Not many quarterbacks can match what Cody Fajardo has done during his time at Nevada.
In fact, only one other quarterback in FBS history can say he has put up the type of numbers the senior quarterback has amassed during his four years in Reno — his predecessor at Nevada, current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“Those guys have accomplished some major stuff,” Nevada coach Brian Polian said. “It’s rarified air.”
Fajardo and Kaepernick are the only two players in FBS history to record more than 9,000 passing yards and 3,000 yards passing in their careers. Fajardo said the fact that back-to-back quarterbacks at the school have been able to reach this milestone is a testament to the type of offense Nevada has used over the past decade.
“The fact that we’re from the same school is pretty awesome,” Fajardo said. “It shows what we can do and what the pistol offense can display.”
The fact that he and Kaepernick are the only two members of this prestigious club makes Fajardo even more proud because of his relationship with the 2011 second-round pick.
Kaepernick was a senior during Fajardo’s freshman season — he redshirted — and Fajardo said he learned how to be a leader from the former Nevada standout.
“I was fortunate to learn from Colin my first year here,” Fajardo said. “He taught me so much and it made my transition into starting next year that much easier, because I got to see everything he went through.”
Fajardo says he contacts Kaepernick whenever he needs advice and he embraces whenever he hears people compare him to his old mentor because of the astronomical numbers they put up.
Fajardo comes into Saturday’s game with 2,374 passing yards, 997 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns. While the senior’s numbers aren’t quite as high as they’ve been during his best seasons in Nevada, Polian said he commends Fajardo’s leadership.
“We’ve got the ninth-youngest team in all the FBS,” Polian said. “Cody has been a rock for us this year, and we wouldn’t be here without him. He’s seen so much and been in the battles, so he’s rarely ever rattled. Having a guy like that that all of our young guys can depend on makes things a lot easier for our offense.
“I just wish we can have him for another two years.”
Polian also said his quarterback’s growth throughout the years has been evident, developing beyond the days when he was considered just a running quarterback.
“(Cody’s) got physical tools, clearly, but I think he’s a much better thrower than people gave him credit for in the beginning of his career,” he said. “People thought he was just an athlete, but he is a polished passer. His demeanor and approach are so mature.”