Colin Kaepernick was born on November 3, 1987 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was adopted as an infant and is the youngest child of his parents, Rick and Teresa. The question of Kaepernick’s ethnicity comes up often and can be simply addressed in that Colin is of bi-racial descent (African American and European) and was adopted by caucasian parents. His mother was a young caucasion woman and his father was an African American who was not part of his mothers life, thus her decision to offer him for adoption. Colin’s adoptive parents had previously lost two newborn sons to hear defects and Colin’s adoption gave them an opportunity to fulfill their needs for a son without the risk of another tragic loss. As a youngster, his family moved from Wisconsin to Turlock, California where he attended elementary, junior, and John H. Pitman High School there.
Colin was a standout athlete in basketball, baseball and football. He had several Div 1 scholarship offers to play baseball as a pitcher. Kaepernick is said to have had a fastball of around 94 mph in high school which is very believable when you see how he throws a football. Kaepernick was nominated for all state honors in football, basketball, and baseball during his final year in high school. He was voted as the MVP of the Central California Conference in football and in basketball he was selected to the first team all CCC while playing forward.
Colin was raised a Christian and you can now see that influence in his numerous tattoos of scripture and tribute to his faith and upbringing.
Baseball was Colin’s best sport as a high school athlete and he became a two time all state player in California and was listed as a draftable prospect by MLB for the 2006 class. For some reason though, Colin really want to play collegiate football, however his offers were limited to play football. As a matter of fact, Nevada was the only offer he had and even then, coach Chris Ault was all but convinced Kaepernick was going to opt for one of his numerous baseball offers instead of coming to Reno to play quarterback.
University of Nevada Wolfpack
As a redshirt freshman, Kaepernick played behind then starting quarterback Nick Graziano. Graziano went down in the 5th game of the season with a foot injury. Colin entered the game with 8:23 remaining in the second quarter and all he did was amass 384 yards passing, 4 TD’s and 60 yards rushing in what still turned out to be a losing effort.
In his first collegiate start on Sunday October 14, 2007 he stepped onto the famed blue turf in Boise, Idaho to face a team that had never lost on its home field to a WAC opponent. Colin would help guide the Wolf Pack to a near upset of the Broncos in what would eventually become the highest scoring game in NCAA history. The game was nationally televised on ESPN and left many viewers wondering who this Kaepernick kid from Nevada was and where he came from.
He would then go on to lead the Wolf Pack to three straight victories over Utah State, Idaho, and New Mexico State where he would earn WAC Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts. Against undefeated and nationally ranked Hawaii his team would fall 2 points short after giving up a late field goal with 15 seconds remaining. That was the year that Hawaii went on to the Sugar Bowl.
In the final game of the regular season vs. the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Kaepernick would throw for a gaudy 404 yards and 3 scores with no turnovers to help lead the Pack their third consecutive bowl appearance, a first in school history.
Kaepernick earned WAC Freshman of the Year honors for his efforts during the regular season. At 161.06 he finished as the 5th ranked quarterback in NCAA football based on pass efficiency.
As a sophomore Kaepernick became just the fifth different 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.
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 did in 1992. He was also named first team All WAC QB.
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 also named to the Davey O’Brien, Maxwell and Manning award watch lists for quarterbacks.
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 on the same team.
Entering the 2010 NCAA season, Kaepernick ranked #1 among active college football players in rushing touchdowns. He is second in Yards Per Carry (behind Wolf Pack teammate Vai Taua), Total Offense per Game, and Touchdowns Scored. He ranks #3 in Yards per Play and #4 in pass touchdowns and Total Number of Offensive Plays.
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 and dashing the hopes of Boise State reaching a BCS game. That 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 duo of Eric Dickerson and Craig James (8,193) known as the “Pony Express”.
On December 4 against Louisiana Tech University, Kaepernick joined Florida’s Tim Tebow as only 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 in 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.
Kaepernick currently stands as the only quarterback in the history of Division I college football to have passed for over 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000 yards in a collegiate career and also as the only 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).
Upon completion of his collegiate career, Kaepernick signed with XAM Sports and Entertainment, an agency based in Madison, Wisconsin that currently represents over 30 professional athletes. He spent time in Atlanta, Georgia training for the NFL Combine at Competitive Edge Sports with trainer Chip Smith and quarterbacks coach Roger Theder.
