Colin Kaepernick Only Got a Football Scholarship From 1 College—Here’s the School That Made Him a Star

Colin Kaepernick
Photo: AP Images.

If you’ve watched Colin in Black and White on Netflix, you may want to know: Where did Colin Kaepernick go to college? Despite his seven-year-long NFL career, Kaepernick was offered a football scholarship from just one university.

Kaepernick was raised in Turlock, California and played played football, baseball and basketball for John H. Pitman High School, where he was nominated for all-state selection in all three sports in his senior year. In his senior year, Kaepernick was offered scholarships to the University of Notre Dame, the University of Tennessee, Arizona State University and several other colleges for baseball, which he played as a pitcher. Kaepernick told The New York Times in 2011 that he believed his baseball success made universities reluctant to recruit him for football, for which he had no scholarships by the time he graduated. According to ESPN, Kaepernick, who was 6-foot-6 by the time he graduated high school, weighed just 170 pounds and was described as “paper thin,” which is why he wasn’t a top candidate for colleges for football.

“When I got done [playing] there were parents coming up to me asking who I was and where I was going to school,” Kaepernick told ESPN in 2010. “It was hard telling them, ‘I don’t have a scholarship offer.’ Everybody was like why not? That was frustrating for me. Ever since then, I’ve had a chip on my shoulder and something to prove.” In the end, though, Kaepernick was offered a football scholarship to one college. Read on for which college Colin Kaepernick went to and what happened in his NFL career.

Where did Colin Kaepernick go to college?

So…where did Colin Kaepernick go to college? The answer is the University of Nevada, who was the only college to offer him a football scholarship. After he graduated high school in 2005, Colin signed with the University of Nevada, Reno, where he played for their football team, the Wolf Pack. “He just had this other dynamic that most college quarterbacks don’t have,” Nevada Coach Chris Ault told The New York Times in 2011. “He runs.” He started his college football career as a backup quarterback in 2007 and played in 11 of the Wolf Pack’s 13 games that season, which he finished with 19 passing touchdowns, three interceptions and 2,175 passing yards. In his sophomore year, Kaepernick recorded 22 passing touchdowns, seven interceptions and 2,849 passing yards. He also became the fifth player in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s history to pass 2,000 yards and rush more than 1,000 yards in one season.

Colin Kaepernick

Image: AP Photo/Matt York.

However, Kaepernick’s baseball career didn’t end after high school. In 2009, Kaepernick was selected by the Chicago Cub in the Major League Baseball Draft, where he had to make second decision between baseball and football. In the end, Kapernick decided to continue to play football for the University of Nevada, Reno, and chose not to sign with the Chicago Cubs. In his junior year, Kaepernick finished with 20 passing touchdowns, six interceptions and 2,052 passing yards. He ended his senior year with 21 passing touchdowns, eight interceptions and 3,022 passing yards. That year, he joined Tim Tebow, who played for the University of Florida’s Gators, as the second quarterback in the history of NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision to finish with 20 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns in the same season.

In total, Kaepernick ended his college football career with 10,098 passing yards, 82 passing touchdowns, 24 interceptions, 4,112 rushing yards and 59 rushing touchdowns. Kapernick graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2011 with a 4.0 grade point and a bachelor’s degree in business management.

How much did Colin Kaepernick make from the NFL?

After graduation, Kaepernick signed with the San Francisco 49ers as a backup quarterback before he was promoted to starting quarterback in 2012. Kaepernick played with the 49ers—which he led to their first Super Bowl appearance in 20 years in 2014—from 2011 to 2017.

Colin Kaepernick played as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2016. According to Sportrac, Kaepernick signed a four-year deal in 2011 for $5,124,296, with a signing bonus of $2,226,764 and an average annual salary of $1,281,074. After he led the 49ers to consecutive NFC championship games and a Super Bowl in 2013, Kaepernick signed a six-year deal for $114,000,00 in 2014, with a signing bonus of $12,328,766 and an average annual salary of $19,000,000.

According to Business Insider, Kaepernick received under a third of his record-breaking deal after he left the 49ers in 2017. The site reported that, in the end, Kaepernick received $39.4 million from the deal, which was 31 percent of the $126 million he was set to earn. Though there were reports that Kaepernick’s deal included $61 million in “guaranteed money,” Business Insider reported that the $61 million was only guaranteed if Kaepernick suffered a career-ending injury.

The site also reported that Kaepernick was set to earn $12.4 million for the 2015 season, however, because of the way his contract was worded, that salary went down to $10.4 million. According to the contract, Kaepernick’s salary went down $2 million each year he was not named first or second-team All-Pro or if the 49ers didn’t play in the Super Bowl the previous season with 80 percent of the snaps taken by Kaepernick.

During the 2016 season, Kaepernick restructured his contract for 2017 into a play option deal. In March 2017, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers after reports they planned to release him in the summer. According to Business Insider, the 49ers were free to release Kaepernick each year of his contract and not owe him any more money.

After he opted out of his contract with the 49ers, Kaepernick went unsigned through the off-season and the 2017 training camps, which led to claims that he was blackballed because of his political statements. During a 49ers preseason game in 2016, Kaepernick chose to sit instead of stand during the national anthem as an act of protest against racial inequality and police brutality

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” Kaepernick told reporter Steve Wyche at the time. During the 49ers final preseason game in 2016, Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem, which led to other NFL players and professional athletes kneeling and taking part in various forms of silent protests during the national anthem.

In October 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL and accused the league’s owners of collusion to keep him off the field. In February 2019, Kaepernick reached a confidential settlement with the NFL and withdrew his grievance. Since he left the NFL, Kaepernick signed an endorsement deal with Nike worth “millions,” as well as starred and created his own Netflix series, Colin in Black & White, a miniseries directed by Ava Duvernay about his high school years. Kaepernick has also written his own children’s book, I Color Myself Different, about growing up as the adopted child of white parents for Scholastic.

I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick

"I Color Myself Different" by Colin Kaepernick

Image: Courtesy of Scholastic Inc.

Colin in Black and White is available to stream on Netflix. I Color Myself Different by Colin Kaepernick is available on Amazon

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