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Cal Football: Ten Ex-Bears Named to Inaugural California High School Hall of Fame

From Brick Muller to Aaron Rodgers, the Golden Bears' inductees span a century.

Ten former Cal players spanning a century are included among the 100 players and 13 coaches who are part of the inaugural class of the California High School Football Hall of Fame.

Golden Bears honored range from Harold “Brick” Muller, who played on Cal’s “Wonder Teams” in the early 1920s, and Marshawn Lynch, who excelled in Berkeley before an NFL career that ended just three years ago. Both Muller and Lynch prepped at Oakland Tech High School.

Three Cal quarterbacks made the list: Steve Bartkowski (Buchser Santa Clara), Vince Ferragamo (Banning Los Angeles) and Aaron Rogers (Pleasant Valley Chico).

Also included in the debut class are tight end Tony Gonzalez (Huntington Beach), wide receiver DeSean Jackson (Long Beach Poly), offensive lineman Les Richter (Fresno), linebacker Ron Rivera (Seaside) and running back Russell White (Encino Crespi).

The Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation sponsors the Hall in conjunction with the California Interscholastic Federation. The Hall of Fame class will be unveiled in a ceremony at the Rose Bowl in November.

Absent from the list among elite Cal players who played high school football in the state are Jackie Jensen, Joe Kapp and Jared Goff.

Others selected include John Elway (Granada Hills), Tom Brady (San Mateo Serra), Jackie Robinson (Pasadena Muir), Frankie Albert (Glendale), Ronnie Lott (Rialto Eisenhower), Reggie Bush (La Mesa Helix) and Richard Sherman (Compton Dominguez).

Here’s a look at the 10 Cal players named to the Hall:

STEVE BARTKOWSKI (1972-74): A football and baseball All-America pick at Cal, Bartkowski led college football with 2,580 passing yards his senior season then was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1975 NFL draft. He played 12 seasons in the NFL, the first 11 with the Atlanta Hawks, passing for more than 24,000 yards with 156 touchdowns.

VINCE FERRAGAMO (1972-73): A high school All-American after being named L.A. City Player of the Year, Ferragamo played two seasons at Cal. He shared the quarterback job with Bartkowski in 1973 before transferring to Nebraska. Ferragamo played 10 NFL seasons.

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TONY GONZALEZ (1994-96): A two-sport star for the Bears, Gonzalez was a consensus All-America tight end in his final season, catching 44 passes for 699 yards and five touchdowns. A first-round NFL draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs, he assembled a Hall of Fame career, catching 1,325 passes for 15,127 yards — each of those the highest all-time total at his position — and 111 TDs.

DeSEAN JACKSON (2005-07): Jackson was dynamite receiver and return man at Cal, totaling 162 receptions for 2,423 yards with 22 touchdowns and returning punts for six more scores, earning All-America honors as a junior return specialist. In the NFL, Jackson has four times led the league in yards per reception, scored 66 total TDs and earned three Pro Bowl bids.

MARSHAWN LYNCH (2004-06): Lynch twice rushed for more than 1,200 yards for the Bears, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt for his college career and scoring 29 TDs. He helped power coach Jeff Tedford’s teams to a 28-9 record with three bowl appearances. As a pro, Lynch had six seasons of at least 1,000 yards, scored 94 touchdowns and was a five-time Pro Bowl selection.

HAROLD “BRICK” MULLER (1920-22): Muller won the silver medal in the high jump in the 1920 Olympics before his sophomore year at Cal, and was a star on the Cal track and field squad. But his best sport was football, and he is often considered the best Cal football player ever. He was the MVP of the 1921 Rose Bowl (following the 1920 season) when he wowed sports writers from across the country with a 53-yard touchdown pass in a 28-0 upset of Ohio State to complete an undefeated season.

LES RICHTER (1949-51): A team captain as a senior, Richter was a two-way star and a two-time All-Pacific Coast Conference selection. He was a two-time consensus All-America offensive guard, but perhaps his greatest value — and his future — was at linebacker. The Bears were 27-4 in Richter’s three varsity seasons. He was valedictorian at his 1952 graduation, then served two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Taken No. 2 overall in the 1952 NFL draft, he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams for 11 players. Beginning in 1954, Richter played nine seasons for the Rams as both a linebacker and placekicker, earning eight Pro Bowl nods.

RON RIVERA (1981-83): Rivera was a consensus All-America linebacker and co-Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. He played nine NFL seasons with the Chicago Bears, winning Super Bowl XX. After 14 seasons as an NFL assistant coach, Rivera was head coach of the Carolina Panthers for nine seasons and has held the same post with the Washington Commanders since 2020. He was NFL Coach of the Year in 2013 and ’15.

AARON RODGERS (2003-04): Recruited out of junior college, Rodgers threw 43 touchdowns in two seasons, leading the Bears to an 18-8 record and a pair of bowl appearances. In 17 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers has earned 10 Pro Bowl bids and won four MVP awards, including each of the past two seasons. He has passed for more than 55,000 yards in his career with 449 touchdowns, and was the 2010 Super Bowl MVP.

RUSSELL WHITE (1990-92): A big-time recruit who had his pick of virtually any school, Russell rushed for at least 1,000 yards in each of his three seasons for the Bears while scoring 38 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown against defending national championship Miami the first time he ever touched the ball in a game at Memorial Stadium.

Cover photo of Aaron Rodgers courtesy of Cal Athletics

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo