Top Ten QBs: Jimmy Garoppolo of Rolling Meadows (No. 2)

  • Former Rolling Meadows quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers in the 2020 Super Bowl.

      Former Rolling Meadows quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers in the 2020 Super Bowl. JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Jimmy Garoppolo

    Jimmy Garoppolo

Updated 5/5/2020 11:07 AM

Editor's note: The Daily Herald is counting down the Top 10 high school quarterbacks over the past 20 years, two at a time. We continue today with Jimmy Garoppolo of Rolling Meadows (No. 2)

For every high school football player who isn't highly recruited, but has big dreams, the "Jimmy Garoppolo Story" is something to hold onto for hope.


Garoppolo put up very good numbers as a two-year quarterback at Rolling Meadows. He finished with 3,136 yards and 25 touchdowns in 19 total games. But the 6-foot-2 Garoppolo, who also was gritty enough to play safety and versatile enough to do the Mustangs' punting, was overlooked by college coaches and did not have a single Division I FBS scholarship offer by the end of his senior year in 2010.

So Garoppolo chose to attend Eastern Illinois University, an FCS school.

It happened to be a great fit for Garoppolo with its up-tempo offense.

By his senior year in 2013, Garoppolo was putting up huge numbers. He rolled up 5,050 passing yards and 53 touchdowns. His career pass completions broke the previous record at Eastern Illinois set by another overlooked future NFL star, Tony Romo. Garoppolo then won the Walter Payton Award, given to the most outstanding offensive player in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.

In the 2014 NFL Draft, Garoppolo was chosen by the New England Patriots in the second round with the 62nd overall pick. He was the first FCS player taken in the 2014 draft and he signed a four-year contract with the Patriots, who won two Super Bowls with Garoppolo as their backup quarterback to Tom Brady.

Midway through the 2017 season, Garoppolo was traded to the San Francisco 49ers. He made his first start for the 49ers that season against the Chicago Bears and passed for 293 yards in a win. A torn ACL cut short the 2018 season for Garoppolo in San Francisco, but he came back in the 2019 season and led the 49ers to the Super Bowl this past February in Miami. Garoppolo passed for 219 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, but the 49ers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-20.

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