CODY MICHAEL FAJARDOQuarterback
University of Nevada Wolf Pack
Servite High School
After three seasons backing up standout All-American dual-threat quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Tyler Lantrip knew that his grasp on the starting signal-caller's job in 2011 would be precarious, at best. Lantrip had witnessed the performances of the Wolf Pack's scout team quarterback throughout the 2010 campaign and he soon realized that the coaches had another "Kaepernick clone" within their midst – one Cody Fajardo.
The Servite High School recruit might not have the size or blazing speed that the current-day San Francisco 49ers quarterback displayed while amassing 14,210 total yards with 82 touchdown passes and 59 scoring runs, but in his own right, he is one of the finest, if still not recognized, dual-threat performers under center in college football.
Fajardo boasts the same ability for defenses to account for him on every play like those opponents encountered for four seasons with Kaepernick aptly guiding Nevada's explosive "Pistol" offense. Professional scouts have raved about the raw athletic talent that Fajardo can bring to the National Football League, as they put his athletic ability on par and in some cases even better than more heralded NCAA dual threats of Marcus Mariota (Oregon), Brett Hundley (UCLA) and Braxton Miller (Ohio State).
The Nevada senior has outstanding foot quickness and balance driving away from center, showing impressive body control to throw on the move. He is equally effective passing off the sprint or from drop-back action. He has very quick wrist delivery and the body control needed so he does not have to plant to unleash the long ball.
Even though Fajardo is usually under heavy pressure, he is very cool and calm, knowing that he has the size and strength to stand tall in the pocket and defenders have found that with his overall strength, the Wolf Pack passer is very hard to bring down. The senior also demonstrates the arm strength to be highly successful on the deep outs, showing nice touch throwing in the seam.
Fajardo is not the type that will get "happy feet" when the pocket is compromised, but when forced to run, he is the type that needs to be accounted for, evident by his 2,436 yards and 31 touchdowns rushing. He not only has confidence in his rifle arm, but also shows very good mechanics, as he consistently keeps receivers in their routes in the short-area passing game and can really lay the ball up and hit his targets when he has to uncork the long bombs.
Ever since he arrived on the Reno campus in 2010, Fajardo has heard all about the comparisons. Even though it will be four seasons since Colin Kaepernick left for the National Football League, the "replacement" under center for the Wolf Pack understands that fans will never tire of making the comparison. Fajardo gladly accepts it. He can even get caught up in stories about the former Wolf Pack star.
The Nevada QB needed a triage team after suffering a bruised knee and a torn thumbnail on his throwing hand, as well as taking a shot to the head. With all that, he never missed more than one consecutive play and finished with 396 total yards in a 49-48 loss.
It was a Kaepernick-adjacent performance. Fajardo rushed for 140 yards and one touchdown, along with passing for 256 yards and three touchdowns.
|COMPARING THE WOLF PACK QUARTERBACKS|
|Pass Yard AVG||223.78||191.24||232.17||219.15|
|Total Offense AVG||299.91||262.66||325.58||306.08|
Prior to coming to the University of Nevada, Fajardo starred at Servite High School, where he led the Anaheim squad to the state title during his three seasons on the gridiron. The Honor Roll student received three-star prospect status from Scout.com, placing his 130th in the country.
During his first season as a starter, the Friars' junior quarterback appeared in 11 games, as he connected on 136-of-209 passes (65.07%) for 1,588 yards, 15 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also tallied 575 yards and reached the end zone nine times via 83 carries (6.93 ypc) while leading the team to the Trinity League title, capturing All-League accolades.
As a senior in 2009, Fajardo was the recipient of the Glenn Davis Award, given to the best high school football player in California. He also earned California Player of the Year honors and was named Player of the Year by the Pac-5 Conference, Los Angeles Times, Orange County and the Trinity League. The Friars followed their field general to a 14-1 record, as they won the state title, finishing first in the state of California and third in USA Today's final national poll.
For the season, Fajardo completed 178-of-257 attempts (69.26%) for 2,444 yards, 21 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He toted the pigskin 189 times for 1,118 yards (5.92 ypc) with nine scores, as he also caught one pass for 11 yards on a trick play. He amassed 3,562 yards in total offense, an average of 237.57 yards per game. In brief action on defense, he recorded an interception and even had a 41-yard punt that was downed inside the 20-yard line.
