Jobu gives us the main reason why he thinks the San Francisco 49ers could win Super Bowl XLVII.
Who? That’s what I said when the ’49ers turned to a little-known second year QB out of the University of Nevada Reno after Alex Smith got hurt in Week 10 against the St. Louis Rams. That game actually ended in infamy, as it became the first tie in the NFL in four years (24-24), but it was the foot in the door that Kaepernick needed. He stepped in the doorway of his NFL career and didn’t hold the door open for Smith to come back in. After this successful playoff run, he won’t have to. This is Kaepernick’s team, and everybody knows it.
One thing that is apparent about Kaepernick when you watch him play is his freakish athletic ability. The dude’s got a cannon arm that helps him make a lot of good passes, and if no one’s open he’s just as likely to break a 50 yard run on you. I get the feeling that he’s probably one of those guys, like John Elway (drafted by the Yankees), Tom Glavine (drafted by the Los Angeles Kings) or Dave Winfield (drafted by 4 teams and leagues in 3 different sports), who could have been a successful pro at whatever sport he ended up choosing. If they had a solid curling squad in Turlock, CA (where he grew up), he might have a gold medal by now.
His senior year of high school he nominated for all-state in football, basketball and baseball. After gradeation, he passed up a promising baseball career (he was heavily recruited as a pitcher and had received several scholarship offers). He was actually drafted in the 43rd round by the Chicago Cubs in 2009, but his love of football kept him at the Nevada, which initially offered him the only scholarship he received in football as a high school senior in 2006.
Even Nevada wasn’t sure about Colin. An assistant coach named Barry Sacks got Colin a scholarship after seeing him dominate a basketball game while suffering from the flu. Even when he got there, they weren’t sure about him as a QB. According to Deadspin, coach Chris Ault considered switching Kaepernick to Wide Receiver, or even Safety. In Ault’s defense, Kaepernick’s size and speed would probably have made him dominant at either position.
In the end, the Wolf Pack let “Kaep” play QB. They’re probably glad he did, as he put up some pretty special numbers for them. In 2008, his sophomore year, he became only the fifth college AB to ever pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season. He did it again in 2009, which made him the first in NCAA history to ever have back-to-back seasons like that. You guessed it, he did it again in 2010 as a senior. He also became only the second QB in FBS history to throw and run for 20 TDs in the same season, joining Florida’s Tim Tebow. He’s also the only QB in FBS history to ever pass for 10,000 yards and run for 4,000.
Running QBs aren’t always that highly regarded by NFL teams, which is why Kaepernick fell to the fourth pick of the second round of the 2011 NFL amateur draft. Jim Harbaugh and the ’49ers traded three other picks with the Broncos so they could snatch Kaepernick. He played sparingly in his rookie season, but an injury to Alex Smith (and the fact that he’s not good at football) sent kaepernick into the aforementioned Week 10 matchup against the Rams. The rest is history. Kaepernick ended up starting the last seven games for San Francisco, going 5-2 in the process. He ended up with 1,814 yards on 136/218 passing (62.4%) with, 10 TDs and only 3 INTs. That was good enough to get him a 98.3 QB rating. He also ran 63 times for 415 yards, adding 5 rushing TDs to his total.
All that running, throwing and winning helped Kaepernick lead the 49ers to a division championship and a coveted first round bye. The young man was just getting started though. In the second round against the Packers, Kaep overcame a slow start to throw for 263 yards and 2 TDs. Oh… and he also rushed for 181 yards and 2 TDs, which broke the single season QB rushing yard record. Not bad right? San Francisco beat the Packers 45-31 and advanced to the NFC title game against the Falcons and, although Kaepernick didn’t break any records in that game, he still put up solid numbers (233 passing yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs and 2 carries for 21 yards) and helped his team erase a 17-0 deficit to win the game 28-24.
Now Kaep’s got to prove he can do it one more time, when it matters most. If the 49ers win this game, it will be because Colin did something completely ridiculous. Even if his don’t beat John Harbaugh’s Ravens come Sunday though, a whole new audience is going to be introduced to a very special player… Colin Kaepernick.
Featured image courtesy of: Jeff Haynes/Reuters
Baseball image courtesy of: Marty Bicek/Modesto Bee
Basketball image courtesy of: Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee
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