You that community college that is sometimes mentioned as ]alma mater by Aaron Rodgers in Monday Night Football lineup introductions? Yeah, it may sound like he attended Butt with an ‘e’ Community College, but really it was ‘Beaut’ Community College in California.
The two-time NFL League MVP and 2010 Super Bowl Champion Aaron Rodgers began his journey at a community college.
The man who fell way too far in the draft after being in the discussion for the first overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft wound up in exactly the perfect landing spot, Green Bay, even if his first few seasons in the league were a bit bumpier than expected. Going all the way from Butte College to the University of California Berkley to the NFL from 2002 to 2005 is a quick transition, especially for a guy that was not given a ton of attention coming out of high school.
Rodgers has a lot of interesting little tidbits that not a lot of people know about him. The story of the ‘05 draft follows him everywhere he goes like it is his shadow, but these five things are not as commonly known about Rodgers, involving both his on-field and off-field careers.
Chose between junior college and Division III scholarship offers out of high school
Carried farther by his football intellect that his physical stature, the high school version of Rodgers was facing difficulties of standing out from his peers. While he was a scrawny, short QB that had trouble garnering any attention in football camps to try and progress to the next level, all Rodgers needed was a chance.
He turned to baseball his senior year of high school, in what was labeled as an attempt by his HS coaches to help get his mind off the lack of attention he was receiving in the hunt for a scholarship. When that did not happen for the Division I-level, Rodgers did end up finding a solution – and one that was very close to him.
What he did not realize was that chance was super close, living one cul-de-sac away from his high-school home.
Craig Rigsbee was the then-head coach of Butte Community College at the time, and after he reached out to the Rodgers family, discovered that all it would take to meet AR face-to-face was a simple stroll through the subdivision. But while the walk was easy, getting through to a family and a player that was dead set on a DI scholarship was much more difficult.
Besides Butte, NAIA Southern Oregon and D-III Lewis & Clark College was interested in Aaron Rodgers, but he ended up going the route of Butte, even though he was not promised a starting job… which is talked about next.
Became a college starting QB at the ripe age of 18
Rigsbee was upfront with Rodgers about his ability to see the field, even though AR was already looking past this school and had a desire to only remain there for one season. Rodgers’ drive was what had made him such an interesting prospect in the first place, and it for sure helped his development once he got onto the field for Butte.
Facing off against a proven, returning starter of multiple seasons, Rigsbee went against the ‘general consensus of his assistants’ and gave AR the starting job, even though he was only 18 years old. Having finally come into his own physically (he was now 6’2, 200 lbs.), Rodgers lit the league on fire, his QB competition quit a few weeks later, and he led Butte to the no. 2 ranking in the national junior college rankings with a 10-1 record.
Setting new single-game marks for passing yards and TD’s, AR threw for 28 scores against only 4 INT’s and over 2,400 yards. His play made him jump off the tape, even when coaches at the D-I level were not looking for him.
A Tight End helped get Rodgers on the radar of UC-Berkley
Then-University of California-Berkley head coach Jeff Tedford was looking at Butte tight end Garrett Cross that fall, who caught 10 TDs from AR in ‘02, instead saw AR jump on tape and got interested in him.
Tedford was known as one of the better QB whispers in the NCAA at the time and just had Kyle Boller leave and get drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, continuing a solid line of college signal-callers turned first-round selections that he developed (Boller, Trent Dilfer, Akili Smith, David Carr, Joey Harrington). He called Rigsbee, established his interest, came and visited, and eventually extended an offer.
While Aaron Rodgers accepted, he actually was very timid in the acceptance, concerning himself about how Butte was slated to bring back an excellent team the following year and was not sure if he wanted to leave that behind. Once Rigsbee convinced him of the opportunity, AR left and the rest is history.
He almost became the 49ers QB – as well as Alex Smith
After becoming a superb passer under Tedford, Rodgers forewent his senior year after winning the starting job in his first year at Cal and was fighting with Utah QB Alex Smith for the right to be the first QB selected. A neat little small-world moment is that the offensive coordinator at the time for the San Francisco 49ers, Mike McCarthy, later became his head coach in Green Bay, and passed on him in the draft originally.
When the 49ers selected AR, they sent off a flurry of dominoes after the first selection, which resulted in no other QBs being picked in the first round. As he slid all the way down to 24th for the Packers to select him, which NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock somehow predicted prior to the draft, the 49ers had devised a plan to stop the fall of Rodgers if he dropped that far.
Holding the third overall pick, which was the first pick of the second round, SF was debating potentially drafting both guys and seeing which one panned out. Then-head coach Mike Nolan is on record saying that they had conversations about taking both and that the reality may have actually happened if GB did not take their QB of the future at 24.
How many things would have been different nowadays if that had happened?
Aaron Rodgers has a passion for music – and has his own record label
Suspended Sunrise Recordings, an independent record label located in San Diego, California, was created by Rodgers and Ryan Zachary in 2009 and signed their first band, The Make, two years later.
The Make is an indie pop-rock band from Chico, CA, and Rodgers even appeared in a music video for the group later in 2011 for their debut single, ‘Get It.’ While the band has not made much noise on the music scene, it is still nice to see that Rodgers has a prevalent interest outside of football, and he also has a potential career/interest to take up his time after his football-playing days are over.