Colin Kaepernick
Colin kaepernick.jpg
Kaepernick prior to a game in 2013
No. 7
Position: Quarterback
Personal information
Place of birth: November 3 1987 (1987-11-03) (age 33)
Place of birth: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight: 230 lbs (104 kg)
National Football League Debut
2011 for the San Francisco 49ers
Career information
High school: Pitman (Turlock, CA)
College: Nevada (2006-2010)
NFL Draft: 2011 / Round: 2 / Pick: 36th
Career hisory
* = offseason / practice squad only
Career highlights and awards
  • 2× WAC Offensive Player of the Year (2008, 2010)

Colin Rand Kaepernick (born November 3, 1987) is a former American football quarterback who is now an activist. He played college football for the University of Nevada Wolf Pack. At Nevada, Kaepernick led his team to two bowl game victories. Kaepernick was MVP of the 2008 Humanitarian Bowl and led Nevada to a win in the Fight Hunger Bowl in his senior season. In the 2011 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected Kaepernick in the second round as the 36th overall pick.

Kaepernick began his pro career as the 49ers' backup to starter Alex Smith. In the middle of the 2012 season, Kaepernick filled in for an injured Smith and became the full-time starter as the 49ers advanced to the NFL playoffs for the second straight season. In his first playoff game, he set an NFL record for most rushing yards (181) by a quarterback in a playoff game.

Early life and high school

Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. An adopted child of Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, Kaepernick is the youngest of their three children. He lived in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin until age four and attended grade school in Turlock, California.[1][2] At age eight, Kaepernick began playing youth football as a defensive end and punter. He then became his youth team's starting quarterback at age nine. He completed his first competitive pass for a long touchdown. He went on to win several punt, pass, and kick competitions mainly on his passing ability.[1]

A three-sport star at John H. Pitman High School in Turlock, Kaepernick passed up a promising baseball career as a pitcher in order to play football. Kaepernick was nominated for all-state in football, basketball, and baseball his senior year. He was the MVP of the Central California Conference in football leading his school to its first-ever playoff victory. In basketball he was a first-team all CCC selection at forward and led his 16th-ranked team to a near upset of the Number 1-ranked Oak Ridge Trojans in the opening round of playoffs. In that game Colin scored 34 points, although that was not enough as Ryan Anderson scored 50 to best the Pride.



Kaepernick achieved most of his accolades in high school as a baseball pitcher and received several scholarship offers in that sport,[1] yet he desperately wanted to play football in college. He was almost 6' 5" as a senior, but he only weighed 170 pounds (77 kg) and his coaches generally kept him from running the ball to limit his risk of injury.[2] Additionally, he had poor throwing mechanics, despite his strong arm.[1] During his junior year, Pitman's head coach at the time, Larry Nigro, made a highlight tape which Colin's brother Kyle copied to DVD and then sent to about one hundred Division I-A (now FBS) programs, receiving some interest but no offers for scholarship.[1] Even as a senior, he received little attention from FBS schools. Although the Wolf Pack coaching staff frequently watched video of his high school team, no one from Nevada's staff came to Turlock to see him play during his senior football season.[2] Wolf Pack head coach Chris Ault decided to offer him a scholarship after one of his assistants, Barry Sacks, saw Kaepernick dominate a high school basketball game on an evening he was suffering from a fever of 102 F (49 C). Nevada was the only school that offered him a football scholarship, but was concerned that he would opt for baseball until he signed in February 2006.[2]


He was a two-time all-state baseball player in California and was listed as a draftable prospect on Major League Baseball's website in the class of 2006. He earned Northern California athlete of the week honors as a pitcher. He was reported to throw a 92 mph (148 km/h) fastball as a senior in high school, as reported during Kaepernick's first college football start in 2007 against Boise State[3] He was also a member of the Brewers Grey squad in the 2005 Area Code games. During his senior year, Kaepernick pitched two no-hitters in high school play. He also turned down numerous scholarship offers to play baseball at many notable NCAA programs, instead taking his lone football scholarship offer to play quarterback at Nevada. In his senior year of high school, Kaepernick had an ERA of 1.265 with 13 starts and 10 complete games. He finished the year with an 11-2 record with 97 strikeouts and 39 walks.

