Aaron Rodgers gives a surprising reason why he was overlooked coming out of HS
It’s no secret that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn’t the most highly-rated recruit coming out of high school. The story of how the two-time NFL MVP had to take a detour through Butte Community College on his way to becoming a star is well documented at this point, but exactly why Rodgers was overlooked was not explained.
Most assumed it was because of his relatively small frame, but according to Rodgers himself it was more than that.
Rodgers recently joined FS1 college basketball insider Evan Daniels on “The Sidelines” podcast. And in addition to talking hoops, they discussed Rodgers’ unique path to the pros. The Super Bowl champion admitted that while his size was a factor, it was also the recruiting infrastructure that held him back (go to 23:45 to listen to the excerpt):
“It was my vitals,” Rodgers explained to Daniels. “My height and weight and speed was just not something that would get on a radar, one. And the second is, there just wasn’t the same type of opportunities for you to get your name out there. Back then for me, based on the time and the opportunity to be seen, I felt like going to a camp was the only way to do that. And there wasn’t these Nike combines where you could go and throw and get your name out there early.
I went to University of Illinois team camp. And that was a big deal for me. I got MVP of the camp but they offered another kid from the camp, which was fine. I laugh with the couple coaches I know who were there at the time, who were part of recruiting the other guy.”
No doubt the guys who ended up passing on Rodgers had a lot of explaining to do on that one. Though it is amazing how much the recruiting infrastructure has changed in the 15 years since Rodgers graduated from high school. Camps like the Elite 11 (generally regarded as the gold standard for quarterback evaluation) were just beginning, and Rivals.com ranked its first recruiting class that season. Now multiple websites cover recruiting, as do television shows on sports networks.
Despite all that, Rodgers obviously persevered. And Rodgers explained to Daniels that it was the intangibles that set him apart, and that’s something that’s carried him to this day:
“But I always felt like what separated me and continues to, is the stuff you can’t measure … it’s really hard to figure out are kids self-motivated? Are kids mentally tough? Do kids know how to deal with adversity? And for me that’s what I felt like I excelled in. I overcame an injury my sophomore year in high school, a significant knee injury. I felt like I was mentally tough. I felt like I had that ‘clutch gene’ if you will, where I could make plays in high school when time was running down and we had to have a drive late in the game.”
This excerpt is just a small part of an in-depth 45-minute interview between Rodgers and Daniels that hit on a number of topics, ranging from Rodgers’ friendship with Steph Curry (and admiration for Kobe Bryant) to what he has learned by watching Tom Brady in the NFL. He also gives a preview of what to expect from the Packers in 2017 — and of course, makes his Final Four picks.
Also remember, Rodgers is just the latest big-name guest to join Evan on the “Sidelines.” Previous guests included legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Villanova’s Jay Wright and Kansas’ Bill Self. To listen to this episode, click here. And to subscribe to previous episodes of “The Sidelines” please click below.