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49ers QB's path leads him to Super Bowl

ASSOCIATED PRESS - Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick (10) stretches toward the goal while Boise State's Marty Tadman (20) looks on during the first half of the college football game on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007 in Boise, Idaho. The run led to a Nevada touchdown. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>ASSOCIATED PRESS</em></div>Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick (10) stretches toward the goal while Boise State's Marty Tadman (20) looks on during the first half of the college football game on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2007 in Boise, Idaho.  The run led to a Nevada touchdown.  (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)
Getty Images - COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 13: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #10 of the Nevada Wolf Pack rolls out during the first half of the game against the Missouri Tigers on September 13, 2008 at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 13:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #10 of the Nevada Wolf Pack rolls out during the first half of the game against the Missouri Tigers on September 13, 2008 at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ASSOCIATED PRESS - FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2009, file photo, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick (10) rushes during the second half of an NCAA college football game against UNLV at Mackay Stadium in Reno, Nev. Nevada plays Boise State on Friday night with the WAC title on the line. (AP Photo/Brad Horn)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>ASSOCIATED PRESS</em></div>FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2009, file photo, Nevada's Colin Kaepernick (10) rushes during the second half of an NCAA college football game against UNLV at Mackay Stadium in Reno, Nev.  Nevada plays Boise State on Friday night with the WAC title on the line. (AP Photo/Brad Horn)
Getty Images - LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 02: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #10 of the Nevada Reno Wolf Pack celebrates with fans after defeating the UNLV Rebels 44-26 at Sam Boyd Stadium October 2, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Colin Kaepernick
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 02:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #10 of the Nevada Reno Wolf Pack celebrates with fans after defeating the UNLV Rebels 44-26 at Sam Boyd Stadium October 2, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Colin Kaepernick
Getty Images - GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 11: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 21-19. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Colin Kaepernick
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 11:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 21-19.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Colin Kaepernick
Getty Images - SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers throws passes before a game against the New York Giants on October 14, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. The Giants won 26-3. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Getty Images</em></div>SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers throws passes before a game against the New York Giants on October 14, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  The Giants won 26-3. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Steelers/NFL Videos

Tip of the Kaepernick

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick found success right away in college. It took him less than two seasons to make his mark in the NFL.

2007

Nevada

Freshman

133-247, 2,175 yards, 19 TDs, 3 INTs, 150.0 passer rating

2008

Nevada

Sophomore

208-383, 2,849 yards, 22 TDs, 7 INTs, 132.1 passer rating

2009

Nevada

Junior

166-282, 2,052 yards, 20 TDs, 6 INTs, 139.1 passer rating

2010

Nevada

Senior

233-359, 3,022 yards, 21 TDs, 8 INTs, 150.5 passer rating

2011

San Francisco

Rookie

3-5, 35 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 81.2 passer rating

2012

San Francisco

2nd year

136-218, 1,814 yards, 10 TDs, 3 INTs, 98.3 passer rating

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 7:48 p.m.
 

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Chicago Cubs scout Sam Hughes watches Colin Kaepernick nowadays and still wonders what the strong-armed NFL quarterback might look like on a pitching mound, as a power arm in the pros. It's hard not to, seeing the zip and accuracy on each throw, the competitive fire and focus.

The Cubs never even watched Kaepernick throw a baseball before drafting him in the 43rd round almost four years ago. They did watch him throw a football for Nevada and decided that the college game told them more than enough.

Ultimately, the Cubs just couldn't lure Kaepernick away from football. Now he's headed to the Super Bowl to lead the 49ers against the Ravens.

Hughes, the longtime national cross-checker in the Cubs' scouting department, and several others, including then-general manager Jim Hendry, figured they should give it a shot and hope Kaepernick might reconsider. Hughes tried for two weeks to convince Kaepernick, who had made it all but clear he would not sign. He was surprised anybody drafted him given he had been so upfront about sticking with football.

But Chicago's NFL sources — Hughes said three different teams — figured Kaepernick would be a late-round pick or even someone who might have to go the route of the Canadian Football League.

That seems so laughable now. The Niners picked Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft, made him the starter midseason this year and now will ask him to carry them all the way to the franchise's sixth championship in what will be just his 10th career start.

Kaepernick regularly threw 90 mph in high school but was some 40 pounds heavier as a college football player.

“So I was definitely intrigued, bigger, stronger, more athletic,” Hughes said. “Colin had no idea we were even considering drafting him. I kind of caught him off guard when I called him after we drafted him.”

Then-Nevada coach Chris Ault had the challenge of developing Kaepernick's football motion — and that wasn't an easy task with the QB having been a pitcher.

“His first two years, he was a thrower from his pitching days. It was all sidearm,” Ault said. “That was a habit we had to break. You could see his throwing motion, timing and touch was there. His senior year, I saw the whole package. He was a guy ready for the NFL who could do all things they'd like him to do plus run. Now I look at him with the Niners, and Jim and those guys are doing a super job. He has all the throws. What I really enjoy watching is he really learned to put the touch on the ball when he has to.”

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh can appreciate the Cubs' attempt to recruit Kaepernick to baseball.

“He's a man for all seasons,” Harbaugh said.

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