Jimmy Garoppolo has the looks. He has the charm and he has the “Feels great, baby” catch phrase. More than anything, however, the 49ers quarterback wishes to remain humble

Deep down, he also has unwavering confidence that he wishes to keep within. That was shown when he stepped onto the Eastern Illinois University campus in 2010. 

Adam Gristick, a former Eastern Illinois linebacker and one of Garoppolo's college roommates, exemplified who Garoppolo is with a great story to The Athletic's Jon Greenberg and David Lombardi. 

"When he got to school his freshman year, Jimmy wrote down every single passing record at the school in a notebook," Gristick told The Athletic. "He didn’t tell anybody about that. He wrote those down freshman year and he broke every single one. That quiet confidence about him is a pretty cool dynamic to study." 

Garoppolo was an unheralded recruit coming out of Rolling Meadows High School. He was ranked as only a two-star prospect by Rivals, and the website had him down for just three offers -- Eastern Illinois, Illinois State and Montana State.

Jimmy G signed with EIU and made an immediate impact. He started the team's final eight games as a freshman and earned All-Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer Team honors. Despite having little experience as a quarterback -- he played linebacker as a sophomore in high school instead of QB -- Garoppolo knew he could play right away and had his eyes on the record books. 

 

"I just want to know what’s in his brain sometimes," Gristick said. "How does he do what he does? When he wrote that, it struck me like damn, I think he’s just extremely confident in his mind. He doesn’t let it get out because he doesn’t want to be labeled as arrogant or cocky. But I think that’s his superpower."

Garoppolo threw for 5,050 yards as a senior in 2013 with 53 passing touchdowns and 5,112 total yards -- all single-season records at EIU. He ended his career as the school leader in total yards (13,089), pass completions (1,047), passing yards (13,156) and passing touchdowns (118). The man whose records he broke is none other than Tony Romo, a four-time Pro Bowl QB for the Cowboys. 

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Six years after passing Romo as Eastern Illinois' greatest QB in school history, Garoppolo has put together one of the most impressive seasons in 49ers history. His 3,978 passing yards in 2019 rank No. 4 in 49ers history, and his 69.1 completion percentage is third all-time in franchise history. Garoppolo's 2019 season also was in the top 10 among 49ers QBs in passing TDs (27), passer rating (102.0) and yards per attempt (8.4). 

Garoppolo's quiet confidence led the 49ers to a 13-3 regular-season record, the NFC West title and the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs. Now, the 49ers and The Faithful are looking for Garoppolo to get them their first Super Bowl victory in 25 years.