2009 MLB Draft

In the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft, Kaepernick was drafted in the 43rd round by the Chicago Cubs.[4] Kaepernick decided that he wanted to continue to play football at the University of Nevada and chose not to sign with the Cubs.[5]


2006 season

Kaepernick joined the Nevada Wolf Pack as a redshirt.

2007 season

As a redshirt freshman, Kaepernick saw little action through Nevada's first four games. It was during the fifth game of the season against the 2007 Fresno State Bulldogs that he got his first extended playing time. After starting quarterback Nick Graziano went down with a season-ending foot injury, Kaepernick entered the game with 8:23 remaining in the second quarter. He would go on to amass 384 yards passing, 4 TD's and 60 yards rushing. Despite the effort, Fresno State won the game, 49–41.

Kaepernick made his first start on Sunday, October 14, 2007. Entering as 26-point underdogs to the Boise State Broncos, a team that had never lost on its home field to a WAC opponent, Kaepernick and the Wolf Pack nearly upset the Broncos in one of the highest-scoring games in NCAA history (69–67 in four overtimes). The game was nationally televised on ESPN and was deemed an Instant Classic and re-aired on the network's ESPN Classic station in the following days. Compiling 243 yards passing with 3 TDs and rushing for another 177 yards and 2 scores, Kaepernick led the Wolf Pack into a fourth overtime period when a failed two-point conversion attempt ultimately ended the game. During the contest, Kaepernick earned high praise from ESPN's Bill Curry (the former Georgia Tech and Green Bay Packer center and University of Alabama and University of Kentucky head football coach) as having perhaps the best game by a redshirt freshman quarterback he had ever witnessed.

Kaepernick followed the Boise State effort by leading the Wolf Pack to three straight victories over Utah State, Idaho, and New Mexico State (a game in which he threw the go-ahead score with a minute remaining). He earned WAC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts against New Mexico State. Against undefeated and nationally ranked Hawaii, his team fell two points short, giving up the go-ahead field goal with 15 seconds remaining. A loss to San Jose State followed.

In the final game of the regular season against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Kaepernick threw for a gaudy 404 yards and three scores with no turnovers to help lead the Pack to its third consecutive bowl appearance, a first in school history.

Kaepernick earned WAC Freshman of the Year honors for his efforts during the regular season. With a quarterback rating of 161.06, he finished as the fifth-ranked quarterback in NCAA football based on pass efficiency behind Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Tim Tebow (Florida), Colt Brennan (Hawaii), and Dennis Dixon (Oregon) and third in the nation in yards-per-attempt at 9.4, behind Tebow and Paul Smith (Tulsa).

With bowl games completed, Kaepernick's stats dropped slightly. He would finish the season ranked in the top ten in NCAA in various categories including: 2nd-lowest Interception Percent (to Florida State's Drew Weatherford, 5th in Yards Per Passing Attempt, 7th in Touchdowns Passing Percent, and 10th in Passer Rating. Amongst quarterbacks he was 6th in Yards Per Carry when running the ball.

2008 season

As a sophomore Kaepernick became just the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 or more yards in a single season. Some of his notable statistical achievements were:

Only NCAA QB in 2008 to pass for 2,500 or more yards and rush for 1,000 or more yards. Ranked 2nd amongst all NCAA QB's in rushing yardage with 1,130. Ranked 7th amongst all NCAA players with 7.02 yards per carry. Was tied 9th amongst all NCAA players with 17 rushing TD's.

Kaepernick, with 1,130 rushing yards, and running back Vai Taua, with 1,521 rushing yards, made 2008 the first year in school history that Nevada had two 1,000-yard rushers in the same season.[6]

Despite playing the entire second half with an ankle injury, he set a new Humanitarian Bowl record with 370 yards passing and was awarded the MVP in a losing effort.

