How Aaron Rodgers went from not being recruited to a star at Cal
Aaron Rodgers' double dip took him from Butte Community College to Cal, where he became a star.
We continue our series looking at the most successful second chances in college football history. We are highlighting players and coaches that have found success or redemption at a second school after a transfer or coaching change in Double Dip, presented by IHop. This week, we look at Aaron Rodgers, who went from not having a scholarship offer out of high school to being a star at Cal and now is one of the NFL's best quarterbacks.
First Stop: Aaron Rodgers started his college football career at Butte Community College. Rodgers -- a three-star recruit out of high school but a small, pro-style quarterback from the small town of Chico, California -- was not on the radar of FBS programs. Despite setting school records at Pleasant Valley High School, Rodgers was not offered a scholarship by any FBS programs. Rodgers rejected the lone walk-on offer he got from Illinois, instead choosing to go to junior college.
In his one season at Butte, Rodgers threw for 28 touchdowns and led the Roadrunners to a 10-1 season and the NorCal Conference championship. His performance at Butte was finally enough to attract the attention of Cal, which noticed him while recruiting Butte tight end Garrett Cross.
Double Dip: Cal coach Jeff Tedford had found himself a diamond in the rough at Butte and offered Rodgers a scholarship to play for the Golden Bears. Rodgers was eligible to transfer after just one season at the junior college level because of his good grades in high school, so in 2003 he made the trip from Butte to Cal.
After starting the season as the backup, Rodgers took the starting job in the fifth game and guided Cal to a 7-3 record as the starter -- the Bears went 8-6 on the season. That year, Rodgers threw for 2,903 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Rodgers built on that performance in 2004, leading Cal to a 10-1 regular season record -- with the lone loss to No. 1 USC -- as he emerged as one of the nation's top quarterbacks. He threw for 2,566 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions as a junior and, after a loss to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl, he declared for the NFL Draft rather than return for his senior season.
NFL Career: At this point, you probably know the rest of Rodgers' story. He entered the 2005 NFL Draft and was battling with Utah's Alex Smith for the right to be the No. 1 pick of the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners chose Smith and Rodgers' slide in the draft began. Many teams were scared off of Jeff Tedford quarterbacks after the struggles of Kyle Boller with the Ravens, and Rodgers ended up falling to No. 24 where he got scooped up by the Packers.
After sitting behind Brett Favre for three years, Rodgers finally got his chance to be the starter and he excelled immediately. Rodgers is a two-time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl MVP and is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career -- he has 28,578 passing yards, 226 touchdowns and 57 interceptions in his career so far. Rodgers has had to wait for opportunities throughout his football career, but at every stop along the way he's taken full advantage when presented with a chance.
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