Catching up with Wolf Pack Alumni

I had the opportunity to sit down (this time via email!) with former Nevada Quarterback, Cody Fajardo. First, a big thanks to Cody for taking the time to respond to my questions as I know he is busy right now getting ready for the NFL draft.

Second, he needs no introduction but I’ll do one anyway. He’s the 2 nd player in NCAA history to pass for 9,000 yards & rush for 3,000 yards (obviously the first was Colin Kaepernick). He had the unenviable task of “filling” Kaepernick’s shoes. However, I think he set the bar very high for Nevada’s next starting quarterback and that will be the expectation going forward. I don’t envy whoever has to fill Cody’s shoes.

Why did you initially choose Nevada over some of the other schools who showed interest in you?

I picked the University of Nevada over other schools for a few reasons. The first was Coach Chris Ault, and the success he has had with the University of Nevada, that showed me how much I wanted to play for a winner like him. The second thing was the pistol offense, I wanted to run that type of offense because I thought it fit both my strengths and my weaknesses, and I had a good feeling that I would be a great fit for that offense. The third is I wanted to redshirt, and then compete for the starting job as a redshirt freshman. I was blessed to have the opportunity to learn from Colin Kaepernick as well as start as a red-shirt freshman and become a four-year starter for the University of Nevada. The fourth reason was that my family is very football oriented and the fact that it was only an 8 hour drive and or an hour flight my family was going to be able to make a lot of my home games, which they did. Finally, Lake Tahoe won my heart over the first time I went up there, and whoever hasn't made it up to Lake Tahoe I highly recommend you put it on your bucket list.

You were a red shirt freshman during the 2010 magical season. What was that like?

My first thought was “so this is college football”. I was very blessed to be a part of the “Dream Team”. I learned so much that year from an outstanding senior class. The memories I made that year I will never forget, but it did however put a lot of pressure on me for the start of my career the following year.

I remember watching your first game, it was in the second half against Oregon, and thinking to my self "man the future is bright with this kid". Do you remember what it felt like to get your first college snaps in a place like Oregon?

I remember scoring my first touchdown in that stadium. Although I played mop up time, it is still very cool to say that I scored my first collegiate touchdown against the Oregon Ducks. I will never forget that day, and how nervous I was when coach Ault called my name to go in. I do remember how big my eyes were, and I had the worst tunnel vision ever.

You've been able to learn under two coaches, the legend Chris Ault and Brian Polian (who was probably raised to be a head coach). What was it like to learn from those to men?

It was a huge privilege to learn from two outstanding coaches. I learned so much from both of them, and not many people will ever get the opportunity to learn from one great coach, but I was blessed enough to be able to learn from two amazing coaches.

What is your favorite memory playing at Nevada?

I have two that are very close to each other. The first was going into Cal’s brand new stadium in front of a sold out crowd and upsetting them and spoiling their grand opening to their new stadium. The second is winning the Cannon back for my senior year. That Cannon means so much to the University of Nevada, and I was so relieved to see it back in the Blue.

If there's one game you could "redo" which one would it be?

This is a tough question, but the game that jumps out at me is my junior year when we played UNLV. That game still puts a bad taste in my mouth, and I wish I could go back and change that. On the flip side it made the win in my senior year that much greater, and truly showed how much that cannon meant to the community.

You've done a great job getting your name onto the NFL draft boards, any guess where you might end up?

I wouldn’t be as nervous as I am now if I did have an idea. Unfortunately, I have no clue, but I know I put my best foot forward, and that I helped myself tremendously at the combine and the proday. Its frustrating knowing that there is nothing else I can do, but play the waiting game, and cross my fingers for a phone call this weekend.

Obviously I want you to have a very long and successful career in the NFL, but incase that doesn't work out, what are your post football plans?

I have been able to meet a lot of wonderful people in Reno. I have been offered multiple job opportunities already, and I have my Business Management degree. I would say my plan B is to move back to Reno raise my family there and work for a successful business in Reno.

What direction do you see Nevada football heading towards going forward?

I think coach Polian has that team on the right track. It is all signs pointing forward and I know I will be a proud alumni when I see that win total continue to increase as the years go on. He is recruiting great kids that will fit in not only on the field, but also make the community a better place as well.

Any guess on who ends up as the starting QB next year (you don't have to answer that)?

I do not have a frontrunner, but I will say that the competition will make all the quarterbacks better. They will all feed off of each other and help each other become better quarterbacks. The good news is they are young and the experience will only make them better. I know from personal experience that the quarterback room is always the closest on the team, and it is no different this year. Whoever the starter is I know that it was the right choice by the coaches, and it will pay off in the end. The future looks bright.

Whoever ends up drafting (and I believe he will be drafted as a late draft pick, I’ll say 5th – 6th round) will end up with a young man who knows how to lead, is a great ambassador for their team and will challenge for a starting job within a couple of years. I know we will miss him in Silver & Blue, but we were blessed to be able to watch him for 4 years. Good luck Cody!

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