He was also named the WAC Offensive Player of the Year at the end of the season. He was the first sophomore to win this award since Marshall Faulk of San Diego St did in 1992. He was also named first team All WAC QB. He was the first sophomore to win this award since Trent Dilfer of Fresno State which was also in 1992.

2009 season

Kaepernick was named the pre-season WAC Offensive Player of the Year at the WAC Media's event in July. On August 3 it was announced he was named to the Davey O'Brien Award pre-season watch list. On August 14 it was announced that he was named to the pre-season Maxwell Award watch list and on August 17 to the Manning Award watch list.

Kaepernick led the Wolf Pack to an 8–5 record and a second place finish in the WAC behind undefeated Boise State. He was named 2nd team All WAC QB. He is the first player in Nevada history to earn the teams MVP award twice, doing so in 2008 as well.

Colin finished the 2009 season with 2,052 passing yards and 1,183 rushing yards. He became the first player in NCAA history to record back-to-back 2,000/1,000 yard seasons. His 1,183 rush yards along with Luke Lippincott's 1,034 and Vai Taua's 1,345 makes him a part of the first trio of teammates in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 yards each in the same season.

2010 season

File:Colin Kaepernick passing.jpg

Kaepernick passes against Hawaii in 2010

Entering the 2010 NCAA season, Kaepernick ranked first among active college football players in rushing touchdowns. He was second in Yards Per Carry (behind Wolf Pack teammate Vai Taua), Total Offense per Game, and Touchdowns Scored. He ranked third in Yards per Play and fourth in pass touchdowns and Total Number of Offensive Plays.

Kaepernick was a counselor at the prestigious MPA event in Thibodaux, Louisiana, during the 2010 camp. He had an impressive showing, drawing praise from various NFL and ESPN personnel including former New York Giants QB Jesse Palmer who said of Kaepernick, "by far, the strongest arm in the camp".[7]

It was also announced that Kaepernick, along with teammates Taua and Lippincott will have a display in the College Football Hall of Fame commemorating their being the first players in NCAA history to each break 1,000 yards rushing on the same team during the same season.[8] Kaepernick was named to the watch list for six major college football awards: the Manning Award, the O'Brien Award, the Paul Hornung Award, the Maxwell Award, the Unitas Award, and the Walter Camp Award.

On November 26, Kaepernick led his team to a 34–31 overtime victory against the previously undefeated Boise State Broncos, snapping a 24 game win streak that had dated back to the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl. This game was played on Nevada's senior night, the final home game for Kaepernick and fellow notable senior running back Vai Taua. Nevada Head Coach Chris Ault would later call this game the "most important win in program history." During this game, Kaepernick surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for this season, becoming the first player in NCAA history to have over 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing for 3 consecutive seasons. Along with Taua's 131 yards rushing in the game, the duo became the NCAA's all time leaders in rushing yards by teammates (8,285) passing the legendary SMU "Pony Express" duo of Eric Dickerson and Craig James (8,193).[9]

On December 4 against Louisiana Tech University, Kaepernick joined Florida's Tim Tebow as the second quarterback in FBS history to throw for 20 touchdowns and run for 20 in the same season. Later that same evening, Auburn's Cam Newton joined Tebow and Kaepernick as the third. Kaepernick's three rushing touchdowns in that game also placed him in a tie with former Nebraska QB and Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch for most rushing TD's in NCAA history by a quarterback with 59 in his career. Nevada claimed a share of the WAC title after defeating Louisiana Tech.

Kaepernick is the only quarterback in the history of Division I FBS college football to have passed for over 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000 yards in a collegiate career. Kaepernick is also the only Division 1 FBS QB to have passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards in a single season three times in a career (consecutively). (Armanti Edwards, quarterback at Appalachian State from 2006–2009 amassed career totals of 10,392 yds passing and 4,361 yds rushing at the Division 1 FCS level to become the first NCAA Division 1 quarterback to pass the 10,000 yd passing and 4,000 yds rushing marks.)

