The accomplishments are eye-popping.
Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick is the only quarterback in NCAA history to pass for over 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000 in a career.
He is the only quarterback in NCAA history to rush for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.
He is one of four quarterbacks in major college football history to rush for 20 touchdowns in a season.
There is more. Much more. But you get the idea: The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Kaepernick was one of the most dynamic players in college football history. He has a tantalizing blend of size, arm strength, speed and (4.43 40-yard dash) and smarts (37 on Wonderlic).
But will his game – so dominant in the Western Athletic Conference – translate to the NFL? And what about that Pistol offense he led in Reno? And, oh yeah, what about that throwing motion, which some have said is too looooong for the timing-based West Coast offense?
The 49ers gambled today that Kaepernick will put those questions to rest as they surrendered picks No. 45, No. 108 (4th round) and No. 141 (5th round) to get pick No. 36 from the Broncos and snap up Kaepernick.
Kaepernick, 23, said he’d heard the trade rumors involving San Francisco. And the Turlock resident was “very happy and very excited” that those whispers were accurate after five quarterbacks were drafted before him.
“It was definitely disappointing seeing other quarterbacks go before you,” Kaepernick said. “But, once again, I’ve kind of fallen into a perfect situation. I have a great coach. Great teammates that are going to be there on offense, so it’s just exciting for me.”
Kaepernick has gained some insight into that coach, quarterback guru Jim Harbaugh, from his relationship with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. The pair met at the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana this past summer and have since kept in touch.
But Kaepernick got an up-close look at Harbaugh when the Niners put him through a private workout in Reno in March.
“He was one coach that was very hands-on,” Kaepernick said. “He was very energetic with everything that he was doing. He’s the type of coach that gets you excited to play the game.”
In the months prior to the draft, Kaepernick has been repeatedly asked about his throwing motion. At the NFL Combine, he said there was only so much he could do to shorten his delivery, noting his 79 3/8-inch wing span.
He said his motion hasn’t been an issue for NFL coaches. In fact, he said Harbaugh gave it his stamp of approval.
“I haven’t had a coach tell me that they have a problem with it,” Kaepernick said. “Coach Harbaugh was actually the first coach to tell me that it looked good. I think he was worried about whether I got the ball out quickly or not. And, I mean, when he told me that, I was very excited about it.”
The 49ers are gambling they’ve just acquired their quarterback of the future.
Kaepernick, naturally, thinks the label could fit him.
“I’m hoping so,” he said. “But time will tell.”