Who were your top performers on offense, defense and special teams this season and why?
Norcalnick, California Golden Blogs: On offense, Keenan Allen. Let's not kid ourselves, Keenan kept the offense respectable almost by himself, and things looked significantly uglier when he got hurt. There are some talented guys, but nobody in Keenan's league yet.
On defense, Nick Forbes. He was in the lineup and healthy all season, he showed versatility and discipline, and he threw in some big plays towards the end of the year.Chris McCain and Avery Sebastian might be better choices, but both missed time with injuries or didn't start the entire year, so I went with a more consistent impact player.
On special teams . . . well, uh, Vince D'Amato really did have a good year in the last 2/3rds of the season, so kudos to him. I think his 1st team all-conference selection says more about his contemporaries, but it's a nice honor for him either way.
Bears With Fangs: Offense: Ok, so I'm going to say Keenan Allen. Let's get that out of the way. He was clearly the most talented player on the team and kept this offense afloat. There's very little argument against that. But I will propose readers should be seriously considering CJ Anderson. Despite Cal going with a two-back system, Anderson rushed for 790 yards despite only being given 126 carries. That's a 6.27 ypc, which is the best average for a runningback since Jahvid Best's ridiculous 2008 season. Anderson wasn't able to stay healthy for the entire season, but I have very little doubt in my mind that had the Bears been forced to ride CJA like your typical workhorse, the guy could have topped 1400 yards this year. Easily.
Defense: I was super impressed with Nick Forbes and saw the type of production I'd expect from a player who I had very high hopes for when we recruited him back in high school. The future is bright with that one. But you have to go with Steve Williams. The guy is the closest the Bears have had to a shutdown corner in a while and played very well despite being matched up against some talented receivers. It's a shame he didn't earn All Pac-12 honors (he got honorable mention, but that's like a pat on the back).
Special Teams: Bleh. I dunno, D'Amato? He was really good from Game 5 to Game 10. And then he fell off a bit. But kickoffs were solid, and he did kick a lot of field goals, so we'll say him, almost by default.