Four backup quarterbacks were escalated to starters for the week following injuries to their team’s first stringers. Three of them looked completely awful. One may have made a case for why he could be the right choice for his team moving forward.
That man is Colin Kaepernick, who made his first career start for the San Francisco 49ers after Alex Smith was sidelined due to a concussion. Kaepernick handled the Chicago Bears’ monstrous defense better than almost any other quarterback has this season.
He threw for 243 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against a unit that leads the league in forced turnovers and had allowed no more than 22 points in any game heading into the night. Kaepernick and San Francisco shattered that mark by thrashing the Bears, who were starting backup quarterback Jason Campbell in place of the concussed Jay Cutler, by a score of 32-7.
With all of the positive statements that have been made about Colin Kaepernick, we now really want to know where he came from. The answer is certainly not from nowhere. In fact, he holds a number of NCAA records from his distinguished college career at Nevada.
A multi-sport athlete, Kaepernick was a very lightly-recruited football prospect coming out of high school. His only scholarship offer came from Hall of Fame head coach and the innovator of the pistol offense Chris Ault at Nevada.
Kaepernick immediately became a star in the pistol offense. He kicked off his college career as the 2007 WAC Freshman of the Year and finished it off by dethroning the Boise State dynasty as conference champions.
When all was said and done, Kaepernick became the first and only player in NCAA FBS history to pass for over 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000 yards in a career.
While Cam Newton deservingly won the Heisman Trophy in 2010, Kaepernick may have been more impressive. Besides throwing for over 3,000 yards and 21 scores, he joined the elite company of Newton and Tim Tebow as the only quarterbacks to run and throw for 20 touchdowns in college football history. Those 20 trips to the end zone helped Kaepernick finish off his career with 59 rushing touchdowns, tied for most all time with Nebraska’s Eric Crouch.
Despite his unbelievable college performance, some believed that Colin Kaepernick was a system quarterback and would not be as successful outside of the pistol offense. However, his size and athleticism made him a very intriguing prospect. The 49ers liked him so much that they decided to trade up four spots to claim him with the 36th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Now that he is finally getting significant playing time outside of the Wildcat formation, Kaepernick has shown that he has what it takes to be a starring quarterback in the NFL.
That might not happen this year, as Alex Smith has done nothing wrong to lose his job. The former first overall pick has very useful experience and rarely makes mistakes.
However, if he goes down again or struggles like he did before Jim Harbaugh came along, the Niners now know that they have a very reliable backup that they could certainly trust with the keys to their offense.