The greatest dual threat in college football history is now a San Francisco 49er. Colin Kaepernick was drafted early in the second round just moments ago at No. 36.
For those who are not familiar with his remarkable story, Kaepernick was adopted as an infant. Raised in Turlock, California he manifested athletic skills early on. A standout three sport athlete at Pittman High, he was twice drafted by the Chicago Cubs. Noted more for his 94 MPH fastball, Kaepernick was really a football player at heart.
Unfortunately, he was completely ignored by every college except Nevada. Despite shopping film to regional universities including Boise State, he was not offered a scholarship. The story goes that his high school coach called Nevada after his senior season was over and Chris Ault sent an assistant down to watch him play basketball. The assistant coach was so impressed with Kaepernick's athleticism and intensity of play that they signed him to a full scholarship never having seen him play football. Little did they know, Kaepernick played that basketball game ill, with a fever. He wasn't even at full strength.
Upon his arrival at Nevada, they still didn't realize what a talent they had on their hands. He was a patient backup to starting quarterback, Nick Graziano. When Graz went down with serious ankle injury, Kap got his chance to start...in Boise of all places. It was 2007, Boise was a dominant team that would go on to beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
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But that night against Boise was unforgettable. I was there with my son wearing my Nevada jersey with Graziano's number 8 on it, when this skinny new kid took the helm. In one of the most remarkable games, Kaepernick led the Wolf Pack back from a first half deficit to tie the game with seconds left. After four overtimes, the Broncos escaped with a 69-67 win over Nevada.
That performance was surprising to everyone, including Kaepernick because he had not been a running quarterback in high school. But run he did. He wreaked havoc on the Broncos who to this day, are still protecting a ridiculously long home turf winning streak. The closest they have come to losing at home in a regular season game was that night.
At that point I became a Kap fan. I have since seen every Nevada home game and many away games and began tracking his stats. Early in his junior year, I realized he could re-write the record books and began writing articles about him here. I wrote many articles about his growing NCAA records. I predicted he would beat Boise State and suggested he would be drafted. I drew attention to his stats and suggested he should be a Heisman candidate and I got a lot of flack in the process. All these articles and the frothy vitriol they engendered are archived here on B/R.
For those who still don't know, here they are. Kaepernick is the most prolific dual threat in college football history. With over 10,000 yards passing and 4,000 yards rushing he broke that record by over 1,500 passing yards. He also passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards three seasons, which no one has ever done. He tied the all time record for rushing TDs by a quarterback at 59 and came within inches of setting that all time record. Had he held the ball just a second longer in Hawaii, he would have had and should have had 60 rushing TDs.
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His games against rival Boise were amazing. Despite losing in 2007, 2008 and 2009, Kaepernick led the Wolf Pack in dramatic come-from-behind second halves and actually outscored the Broncos every time only to lose by narrow margins.
Not so in 2010. In what will be remembered as another unforgettable game, he led Nevada back from a first half deficit to tie BSU with seconds left. With shades of 2007 in the air, they went to overtime, but this time, Nevada would emerge victorious. Suddenly, he began to get national attention.
I had predicted he would be drafted by the 49ers but thought he might go in the first round. I was pretty sure Coach Harbaugh wanted him badly and it appears he did because they traded up to get him. Harbaugh missed the opportunity to recruit Kaepernick out of high school, as did many California schools as well as Boise State.
With that victory over the Broncos which ended their quest for a national championship and a total demolition of Cal, it had become clear, Kaepernick is a game changer and Harbaugh would not make the same mistake twice.
I began writing about Kaepernick on B/R nearly three years ago and was the first to publicly tout his talents. Over the years, I have endured some pretty nasty comments from bloggers who derided his abilities and denigrated me for touting them. But as his stats and his celebrity grew, others began to write about him. I have enjoyed seeing other, professional sports writers plagiarize my words.
I am not a football expert. I am just a Nevada alum who loves UNR and appreciated early on that Colin Kaepernick is phenomenal. I knew he could do it and I wanted to do everything I could to help promote him. He has focused more national attention on UNR than anyone before him and that was my agenda all along.
It is for that reason that I take a measure of pride at his selection so high in the draft. Three years and dozens of B/R articles later, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick is the highest drafted player ever from the University of Nevada.
Now he has the challenge of adapting to the NFL. Here's another prediction, he will emerge as their franchise quarterback and lead them to a Super Bowl.
The hard truth is, I was the first and I was right about him. I suppose I have to become a 49er fan now.