml

Would love to see Professor Miller in to this august pantheon.