Kaepernick graduated from the University of Nevada Reno in December 2010 with a bachelors degree in business management and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Football stats

Year Team Attempts Completions Completion % Yards TDs INT
2006 Nevada
2007 Nevada 247 133 53.8% 2,175 19 3
2008 Nevada 383 208 54.3% 2,849 22 7
2009 Nevada 282 166 58.9% 2,052 20 6
2010 Nevada 359 233 64.9% 3,022 21 8
College Totals 1,271 740 58.2% 10,098 82 24


Upon graduation, Kaepernick signed with XAM Sports and Entertainment. He spent time in Atlanta, Georgia, training for the NFL Combine at Competitive Edge Sports with trainer Chip Smith and quarterbacks coach Roger Theder.

2011 NFL Draft

All values from NFL Combine[10]
Pre-draft measureables
Ht WtArm lengthHand size 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BPWonderlic
6 ft 4⅝ in 233 lb33½ in9⅛ in 4.53 s 1.62 s 2.63 s 4.18 s 6.85 s 32½ in 9 ft 7 in x reps37

On April 29, 2011, The San Francisco 49ers traded up with the Denver Broncos from the thirteenth pick in the second round (#45 overall) to select Colin Kaepernick as the fourth pick in the second round (#36 overall) at the 2011 NFL Draft. The Denver Broncos received picks 45, 108 and 141 overall in exchange for the 36th overall pick.

2011 season

For the 2011 preseason, Kaepernick completed 24 of 50 passes for 257 yards and 5 interceptions.[11] Kaepernick spent the season as backup to Alex Smith and played his first game in Week 4 (October 2) on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles.[11] On third down and 17 during the first quarter, Kaepernick came in for Smith as quarterback with the offense in shotgun formation and handed off to Frank Gore, who ran for 5 yards.[12] In the Week 5 (October 9) home game, a 48–3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kaepernick completed three passes for 35 yards. However, Kaepernick failed to complete two passes in the 49ers' Week 13 (December 4) game, a 26–0 win over the St. Louis Rams.[11] The 49ers finished the 2011 regular season 13–3 but lost the NFC championship to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

2012 season

In 2012 against the New York Jets, Kaepernick scored his first career touchdown on a 7-yard run.[13] Throughout the early season, Kaepernick was used as a wildcat quarterback.[14] In Week 10 against the St. Louis Rams, Kaepernick replaced starter Alex Smith after Smith suffered a concussion in the first half. However, the game would end in a rare 24-24 tie, the first tie in the NFL in four years.

With Smith still recovering, Kaepernick got his first NFL start the next game on November 19, during a Monday Night Football game against the Chicago Bears at Candlestick Park.[15] Kaepernick completed 16 of 23 for 246 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 32–7 win against a highly ranked Bears defense. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke highly of Kaepernick's performance after the game, leaving open the possibility of Kaepernick continuing to start. "Usually tend to go with the guy who's got the hot hand, and we've got two quarterbacks that have got a hot hand," Harbaugh said.[16] A quarterback controversy began. Smith was ranked third in the NFL in passer rating (104.1), led the league in completion percentage (70%), and had been 19–5–1 as a starter under Harbaugh, while Kaepernick was considered more dynamic with his scrambling ability and arm strength.[17][18]

Smith was cleared to play the day before the following game, but Harbaugh chose not to rush him back and again started Kaepernick. In a rematch of the 2012 playoff against New Orleans, the 49ers won 31–21 with Kaepernick throwing for a touchdown and running for another.[19][20] The following week, Harbaugh announced that Kaepernick would start for the 8–2–1 49ers, against division rivals St. Louis Rams who had played a tie game with the 49ers in San Francisco earlier in the season. Harbaugh stated that Kaepernick's assignment was week-to-week, not necessarily permanent,[21] but he remained the starter each week. In his first career postseason start, the 49ers won 45–31 against the Green Bay Packers, and he set an NFL single-game playoff record for most rushing yards by a quarterback with 181, breaking Michael Vick's record of 119 in 2005. Kaepernick ran for touchdowns of 20 and 56 yards, and also passed for 263 yards and two touchdowns.[22]