Whether the quarterback deftly scrambled around defenders or slipped a tackle and heaved a pass downfield, Fajardo usually achieved the desired result during his prep senior season. He guided the Friars to several narrow playoff victories on the way to becoming the first team in school history to play in the CIF state championship Division II bowl. Fajardo came up big in that game, too, passing for one touchdown and running for another during Servite's 33-30 win over Rocklin.
In 2011, Fajardo was designated to be the Pack's backup quarterback, as senior Tyler Lantrip, who waited three seasons behind Kaepernick, stepped into the starting role. That would soon change, as Lantrip struggled and the Wolf Pack opened the season with three losses in their first four games, Fajardo came off the bench in two of those contests.
By the time Fajardo was named the team's starter after a loss to Boise State, he was already second on the team with 197 yards rushing, reaching the end zone three times on the ground. In his first two appearances, he managed just six completions of 10 pass attempts, but one was good for a score.
Fajardo would start eight games as a red-shirt freshman. The team would win six of those contests with the Servite High grad lining up under center, but an ankle injury would force him to miss the regular season finale vs. Idaho. He helped the Pack rank eighth in the nation in rushing (247.54 ypg) and sixth in total offense (506.69 ypc), as the quarterback generated 1,707 yards with six touchdowns on 150-of-218 tosses (68.81%), along with piling on 694 yards on 128 carries (5.42), rushing for 11 more scores.
Through a slew of injuries (hip, head, throwing arm, hand, back), Fajardo continued to excel on the football field. Despite those injury woes, he missed only one game in 2012, the final season with Chris Ault coaching the Pack. His quarterback would leave a lasting impression, as Fajardo paced a unit that finished eighth in the nation in total offense (514.85 ypg), seventh in rushing (271.0 ypg) and 18th in scoring (37.85 ppg).
The QB led the Mountain West Conference and ranked 10th in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks in total offense (325.58 ypg) and was 26th with a passing efficiency rating of 145.46. His 1,121 yards on 190 carries (5.90 ypc) saw him join Kaepernick as the only quarterbacks in school annals to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season, as the junior added twelve touchdown runs. His 1,121 yards also placed third on the Mountain West Conference season-record list for quarterbacks.
His 246 pass completions rank sixth and 367 attempts (67.03%) rank eighth on the school annual record chart, as Fajardo collected 2,786 aerial yards with twenty touchdowns and only nine thefts. His 3,907 yards in total offense placed fourth on the Nevada and Mountain West season-record list and he was responsible for 32 touchdowns on the way to earning league postseason honors.
Nevada underwent massive changes on the coaching staff, with Brian Polian taking over for long time mentor Chris Ault, but Polian elected to maintain most of the "pistol" offensive playbook. Fajardo was limited to 10 games, missing two entire contests and a good portion of another with a right knee sprain suffered during Week 2 action vs. Cal-Davis. After sitting out vs. Florida State and Hawaii, he returned to the field, but would later sit out vs. Colorado State when he suffered a foot sprain.
The Wolf Pack missed the postseason after recording a 4-8 record during Polian's first year at the helm. Even through the injuries, Fajardo placed seventh on the school annual record chart with 243 pass completions and 11th with 358 attempts, recording a pass completion percentage of .6788. He totaled 2,668 aerial yards with 13 touchdown tosses and again ranked third on the team with 621 yards and eight scores on 141 rushing attempts (4.40 ypc).
Entering the 2014 season, the consensus from professional scouts is that Fajardo might not be well-known by the media, but they consider him to be a tough spread passer with good overall athleticism. He might lack ideal size, but much like the Saints' Drew Brees, he compensates for size issues with a lively arm, quick release and he that uncanny ability to find ways to make plays and move the chains.
Fajardo has proven that he can excel whether driving back from center or working out of the shotgun, as he is capable of getting rid of the ball very quickly. He has shown marked improvement with his delivery mechanics, even though there are times where he acts the part of a gunslinger and will get rid of the ball in unorthodox manners with his feet, but seems to maintain very good overall accuracy (.6776 pass completion percentage for his career).
Fajardo is very proficient throwing bubble screens, option routes over the middle and any route that requires touch and timing. He possesses the athleticism and quick feet to buy time and create a play when things break down. He consistently works to keep the play alive and does a nice job when asked to throw on the move to either side. He is more than adequate running the zone-read and shows good elusiveness and better than expected speed for the position.
Fajardo enters the 2014 season ranking third among returning active NCAA FBS quarter-backs with a pass completion percentage of .6776. Both his 639 pass completions and 943 attempts are sixth among the active passers and his 2,436 yards rushing is the third-highest total for quarterbacks expected to play in 2014. He also ranks sixth among that group with 7,161 aerial yards and fourth with 9,597 yards in total offense.
Fajardo has played in 32 games at Nevada, starting his final 30 appearances, as he connected on 639-of-943 passes (67.76%) for 7,161 yards, 39 touchdowns and 18 interceptions…Carried 459 times for 2,436 yards (5.31 ypc) and 31 scores, as he gained 9,597 yards in total offense on 1,402 plays and was responsible for a total of 70 touchdowns…Also recorded a pair of tackles.
NCAA Career-Record Results…Among active NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision players, Fajardo ranks third in pass completion percentage, sixth in pass completions and pass attempts, 17th with a passing efficiency rating of 141.38, 11th in yards passing, fourth in total offense, ninth in rushing yards (all positions) and second in yards rushing among quarterbacks…Also ranks sixth in the active group with an average gain of 11.21 yards gained per pass completion.
School Career-Record Results…Fajardo's 9,597 yards in total offense is third on the school list, surpassed by Kaepernick (14,210 yards; 2007-10) and David Neill (11,145; 1998-01)…His 2,436 yards rushing placed 10th on the overall chart, but is second-best by a quarterback behind Kaepernick's 4,112 yards…His 31 rushing touchdowns checks in at eighth on the Pack career-list and only Kaepernick (35) has more rushing touchdowns by a Nevada quarterback…His 7,161 yards passing also ranks eighth in school history, as he needs 3,741 more yards to break the school record of 10,901 yards by David Neill (1998-2001). The only other Wolf Pack quarterback to throw for 10,000 yards is Kaepernick (10,098)…Ranks fifth on the career-record list with 639 pass completions, placing behind Neill (763), Kaepernick (740), Jeff Rowe (682, 2002-2006) and Eric Beavers (642, 1983-86). The only other Pack players with at least 600 completions are Chris Vargas (625, 1990-93) and Fred Gatlin (613, 1989-92)…Took over the seventh spot on the all-time list with 943 pass attempts.
Mountain West Conference Season-Record Results…Fajardo's 1,121 yards rushing in 2012 placed him third on the league annual chart for quarterbacks, topped by only Chance Harridge of Air Force (1,229 in 2002) and Keith Boyea of Air Force (1,216 in 2001)…No other MWC passers have ever rushed for 1,000 yards in a season…His 3,907 yards in total offense during the 2012 campaign is good for seventh on the conference chart, ranking behind Derek Carr of Fresno State (4,105 in 2012 and 5,199 in 2013), David Fales of San Jose State (4,196 in 2013), Max Hall of Brigham Young (4,072 in 2008), Brandom Doman of Brigham Young (4,003 in 2001) and Brett Smith of Wyoming (3,948 in 2013)…Holds the MWC record with a string of 193 consecutive passes without throwing an interception in 2013 (from Week One vs. UCLA to Week Eight vs. Nevada-Las Vegas), breaking the old mark of 183 successful throws without a pass theft that is shared by Brett Smith of Wyoming (10/20/12 to 8/31/13) and Caleb Herring of Nevada-Las Vegas (11/19/11 to 10/12/13).
School Season-Record Results…Fajardo's 3,907 yards in total offense in 2012 is fourth-best by a Wolf Pack player, topped by Chris Vargas (4,332 in 1993) and Colin Kaepernick (4,228 in 2010 and 3,979 in 2008)…Ranks third on the season chart with 557 offensive plays in 2012…His 246 pass completions in 2012 and 243 successful throws in 2013 rank sixth and seventh, respectively, on the school season-record chart…Holds the eighth and 11th spots on the pass attempt list with 367 tosses in 2012 and 358 in 2013…Rushed for 1,121 yards in 2012, ranking behind Kaepernick (1,130 in 2008; 1,183 in 2009; 1,206 in 2010) on the quarterback rushing record sheet.
