Before he made headlines as the potential replacement for Tom Brady and as the starting quarterback of Super Bowl LIV, Jimmy Garoppolo dazzled at quarterback for Eastern Illinois. Garoppolo rocketed into the limelight as a junior after a slow start to his college career. By his senior season, Garoppolo was well on his way, following in the footsteps of great Eastern Illinois quarterbacks Sean Payton and Tony Romo. Jimmy Garrapolo’s collegiate career saw him become the highest-selected Eastern Illinois player in NFL draft history.
Here's everything you need to know about Jimmy Garoppolo's college career.
The vitals on Jimmy Garoppolo
School: Eastern Illinois
Weight: 233 pounds
Years active: 2010-2013
Here are Jimmy Garoppolo’s career stats in college.
Where did Jimmy Garoppolo go to college?
Jimmy Garoppolo, a native of Arlington Heights, Illinois, attended Eastern Illinois. Per Rivals.com, Garoppolo signed with Eastern Illinois over offers from Illinois State and Montana State.
What kind of prospect was Jimmy Garoppolo in high school?
Garoppolo played quarterback at Rolling Meadows High School. After entering high school as a versatile athlete, he began to transition to play quarterback as a freshman. While Garoppolo started to learn the quarterback position in a backup role, he found a way onto the field as the starting outside linebacker his sophomore year. Garoppolo took over as starting quarterback his junior year, passing for 2,072 yards and 18 touchdowns while completing 60 percent of his passes. As a junior Garropolo also added 552 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.
In Garoppolo’s senior year of high school, he passed for 1,888 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 563 yards and seven touchdowns. Although Garoppolo’s numbers fell through the air, he saw success from a team perspective; Garoppolo led his team to the Mid-Suburban East League championships and IHSA Class 7A playoff berth. For his efforts, Garoppolo earned Northwest Suburban All-Area honors.
What was Jimmy Garoppolo’s record in college?
In the four seasons Garoppolo played in college, he went 23-22 as a starter. Garoppolo took over as a starter in his freshman year, starting the final eight games. He saw his first winning season as a starter in 2012. In 2013, Garoppolo led Eastern Illinois to its second-straight OVC Championship and a berth in the FCS playoff quarterfinals.
Records set by Jimmy Garoppolo
Here are some of the notable records and statistical rankings set by Garoppolo in college:
Many of the Eastern Illinois passing records Garoppolo broke were held by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo or current New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.
- 2nd in FCS single-season passing yards: 5,050 yards (2013)
- 4th in FCS single-season passing touchdowns: 53 touchdowns (2013)
Ohio Valley records
- 1st in Ohio Valley career pass completions: 1047 completions
- 1st in Ohio Valley career touchdown passes: 118 touchdowns
- 1st in Ohio Valley career total offense: 13,089 yards
- 1st in Ohio Valley career passing yards: 13,156 yards
- 1st in Ohio Valley single-season passing touchdowns: 53 touchdowns (2013)
- 1st in Ohio Valley single-season passing yards: 5,050 (2013)
Eastern Illinois records
- 1st in Eastern Illinois career pass completions: 1,047 completions
- 1st in Eastern Illinois career touchdown passes: 118 touchdowns
- 1st in Eastern Illinois career total offense: 13,089 yards
- 1st in Eastern Illinois career passing yards: 13,156 yards
- 1st in Eastern Illinois career passing attempts: 1,668 attempts
- 1st in Eastern Illinois career touchdowns responsible for: 127 touchdowns
- 1st in Eastern Illinois single-season touchdowns responsible for: 58 touchdowns (2013)
- 1st in Eastern Illinois single-season passing touchdowns: 53 touchdowns (2013)
- 1st in Eastern Illinois single-season passing attempts: 568 (2013)
- 1st in Eastern Illinois single-season pass completions: 375 (2013)
- 1st in Eastern Illinois single-season total offense: 5,112 (2013)
- 1st in Eastern Illinois single-season passing yards: 5,050 (2013)
- 1st in Eastern Illinois single-game touchdowns yards: 7 touchdowns (2012)
- 2nd in Eastern Illinois single-game total offense: 501 yards (2012)
- 3rd in Eastern Illinois single-game passing yards: 480 yards (2013)
What were some of Jimmy Garoppolo’s best games in college?
Here are some of Garoppolo’s most notable performances in college:
Eastern Illinois 39, (FBS) Northern Illinois 43 | Sept. 21, 2013
- 450 passing yards, six passing touchdowns, 69.3% completion percentage
Eastern Illinois 57, Tennessee State 24 | Sept. 13, 2013
- 480 passing yards, seven passing touchdowns, 63.4% completion percentage
Eastern Illinois 40, (FBS) San Diego State 19 | Aug. 31, 2013
- 361 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, 67.3% completion percentage
Eastern Illinois 65, Austin Peay 15 | Sept. 29, 2012
- 453 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, 48 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown (all touchdown passes over 50 yards)
Eastern Illinois 49, Southern Illinois 28 | Aug. 30, 2012
- 369 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, 65.3% completion percentage
Eastern Illinois 33, Illinois State 26 | Sept. 1, 2011
- 304 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, 73.5% completion percentage
Eastern Illinois 31, Tennessee State 28 (OT) | Nov. 6, 2010
- 331 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, 60% completion percentage
What awards did Jimmy Garoppolo win in college?
Here are the awards and honors Garoppolo won in college:
- Walter Payton Award winner (2013)
- FCS ADA National Offensive Player of the Year (2013)
- FCS ADA National Quarterback of the Year Award (2013)
- CFPA FCS Quarterback of the Year (2013)
- Consensus First-Team All-American (2013)
- East-West Shrine Game Offensive MVP (2013)
- Ohio Valley Male Athlete of the Year (2013)
- Walter Payton Award finalist (2012)
- Honorable Mention College Sports Journal All-American (2012)
- Second-team All-Ohio Valley (2012)
- All-Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer Team (2010)
What did people say about Jimmy Garoppolo?
Then-Eastern Illinois coach Dino Babers after Garoppolo won the Walter Payton Award: "Jimmy has had the best season from a college quarterback that I have ever seen, with the exception of maybe Robert Griffin when he won the Heisman at Baylor." (Babers was an assistant coach at Baylor during Griffin’s Heisman season)
Babers on Garoppolo early in the 2013 season: "If you look up humility in the dictionary, you will find a picture of Jimmy Garoppolo.'
Then-Ohio State coach Urban Meyer on Garoppolo after watching film to prepare for San Diego State: “(He’s) one of the best quarterbacks I've ever seen.''
Former NFL quarterback Jeff Christensen before Garoppolo’s senior season: "I told him, 'Jimmy, you're an NFL starting quarterback, son. Get that in your mind right now.’ ”