I admit the headline is misleading but it did make you click on this column. San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy has played in nine NFL games with seven starts. But he has become one of the great stories in the league by leading the Niners into the NFC Championship game in Philadelphia on Sunday. By now, everyone knows Purdy was the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft and has come out of nowhere to get within one game of the Super Bowl.
Purdy played four years, with 46 starts, at Iowa State. His sophomore season put him on the radar of NFL scouts by throwing for 3,982 yards and 27 touchdowns. He led the Cyclones to a top ten finish in 2020 but the numbers didn't jump off the board in his junior and senior season.
Eight quarterbacks were drafted ahead of Purdy. In fact, Purdy was the third quarterback taken in the seventh and final round. One of them started a playoff game in Miami's Skylar Thompson from Kansas State who went up against the Bills. The other seventh round pick was Chris Oladokun from South Dakota State, who went 21 picks before Purdy.
But did you know Brock Purdy was on the UCF campus in 2018?
Days after UCF finished off its 13-0 season with a Peach Bowl win, new head coach Josh Heupel offered Purdy a scholarship to become a Knight. That was on January 10th. Two days later Heupel thought so highly of Purdy he personally visited him at his home in Arizona. Later that day, Purdy was off for an official visit to Boise State and then to Iowa State on January 19th. Five days later on the 24th Purdy came to Orlando for an official recruiting visit. Who knows what could have been? What if Purdy chose UCF?
McKenzie Milton was heading into his junior season and Purdy would have had the benefit of sitting behind Milton and learning Heupel's high powered offense. Dillon Gabriel didn't commit to UCF until December of 2018.
Two days after his time in Orlando, Purdy visited Alabama and Texas A&M. He ultimately chose to go to Iowa State and play for Matt Campbell. Purdy was the third-string quarterback on the fall depth chart but after starter Kyle Kempt went down and Zeb Noland could not hold off Purdy. He would start eight games as a true freshmen and played in 48 college games and threw for over 12,000 yards anda 81 touchdown passes.
Purdy waited a long time before hearing his name in the NFL Draft. Mr. Irrelevant is now one game from continuing a dream season and making a Super Bowl. What a story...
Nuggets: Quick note on the other quarterbacks playing this weekend: Patrick Mahomes was a 37th round draft pick of the Detroit Tigers in the 2014 MLB Draft, Joe Burrow was born in Ames, Iowa because his dad was on the staff at Iowa State as an assistant coach and Jalen Hurts played for his dad in high school all four seasons...Billy Packer passed away yesterday at the age of 82. Packer was a legendary basketball analyst on TV for decades and did every Final Four from 1975 to 2008. He was a no nonsense guy who called the game without any schtick. That leads me to a guy who has built his television career on schtick, Dick Vitale. While Packer was a legend on TV, Vitale might be more responsible for the growth of the game on television than any player, coach or personality in the media world we live in today. Dickie V is an icon and yet he has never broadcast an NCAA Tournament game. Well, he has done games for ESPN International, but never a national broadcast in the United States. Vitale has only worked for ESPN and he's been there for 41 years and the network has never had the rights to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Vitale is 83 and has battled cancer and numerous medical challenges in recent years. ESPN allowed Jay Bilas, who was then and still is under contract with Disney, to work for CBS a few years back as a game analyst. Bob Iger, CEO again at Disney, needs to make a call to CBS and the two need to agree to let Dick Vitale call one game. I don't care if it's a first round game at 10:37p. Dick Vitale needs to check off the one box left on his college basketball bucket list. He needs to call an NCAA Tournament game on national television. Do it now, not years from now when we will wonder why they didn't do it...
Final Note: Disney's Splash Mountain closed and people are still actually trying to sell what they claim is water from the ride. My favorite post on EBay is the one offering my water from the final day the attraction was open in a Dasani water bottle. Riiiiiiight.