Kaepernick has multiple tattoos on his arms, many of which contain Biblical verses.[23][24]

When he was 10 years old, Kaepernick acquired a pet tortoise named Sammy. The tortoise has since grown to weigh 115 pounds.[25] As a fourth grader, Kaepernick wrote himself a letter predicting that he will be 6 feet 4 and "then go to the pros and play on the Niners or Packers even if they aren't good in seven years."[26]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Himmelbach, Adam. "Not a Household Name, Not Even in Nevada", The New York Times, August 28, 2010. Retrieved on October 4, 2010. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Adelson, Andrea (October 4, 2010). Colin Kaepernick more than star QB. Retrieved on October 4, 2010.
  3. Kaepernick's First Start (part 1). YouTube. Retrieved on 2012-10-13.
  6. 2008 Roady's Humanitarian Bowl Media Guide, Nevada Wolf Pack, University of Nevada Athletic Media Services Office, retrieved 2 January 2009.
  7. Arming the Pistol – Nevada Wolf Pack Sports and News. (2010-07-20). Retrieved on 2012-10-13.
  8. "Hall of Fame to honor Nevada trio",, August 4, 2010. Retrieved on October 16, 2010. 
  10. Colin Kaepernick, DS #7 QB, Nevada. The Sports Xchange. Retrieved on 2012-10-02.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Colin Kaepernick game logs 2011. NFL. Retrieved on November 19, 2012.
  12. San Francisco 49ers vs. Philadelphia Eagles play by play, October 2, 2011. ESPN. Retrieved on November 19, 2012.
  13. Kaepernick Draws First Blood with TD in 'Niners Win Over Jets. (2012-09-30). Retrieved on 2012-10-13.
  14. Packers preparing for 49ers to use Colin Kaepernick in the Wildcat | ProFootballTalk. (2012-09-07). Retrieved on 2012-10-13.
  15. 49ers' Alex Smith out vs. Bears, Colin Kaepernick to start. USA today. Retrieved on 2012-11-20.
  16. Samano, Simon. "Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick? 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh wouldn't say after win over Bears", November 20, 2012. Archived from the original on November 20, 2012. 
  17. Dodds, Eric. "Examining the 49ers Quarterback Controversy",, November 28, 2012. Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. 
  18. Sando, Mike. "Reaching back for 49ers QB parallels",, November 27, 2012. Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. 
  19. Sando, Mike. "Victory trumps QB confusion for 49ers",, November 26, 2012. Archived from the original on November 26, 2012. 
  20. Klemko, Robert. "Kaepernick doesn't disappoint as 49ers defeat Saints", November 26, 2012. Archived from the original on November 26, 2012. 
  21. "Colin Kaepernick to start for 49ers",, November 28, 2012. Archived from the original on November 28, 2012. 
  22. McCauley, Janie (2013-01-12). Kaepernick delivers, 49ers beat Packers 45-31. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved on 2013-01-12.
  23. Whitley, David. "Colin Kaepernick ushers in an inked-up NFL quarterbacking era",, November 28, 2012. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. 
  24. Farrar, Doug. "Colin Kaepernick’s parents justifiably annoyed by hack article about their son’s tattoos",, November 30, 2012. Archived from the original on December 4, 2012. 
  25. Hendricks, Maggie (December 5, 2012). Colin Kaepernick has an enormous pet turtle. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved on December 5, 2012.
  26. Sessler, Marc (2012-12-17). Colin Kaepernick foretold future in fourth-grade letter. National Football League. Retrieved on 2012-12-17.

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