Brother Bears Create Unique Experience
Cal's John Tyndall
By Chris Brooklier
Brothers are a blessing. They are your best friends, and often most of your important experiences happen with your brother(s) along side you. Now imagine how it feels like to play on the national stage of Division-I football with your brother by your side. For Cal football players John and Bill Tyndall and Tyler and Jordan Rigsbee, they're able to share those unique experiences together.
Growing up in Chico, Calif., Jordan Rigsbee was always trying to emulate his older brother Tyler and keep up with the honors Tyler received.
"He made all-league offense and defense so I had to [do the same]," said Jordan, a freshman offensive guard.
And the competition started much before high school as the Rigsbee brothers were essentially born with the game. Their dad, Craig Rigsbee, was their coach and the current athletic director at Butte College.
"We really grew up with the game as a focal point of our lives," said Tyler, a junior offensive tackle.
Older brother Tyler added to that sibling rivalry by always showing his little brother who's boss.
"When we're practicing, I've got to show him I'm still the older brother so I always push myself to do one more rep than him, or beat him in the last sprint," Tyler said.
And for the Tyndall brothers it was no different. According to older brother John: "When we were growing up, it was always a competition from academics to video games to sports."
The recruiting trail can be tough for any high school athlete, as a bevy of universities are competing for their services.
Older brothers John Tyndall and Tyler Rigsbee were there to support their younger brothers in their quest to find the perfect school.
"Jordan had to be independent during the recruiting period because it's something you have to experience yourself," Tyler said. "But I was there if he needed any help. He knew a lot of Cal's offensive linemen going through high school so I think that made him more comfortable."
For Bill the recruiting process was somewhat different, as he spent one year at Monterrey Peninsula College in Monterrey, Calif.
"I helped [Bill] to get more recognized by the coaches," said John, a senior fullback. "He developed a little later so I was telling the coaches, 'Hey, you should take a look at my brother, he could be a great fit here.'"
"He really influenced my decision to come here," said Bill, a sophomore offensive tackle. "It wouldn't have been possible for me to get up here without John. I told all the schools recruiting me that if Cal gave me a scholarship, I'd be going there."
After both younger brothers both joined their older brothers at Cal, they were like every other college freshman - completely and utterly lost. So their big brothers had to give them advice.
"We watch film together, I tell him how to compose himself and how to just mature," John said. "I try to just help [Bill] adjust to the life of a student-athlete."
"I try to give [Jordan] advice whenever I can because it's very confusing for any freshman because you're in a different environment and you've got so many new things to grasp," Tyler said. "I want him to make less mistakes than I did when I was a freshman."
But that advice isn't just given off the field for older brother John Tyndall: "I'm fired up [by my brother being at Cal] and it motivates me to be a leader for him. I give him a lot of advice on the field."
Playing together at Cal has been especially sweet for the sets of brothers because they didn't get the chance to play with each other in high school.
"It's the most exciting thing I've ever done and I love blocking for him and with him," Bill said.
With the Rigsbees both being offensive linemen, the intrigue of their situation could be intensified by potentially starting right next to each other in 2012.
"It's been a goal since we were little kids to play along side each other," Jordan said, "I think if we were starting right next to each other next year (at guard and tackle), it would be a dream come true."
The Rigsbees and Tyndalls see each other off the field as well and are always there for each other.
"We're on different schedules because I'm on the traveling team and he's redshirting, but we see each other often," Tyler said. "I'm always there to help, so if he needs a ride or help with some homework I'm there. It's just nice to have someone from your family to rely on."
And the Tyndalls have taken seeing each one step further by becoming roommates.
"It's my last semester here so I might as well live with my brother," John said "We've gotten a lot closer in a way that we couldn't be in high school."
"I love living with him, even though we get in some fights about who should do the dishes and stuff like that," Bill laughs. "We used to share a room when we were little kids and now we live together as college students."
Wherever the Rigsbees and Tyndalls go later on in their lives, they'll always have their brothers by their sides.