Colin Kaepernick's College Backup Aims to Duplicate Success Story

Look back on the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback's decorated amateur career at the University of Nevada.

INDIANAPOLIS – Stop me if you've heard this before.

A dual-threat quarterback who posted big numbers in college at Nevada responded to questions at the Scouting Combine asking if his skills could translate to the NFL.

No, it's not 2011 again.

Four years after Colin Kaepernick addressed the media at Lucas Oil Stadium, his backup at Nevada, Cody Fajardo, did the same on Thursday.

"Pretty much you can't bring up my name without also bringing up Kap's," Fajardo said. "We have the same agent and had almost identical numbers in college, so it's just an honor to be mentioned with him."

Indeed, the Wolfpack signal-callers' collegiate stats are fairly similar.

In four years as the starter, Kaepernick threw for 10,098 yards and 82 touchdowns and ran for 4,112 yards and 59 scores.

Fajardo, who was also a four-year starter, threw for 9,659 yards and 57 touchdowns and ran for 3,482 and 44 scores.

Likely the biggest question mark Fajardo faces at the next level is if he can succeed outside of Nevada's pistol offense, in which he always took the snap out of the shotgun formation. But thanks to Kaepernick's rise to NFL stardom, Fajardo is confident that he can learn the pro game.

"Kap has done a great job of adjusting and teams look at him and think, 'Hey, we may be able to work with it.'" Fajardo said. "So any team that runs the zone-read offense, I think I'd be a perfect fit.

"But if I go to a more pro-style offense, it's all about getting under center and timing your drop with the route so your five or seven steps are there with them."

Following in Kaepernick's footsteps wasn't always an enviable task for Fajardo. He struggled with the high expectations at first before eventually becoming comfortable as his own player.

"When I started as redshirt freshman after his senior year, when we went 13-1 and were ranked seventh in the nation, the fans, the media and everyone wanted the same thing from me," Fajardo said. "I was just a freshman trying to figure out how to play football at the college level. But I became my own player and felt like I left my mark on the program as well."

Fajardo, who is projected to be a 5th-7th round draft pick, still keeps in contact with Kaepernick. The two even spoke before the 49ers faced the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.

"The day of the game I texted him just to say, 'Hey man, best of luck out there,'" Fajardo said. "And within five minutes, he texted me back. On his biggest day, he texted me back. That felt good, it made me feel like we have a real friendship."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Advertising