By: C.J. Doon
Even as a little boy in fourth grade, Colin Kaepernick knew he would be an NFL quarterback.
During the Niners’ thrilling 41-31 victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football, NBC displayed an image of a few misspelled words scrawled on a little piece of paper, written by a 9-year old version of San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The letter was addressed to Colin himself, describing his future goals and aspirations.
“I’m 5ft 2inches 91 pounds. Good athlete. I think in 7 years, I will be between 6ft to 6ft 4inches 140 pounds.”
Pretty standard stuff, right? We all want to be big and strong when we get older, but he pretty much nailed it. Colin now stands at 6’ 5” and weighs 230 lbs.
Now here’s the best part…
“I hope I go to a good college then go to play on the Niners or Packers even if they aren’t good in seven years.”
Spot on, kid! In high school, Kaepernick was a terrific starting pitcher for the school’s baseball team, and received several scholarships from schools across the nation. Standing at 6’ 5” (once again, nailed it), Kaepernick dominated hitters with a 92 MPH fastball, and earned multiple Northern California Athlete of the Week honors. In his senior season, he posted a record of 11-2 with a 1.265 ERA, 97 strikeouts, and 39 walks.
However, his baseball success wasn’t enough to overshadow his devout love for football. At 8 years old, Colin started playing competitive football. He began as a defensive end and a punter, until he finally got his chance to play quarterback. His first competitive pass went for a long touchdown, and he never looked back.
“Everyone in the stands sat there with their mouths open because at the time, 9-year-olds almost never passed,” said Colin’s mother, Teresa Kaepernick, who adopted him when he was just five weeks old. “He had an extremely strong arm.”
As a senior, Colin became the starting quarterback of the football team, but his coaches refused to let him run. Weighing in at 170 pounds, they believed he was too fragile to withstand constant hits. Although he had a strong arm, he developed poor throwing mechanics which negatively impacted his accuracy. As a result, FBS schools decided not to pursue Kaepernick, fearing his thin physique, accuracy problems, and baseball prowess would steer him away from football.
But all Colin wanted was a chance. The University of Nevada was the only Division I school to offer Kaepernick a football scholarship. The Wolfpack coaching staff monitored Colin’s high school tape during his senior season, but never made an official visit to one of his games. It was only after one coaching assistant saw Kaepernick dominate a high school basketball game on an evening he was suffering from a fever of 102 °F that head coach Chris Ault offered him a scholarship.
In college, Kaepernick lifted Nevada from relative obscurity to two consecutive bowl appearances on national television. In 2010, Kaepernick led the Wolfpack to a 34-31 overtime victory over the undefeated Boise State Broncos, a victory that head coach Chris Ault called the “most important win in program history.” During the game, Kaepernick surpassed 1,000 rushing yards for the season, becoming the first player in NCAA history to have over 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing for 3 consecutive seasons.
Not bad for a kid who was too small to run.
Now, after being drafted by the Niners in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Kaepernick has replaced the injured Alex Smith, beaten the Chicago Bears on Monday Night in his first NFL start, thrown for seven touchdown passes and rushed for another five, and defeated the immortal Tom Brady and the Patriots in Gillette Stadium in the second half of the season where, oh by the way, the Patriots haven’t lost in 21 straight games.
Not a bad story, huh? Some people might be surprised by Kaepernick’s success, but not Colin himself. On his Twitter bio (where Colin is followed by more than 79,000 fans), Colin writes, “Trying to be #1 in a world that accepts #2.”
In the end, that’s what Colin is all about. After all, a 9-year old can’t fulfill his lifelong dream by accepting anything other than #1.
Now, let’s jump into this week’s Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em!
Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams – Amendola returned from an injury with a big game against the Vikings, catching 6 passes for 58 yards and a touchdown. There’s no doubt he has a huge impact on the Rams offense, as Bradford elevated his play with 377 yards passing and three TDs. He’s owned in less than half of all ESPN.com leagues, and could be the difference between winning and losing your matchup this week.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers – Williams is the kind of player that I usually like to avoid. He’s injury prone, inconsistent, and loses a bulk of his carries to Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart. But the last two weeks have proved me wrong. Williams has totaled 16 and 18 points respectively against the Falcons and Chargers, and is poised to repeat those impressive totals when the Panthers take on the Raiders this week.
James Jones, WR, Green Bay Packers – It’s hard to pinpoint when James Jones is going to have a big game. If you were lucky (or smart) enough to have him in your lineup last weekend, you were rewarded with 3 touchdown catches and 24 fantasy points. He received the most targets of any Packers’ receiver against the Bears, which means he’s in the good graces of the man himself, Aaron Rodgers. That should lead to another big performance next week when the Pack takes on the Titans at Lambeau.
Braylon Edwards, WR, New York Jets – After being picked up by the Jets prior to Monday night’s game, Edwards caught 3 passes for 47 yards in a loss to the Titans. Those are pretty pedestrian numbers, until you realize Mark Sanchez completed only 13 passes all night, and threw four interceptions. Word is that Greg McElroy will start for the Jets when they take on the Chargers, in what is destined to be one of the worst football games of the entire season. Seriously, do not watch this game. Go outside and stand in the bitter cold for two hours if you have to. Bury your face in the snow. Anything is better than Jets vs. Chargers.
Texans D/ST – I’m taking a calculated risk here. The Texans own a Top 10 NFL defense, and rank second in fantasy points scored behind only the Chicago Bears. But something about the way Adrian Peterson is playing just scares me too much. He only needs 294 yards to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards set in 1984, and let me just say I wouldn’t want to be part of any defense standing in his way. The Colts D/ST take on the lowly Chiefs this week, with second-year quarterback Ricky Stanzi slotted to start. That could mean huge points, and quite frankly, it’s a safer bet than the Texans D/ST.
Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks – You may have heard that the Seahawks have scored 50 or more points the last two weeks. Apparently Sidney Rice missed the memo about the whole “score a bunch of points” thing. Rice has posted 3 and 7 points respectively the last two weeks, which is a pretty bad sign when your quarterback – Russel Wilson – led the league in fantasy points in Week 15. The Seahawks take on the 49ers this week on Sunday Night, which means you’ll probably see even less of Rice this week when he’s blanketed by the 49ers’ strong secondary.
Good luck to everyone out there who’s still fighting for the championship!
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