School Game-Record Results…Fajardo's 38 pass completions vs. Air Force in 2013 tied Mike Maxwell (vs. Toledo in 1995) for third on the school game-record chart, listing behind Maxwell's 41 successful passes vs. Nevada-Las Vegas in 1995 and Chris Vargas (43 vs. McNeese State in 1992)…His 54 pass attempts in that 2013 Air Force clash tied Mike Maxwell (vs. Nevada-Las Vegas in 1995), Chris Vargas (vs. Arkansas State in 1993) and Zack Threadgill (vs. Texas-El Paso in 2002) for ninth on the team game-record list…His three touchdown runs vs. Northwestern State in 2011 rank third on the school game-record chart for quarterbacks. Kaepernick holds the record with four scoring scampers vs. Idaho in 2009, a mark that Fajardo also shares after he posted four scoring runs in the 2011 New Mexico State game.
Fajardo was the recipient of the Battle Born Award after 2014 spring camp, given to the player or players who embody the ideals of the program on the field, in the classroom and in the community…Named All-American third-team and All-Mountain West Conference first-team on the preseason lists compiled by The NFL Draft Report, as that scouting information service considers the Pack passer to be the most underrated quarterback in the talent-rich West…Fajardo was also named to the All-MWC second-team preseason charts compiled by Phil Steele and Athlon Sports.
2011 Season…Sat out the regular season finale vs. Idaho after suffering an ankle sprain in the Utah State contest.
2012 Season…Left the Wyoming game after he was knocked down throwing an interception, suffering a hip contusion, sitting out the following week vs. Nevada-Las Vegas (back)…Suffered an injury to his throwing arm when he smashed his hand into an opponent's helmet while attempting a pass and was also leveled by simultaneous helmet-to-helmet shots on another pass attempt in the third quarter vs. Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl.
2013 Season…Fajardo suffered a right knee sprain vs. Cal-Davis in the season's second game, missing the bulk of that contest and the entire Florida State and Hawaii clashes…
Also sprained his foot vs. Colorado State later in the schedule.
4.51 in the 40-yard dash…1.54 10-yard dash…2.57 20-yard dash…4.09 20-yard shuttle…
6.78 three-cone drill…34-inch vertical jump…9'09" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times.
Fajardo attended Servite (Anaheim, Cal.) High School, playing football for head coach Troy Thomas…Led the Friars to the state title during his three seasons on the gridiron…The Honor Roll student received three-star prospect status Scout.com, placing his 130th in the country…During his first season as a starter, the Friars' junior quarterback appeared in 11 games, as he hit on 136-of-209 passes (65.07%) for 1,588 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions…He also tallied 575 yards and reached the end zone nine times via 83 carries (6.93 ypc) while leading the team to the Trinity League title, capturing All-League accolades…As a senior in 2009, Fajardo was the recipient of the Glenn Davis Award, given to the best high school football player in California…Also earned California Player of the Year honors and was named Player of the Year by the Pac-5 Conference, Los Angeles Times, Orange County and the Trinity League…The Friars followed their field general to a 14-1 record, as they won the state title, finishing ranked first in the state of California and third in USA Today's final national poll…For the season, Fajardo completed 178-of-257 attempts (69.26%) for 2,444 yards, 21 touchdowns and only two interceptions…Toted the pigskin 189 times for 1,118 yards (5.92 ypc) with nine scores, as he also caught one pass for eleven yards on a trick play…Amassed a school season-record 3,562 yards in total offense, an average of 237.57 yards per game…In brief action on defense, he recorded an interception and even had a 41-yard punt that was downed inside the 20-yard line…As a senior, he guided the Friars to several narrow playoff victories on the way to becoming the first team in school history to play in the CIF state championship Division II bowl, as he came up big in that game too, passing for one touchdown and running for another during Servite's 33-30 win over Rocklin.
Fajardo is majoring in Business Management…One of two sons (brother, Cory) of Cindy Ludwig and Tim Fajardo (pronounced Fah-JAR-doe)…His father was a member of the Texas Tech football team and his grandfather played football at the University of Colorado…Was part of a reality television show called "The Ride," which featured some of the top high school quarterbacks in the nation…Born Cody Michael Fajardo on 3/29/92…
Resides in Anaheim, California.