Kaepernick was selected as the 4th pick in the second round of the NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49er’s. He was selected as the 35th overall pick due to his prototype size (6’6″ – 230lbs.) and cannon arm, but not higher due to his sometimes sloppy mechanics. Kaepernick is what many teams might have considered a good “project” QB who can come into camp and learn proper mechanics and a pro system for a couple of years under veteran leadership and then be ready to take some good snaps and possibly earn a starting position at a later time. He’ll be competing against former Utah standout quarterback Alex Smith who is in his 4th year with the 49er’s, but has yet to really impress the niner faithful with his play on the field.
In the 10th game of the season while playing against the St. Louis Rams, starting quarterback Alex Smith was hit hard multiple times in the first half and pulled out of the game to be examined for a concussion which later turned out to be the case. Colin Kaepernick was put into the game in the second quarter and went on to complete 11 of 17 passes for 117 yards and added 8 carries for 66 yards enroute to an unusual tie game in the NFL 24-24 in overtime.
Even though the game ended in a tie, Kaepernick showed up well and made enough plays to keep the 49ers in the game.
The following week the 49ers played the Chicago Bears and Kaepernick left no doubt that he could perform as a No. 1 quarterback in the NFL, leading his team to a blowout win against the Bears previously stingy defense by a score of 32-7. Kaepernick passed for 243 yards completing 16 passes on 23 attempts with no picks.
49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh spoke highly of Kaepernick’s performance after the game, “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. Even though Smith had good number prior to his injury, it looked like there was going to be a quarterback controversy in San Francisco. Kaepernick had better arm strength than Smith and his scrambling ability added another dimension of threat to confuse opposing defenses. Harbaugh being a little bit of a cowboy himself, seemed to favor Kaepernick early on.
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 playoffs against New Orleans, the 49ers won 31–21 with Kaepernick throwing for a touchdown and running for another. The following week, Harbaugh announced that Kaepernick would start for the 8–2–1 49ers against St. Louis. Harbaugh stated that Kaepernick’s assignment was week-to-week, not necessarily permanent, but it seemed clear at this point that there was a new QB in Frisco.
In the season opener of 2013 against the Green Bay Packers, Kaepernick threw for a career-high 412 yards and 3 touchdowns, the first 400-yard game by a 49ers quarterback since Tim Rattay on October 10, 2004. 208 of those 412 yards were to newly acquired teammate Anquan Boldin, making his debut as a 49er. In addition, Kaepernick’s performance also marked the first 400-yard passing with 3 touchdowns performance by a 49ers quarterback since Jeff Garcia in the 1999 season. The nay-sayers and Smith supporters in San Francisco had to admit that Harbaugh had made the right choice by putting Kaepernick in the starting role, but the remaining first half of the season didn’t go as well as it looked like it would with Kaepernick and dropping the next two game in blowout losses to Seattle and Indianapolis. Kaepernick had less than stellar performances in both games and there were some renewed rumblings that he was simply a flash in the pan, but Harbaugh was committed to Kaepernick and kept the press at bay. Kaepernick went on to lead the Niners to 11 wins in their remaining 13 games which was good enough to get them into the playoffs and work their way to a second consecutive NFC Championship game under the young quarterback.
In the NFC Championship Game against the Seattle Seahawks, Kaepernick rushed for 130 yards, including a 58-yard run and also 153 yards passing. The 49ers led until the 4th quarter. Two turnovers by Kaepernick led to the Seahawks having a 23-17 lead with a few minutes left. Kaepernick drove the 49ers to the red zone but with :22 left, Kaepernick’s pass intended for Crabtree was tipped by Seattle’s Richard Sherman and intercepted by Malcolm Smith, ending the 49ers’ season and Kaepernicks improbably run to his second consecutive Superbowl in his first two seasons as a starter. Kaepernick ended the season with 3,197 yards passing, 21 touchdowns, and only 8 interceptions. He also finished with 524 yards rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns.
Any questions as to whether the 49ers consider Kaepernick their quarterback of the future were answered on June 4 when Kaepernick signed a six-year contract extension, worth $126 million, including $61 million guaranteed.