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NFL and Nevada Football: Kaepernick, Burleson and Johnson Make Their Mark

James-Michael Johnson had an excellent rookie season
James-Michael Johnson had an excellent rookie seasonJason Miller/Getty Images
Michael PatmasCorrespondent IIIJanuary 24, 2013

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick isn't the only former University of Nevada Wolf Pack player who had a great season in the NFL. Certainly his performance has been nothing short of spectacular, and his meteoric rise to stardom as an elite NFL QB has generated an enormous media frenzy. As we approach the Super Bowl, Kaepernick has gone from overlooked to a household name seemingly overnight.

But Kaepernick isn't alone. There are other Nevada alumni who made their mark this year with notable seasons.

Detroit Lions veteran WR Nate Burleson had 27 receptions for 240 yards and two TDs in his 10th season in the NFL. Over the course of his distinguished career, Burleson has amassed an impressive 418 receptions for 5,169 yards and 38 TDs. Burleson was inducted into the University of Nevada's Legacy Hall this season.

Another standout performance was turned in by Cleveland Browns rookie LB, James-Michael Johnson, a fourth-round draft pick. Johnson had a very respectable 36 tackles, 20 of which were solo.

Other former Nevada players who saw action this season include Miami Dolphins WR Rishard Matthews, who had 11 receptions for 151 yards; Denver Broncos WR Virgil Green, who had eight receptions for 87 yards; Jacksonville Jaguars LB Brandon Marshall; Miami Dolphins safety Jonathan Amaya and Jets LB Josh Mauga.

Former Nevada LB Dontay Moch, who absolutely wreaked havoc on opposing teams during his standout collegiate career, saw limited action for the Cincinnati Bengals this season due to a foot injury. If he fully recovers and sees playing time next year, he could become yet another former Nevada player to make his mark in the NFL.

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