(1) Missy Franklin
For those of you who happen to not be acquainted with Missy Franklin, Franklin has won four Olympic gold medals, one Olympic bronze, three World Championship long course gold medals, one World Championship long course silver medal, one World Championship long course bronze medal, and two World Championship short course silver medals.
Actually, Missy has won far many more international medals than that. The above list is only what she has won before she ever became a Golden Bear.
Missy's career at Cal is equally as illustrious: She has been an individual NCAA champion four times in the 200-yard freestyle in 2014 and 2015, the 200-yard backstroke and individual medley in 2015. In doing so, Franklin set several American records and powered California to the 2015 NCAA title.
But, if that was all Missy Franklin ever did, she would never occupy the top seed in her bracket in the CGB Hall of Fame, nor would she occupy such a treasured place in the Cal family. Missy is extremely active in charity; she serves as an ambassador for multiple sclerosis research and for clean water initiatives.
On a much simpler level, it is her Cal spirit that has vaulted Missy to that special place for the Cal community. Cal athletes have laid their all at Mater's feet before, but none with the Missy's enthusiasm and the infectious smile that we have all grown to love.
(3) Justin Forsett
Justin Forsett Extended Highlights Part 1 (via ronenlish1)
When Marshawn Lynch left for the NFL following the 2006 season, there were some Cal fans who wondered if Justin Forsett cold handle the role of Cal's # 1 running back. Sure, he was great as Lynch's backup and and as a quintessential "change of pace" back during the Beast Mode years, but how would he do as Cal's feature back?
Just fine, thank you very much. Forsett rushed for 1,546 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior, which led the Pac-10 and tied for the best single-season total in Cal history. On top of all that, Forsett was a second team Pac-10 All-Academic selection. Forsett finished his Cal career with 3,220 rushing yards and was a valued member of teams that won 35 regular season games and three bowl games. These days, he is a member of the Baltimore Ravens.
Back in the day, danzig wrote one of the classiest tributes ever on this site, dedicated to Forsett (included in the post are his noted highlighted reels), chock full of emotion and memory. Here's the best of that post.
1) He's a great all-around guy: ALL fans love him. Great work ethic, high character, good morals, never got in trouble and patiently waited behind Marshawn without bitching about it. There are so few heros in life, but he's one of them.
All his life he's been told about the body he doesn't have... the speed he doesn't possess... to accept that he wouldn't go far... and he said to all of them... "F*** that, I don't give a shit what you think!!" (Actually, he probably would've have said, "Excuse me sir, I beg to differ" but...). To make it even more improbable, Ty Willingham yanked his only D-1 scholarship at the last minute, but he still became a star at Cal... I bet Ty is sorry now. His story is downright inspirational and I demand a movie be made about him immediately! Hey Hollywood, cancel that sequel you're about to make and do this instead: The Truth Laid Bear: The Justin Forsett Story. But if it shows up on Lifetime I'm going to F*ing kill you guys.
2) He's the son of a preacher man: And so am I. PKs (pastor's kids) don't have what you would call 'normal' upbringings. Pastors are incredibly strict with their kids because the kids' behavior reflects on the Pastor and the church itself. There are only two varieties of PKs... the ones that grow up to be upstanding role models in their communities and the 'rebels' who embrace all evil (I'm the latter). In short, it's tough to grow up as a PK and PKs the world over have somewhat of a kinship that grows from that. "Genesis says don't be spilling no seed"
3) He's got skillz: Admit it, sometimes when Marshawn was bogging down in a game or fumbling, we all secretly whispered to ourselves, "PUT JUSTIN IN !!!" When announcers said that he could be starting anywhere else in the country... they weren't kidding. He was an outstanding running back with accolades too long to list here. He's got moves and knows when to just run downhill. He's chocked my head full of great game memories...I'll miss him so much...sniff, sniff. (tearing up).