49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was severely under-recruited out of high school. In fact, he doesn’t believe that Nick Saban and Alabama gave him a fair shake.
Purdy, who was thrust into the starting role for San Francisco after an injury to Jimmy Garoppolo, led his team to a 35-7 win over Tampa Bay last Sunday. It marked the first time ever that a rookie quarterback beat Tom Brady and he did so in front of his very emotional family.
Not only is Purdy a rookie, he was Mr. Irrelevant. He was last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.
While that narrative is played out already, it speaks to a reoccurring theme throughout his life. Purdy never got the recognition that he deserved.
As a three-star recruit out of high school, the Arizona-native received only 13 scholarship offers. A few of them were from relevant programs like Texas A&M, UCF and Illinois, but the majority were from programs like Colorado State, Northern Arizona and Kansas.
In the end, Brock Purdy chose to play for Iowa State.
Before he came to that decision, however, Alabama was on his radar. He visited Tuscaloosa in January of 2018, less than 14 days before signing with the Cyclones.
While he was there, Purdy noticed that Saban was not particularly knowledgeable about his game. In fact, he called out the greatest head coach in college football history for not watching his film.
Purdy’s high school head coach, Preston Jones, recalled his conversation with the young quarterback after he got home from visiting the Crimson Tide in an article from Matt Barrows of The Athletic. It did not reflect well on his trip or Saban.
Brock told me, ‘He didn’t really know me, Coach,. (Saban said), ‘You’re below average in height. Your arm strength is whatever. Your accuracy is average.’ And as soon as he mentioned the accuracy, Brock knew right away: ‘This guy doesn’t know me.’ Because, if anything, that’s his strength. He goes, ‘Coach, he didn’t know who I was.’
— Preston Jones on Brock Purdy’s visit to Alabama, via The Athletic
As a result of the visit, Purdy told Jones that he wanted go somewhere other than Alabama and try to beat Saban down the road. It motivated him to take down the Tide, rather than commit to play for them.
Now, five years later, it’s hard not to know Purdy. He is the talk of the NFL and is leading a Super Bowl contender down the stretch after starting the year as the third-stringer.
Maybe, somewhere in Alabama, Saban is watching. Maybe he wishes he had watched the film.