Aaron Rodgers Career: From a College Football Reject to First Round Draft Pick

Like most top-round NFL draft picks, Aaron Rodgers had a college career that attracted the scouts of the NFL teams. However, when Rodgers graduated high school, there wasn’t a sense that teams were looking at a future NFL superstar. 

This is because the teenaged Rodgers wasn’t part of a university during his junior year. He received an offer from Illinois, albeit it was a walk-on and not a scholarship. Given his status as a walk-on, Rodgers did not move to the east. Instead, he considered becoming a lawyer.

However, in college, he continued to play football, which paved the way for his incredible journey, culminating in his eventual bow in the big time. 

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers’ college career had humble beginnings at Butte Community College. He played quarterback and helped the football side cobble up a 10-1 record to beat Foothill College and top the 2002 NorCal Conference. 

Here, he set a record for most passing yards in a season with 2,156. In the same season, he also threw 26 touchdown passes with 6 of them coming in a single game. 

How did Aaron Rodgers turn poor recruitment into a successful college career?

As the stars would have it, a stroke of luck saw Rodgers offered a place at a top university team in his sophomore year.


Aaron Rodgers’ story can persuade fans to keep at it. As, had he not continued to try his hand at football, he wouldn’t have had the opportunity of moving to an NCAA-I football program.

Given his determined showing in community college, the recruitment for another offensive player turned out to be his golden ticket into the top tier of college football. 

The first step completed, Rodgers knew he had to prove to the league, his new teammates and the college that he deserved his spot on the Golden Bears. 


Rodgers played 25 games as quarterback for the California Golden Bears.  Here he finished with a 63.8% passer completion and passed for 5,469 yards. En route, he threw 43 touchdowns with only 13 interceptions. This was a sign of his pinpoint accuracy that has been a hallmark of his time in the NFL. 

As part of the Golden Bears, Rodgers featured in two Bowl games. The first of this came at the 2003 Insight Bowl and the second was at the subsequent year’s Holiday Bowl. In the 2004 season, Rodgers came 9th in the voting for the Heisman Trophy.

Rodgers College Bowl Games

The first of these games came at the 2003 Insight Bowl (Copper Bowl). The Golden Bears made the Copper Bowl on the back of their tied third-place finish in the Pacific-10 Conference football standings.


Aaron Rodgers registered two rushing touchdowns in the game. The first came in the opening quarter, with the quarterback reaching the end zone on the back of a one-yard run. However, Virginia tech piled on the pressure with three consecutive touchdowns to close out the quarter. 

Later, Rodgers got into the groove with his passing and secured two passing touchdowns to help his side close in. In the third quarter, the Golden Bears quarterback registered a second rushing touchdown for the game and guided his side to a 52-49 win.

For his efforts of 30 yards rushed, 394 yards passed, and a combined 4 touchdowns and a 77.1% completion with no interceptions Rodgers became the 2003 Insight Bowl offensive MVP.  


In 2004, the Golden Bears improved on their showing and finished second. However, they got relegated to the Holiday Bowl for the season-ending game. 

In this game, Rodgers had a below-par performance and finished with a combined two touchdowns and had a 57.1% passer rating. He passed for only 246 yards as the Golden Bears fell to Texas Tech Red Raiders. 

Aaron Rodgers’ 2005 NFL draft

Aaron Rodgers elected to leave the Golden Bears after the 2004 College football season and try his chances in the NFL draft. He may have done it as his hometown team, the San Francisco 49ers, held the top draft pick for the 2005 NFL season. 


However, the 49ers opted to make Alex Smith their quarterback with the top draft pick. Meanwhile, keeping in with the teams’ requirements and draft picks, Rodgers fell to the tail end of the top round. Here he found a home in a franchise steeped in history.

At the Green Bay Packers, he was to be the backup to Super Bowl winner Brett Favre. Rodgers spent his time on the sidelines and eclipsed the 49ers’ pick who is part of the Washington Football Team. 

He claimed 2 NFL MVP awards, becoming only the ninth player to achieve this, and next season, he will enter his 13th season as an NFL starter.


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