Game Changers 2014: Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick
Colin KaepernickTodd Kirkland/AP/Shutterstock

Ever since he was a kid growing up in Turlock, CA, Colin Kaepernick has possessed something that’s allowed him to excel in almost any sport he’s tried: blistering speed.

“I was always faster than everyone else when I was younger,” says the 26-year-old.

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Combine that outsize mobility with monster arm-strength, and Kaepernick has the DNA of the NFL’s superquarterback of the future. But when you add those on-field histrionics with a Greek god’s physique and an effortless, nice-guy charisma, you’ve got a bona fide superstar of the future.

Before he guided the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl berth in the 2012–13 season (and his red-and-gold No. 7 became the hottest-selling jersey in America), Kaepernick was already an experienced record breaker. By his sophomore season at the University of Nevada, he’d become the fifth player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 or more in a single season. The following year, he did it again, becoming the first college player to maintain that stat for back-to-back seasons.

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To this day, he’s still the only quarterback in the history of Division I FBS college football to have passed for more than 10,000 yards and rushed for more than 4,000 yards in a collegiate career.

“It was always that quarterbacks were supposed to be in the pocket throwing the football, and they never left the pocket,” says the man who earlier this year signed a six-year contract extension worth $126 million. “For me, being on the field, running around and making plays with my legs has helped change the game and given people a different view of what a quarterback can be.”

FIT FACT: Kaep does yoga once a week. “My biggest thing is going out on the field and not feeling tight or restricted,” he says.

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