Eastern Illinois Football: Jimmy Garoppolo, When Called Upon, Shines

Mike Pendleton@MP2310Correspondent IDecember 29, 2010

He was a local, suburban, prime-time player and now he's doing the same thing at Eastern Illinois as he did in high school.

What exactly did he do in high school?

While attending the same school as yours truly, Rolling Meadows High School (Rolling Meadows, IL), Garoppolo, as a senior, threw for 1,888 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also showed he can be a dual-threat quarterback using his feet to run for 563 yards and seven touchdowns.

After leading the Mustangs to multiple playoff berths, Garoppolo took his talents to Eastern, Illinois that is, and while he didn't see the field for the Panthers' first three games, when he was given his chance he made the most of it. 

In only eight games, Garoppolo threw for 1,639 yards and 14 touchdowns but did throw 13 interceptions. While those may not be mind-blowing numbers, you must dig down deeper to find the true worth of the new Eastern starting quarterback.

As such, Garoppolo put on a showcase against Murray when he completed 26 of 35 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns. That game earned Garoppolo OVC (Ohio Valley Conference) Player of the Week honors.

While Eastern did compile an overall record of 2-9, both wins came with Garoppolo under center. 

While the road to glory for Garoppolo will not be an easy one, it is clear that he understands exactly what it will take to rise to the top. Just like he did in high school, Garoppolo has plenty of fans and support behind him and all he has to do now is lead his team to victory.

When all is said and done, if he continues to play at the level he did at the end of his freshman season, Garoppolo may join some guy named Tony Romo as another Eastern Illinois quarterback to make it to the NFL.