Where did Brock Purdy go to college? Revisiting 49ers QB’s underrated Big 12 career before Mr. Irrelevant

The 49ers have been favored wire-to-wire this season, but Brock Purdy has defied the odds since entering the NFL. From the last pick of the 2022 draft to starting in the Super Bowl, Purdy has been one of the NFL’s best stories since his first snap.

Big 12 football fans would argue Purdy didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, though. He put together a promising collegiate career, with plenty of highlights to go along with a few mistakes that hurt his draft stock.

Starting the Super Bowl is a long way from starting the Cheez-It Bowl, but Purdy has stayed levelheaded through it all.

Here’s a look back at Purdy’s college career, including his stats before he became Mr. Irrelevant. 

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Where did Brock Purdy go to college?

Purdy spent his collegiate career at Iowa State, playing four seasons with the Cyclones.

While Purdy would rank among the youngest quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl, he was an elder statesman by the time his college career ended. He took over as a starter during his freshman season and continued to start through 2021, when his career ended with a Cheez-It Bowl loss to Clemson.

Purdy looked like a legitimate NFL prospect in 2019 when he threw for 3,982 yards and 27 touchdowns as a sophomore. While he never totaled double-digit interceptions in any season, Purdy’s overall numbers dipped a bit in the seasons that followed. He threw 19 touchdowns in each of his final two seasons at Iowa State as the Cyclones leaned more on the running game anchored by Breece Hall. 

Still, Purdy is easily Iowa State’s all-time leader in passing yards (12,170) and touchdown passes (81), and his passer rating is higher than any Cyclones quarterback with more than 15 career pass attempts. 

Not historically a powerhouse program by any means, Iowa State reached rare territory with Purdy at quarterback. The Cyclones won a New Year’s 6 bowl in 2020, winning nine games for the first time since 2000 and defeating Oregon State in the Fiesta Bowl.

Brock Purdy college stats

Season Games CMP% Yards TD INT
2018 10 66.4 2,250 16 7
2019 13 65.7 3,982 27 9
2020 12 66.6 2,750 19 9
2021 12 71.7 3,188 19 8
Total 48 67.7 12,170 81 33

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When was Brock Purdy drafted?

Purdy showed flashes at Iowa State, but his perceived limitations and some poor decisions made him a fringe prospect in the 2022 NFL Draft. The 49ers selected him 262nd overall, the final pick of the draft. 

The rest is history, as they say. While Purdy’s career is just getting started, he’s beyond delivered on the expectations (or lack thereof) that come with being Mr. Irrelevant. Kyle Shanahan put his trust in Purdy to lead a Super Bowl-caliber roster after an impressive few games in 2022, and his trust has been validated with a trip to the Super Bowl in Purdy’s first season as a starter.

Purdy can transform from a great story into a 49ers great with just one more win, which would give the franchise its first championship in 29 years. 

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