Brock Purdy wrote his name on the whiteboard at the front of Mrs. Cambra’s classroom when he needed to go to the bathroom during English class during his junior year of high school.
While he was away, some of his classmates wrote “G.O.A.T.” under his name. When Purdy got home and saw that “greatest of all time” was written next to his name, he blushed and shook his head.
“He never acted like he was the best,” Cambra said. Brock Purdy, who was picked last overall in the NFL draught of 2022, is now in the spotlight on one of the biggest stages in football.
On Saturday, he will lead the 13-4 San Francisco 49ers in a wildcard game against the Seattle Seahawks. This will be his first NFL playoff game.
He has come a long way since he played football at Gilbert, Arizona’s Perry High School. But even though Purdy’s unexpected success has spread across the country, the question of who is behind the golden helmet still remains.
Brock Purdy can go 5-0 as #49ers QB1 on Sunday vs Cardinals
Purdy is a native of Queen Creek, Ariz., attended Perry High School in Gilbert, was the 2017 Arizona Cardinals High School Player of the Year and the 2016 Arizona Cardinals High School Offensive Player of the Years. pic.twitter.com/zvn4mkax68
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) January 6, 2023
These ideas came from his past teachers and coaches. They all say that he hasn’t changed much since he was 14; he’s always been disciplined, serious, and a natural leader.
“They don’t make perfect people but if they did, he’s about as close to perfect kid that I’ve had the privilege of coaching,” said Preston Jones, Purdy’s high school football coach.
Purdy was loved by everyone in the classroom and on campus, from substitute teachers to janitors to coaches to people who worked in the cafeteria.
“He was in a culinary class and his teacher really took a liking to him, and she didn’t know he played football,” Jones said. If Purdy had his way, no one would know that under his helmet is a star quarterback.
Jones said that Purdy had an old soul and acted like he was 40 when he was only a freshman in high school. Being a good person has always been more important to him than being a good football player.
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“What you see is what you get,” Cambra said. “The ‘yes ma’am’ or ‘no sir’ you hear in press conferences and on TV is the same way he spoke in class.”
Cambra said that Purdy did well in class because he tried hard and went the extra mile. After reading The Great Gatsby, Cambra let students earn extra credit if they dressed up or helped with a class party with a Gatsby theme.
A lot of students showed up in full tuxedos and flapper dresses. Purdy showed up in a cowboy outfit. “That’s just who he was, he didn’t change who he was…ever,” Cambra said.
He also showed his competitive side in the classroom whenever and however he could. Purdy and a few of his classmates started a game that was like basketball but used paper balls and trash cans.
— Chet Steadman (@talldrinkcity) January 15, 2023
“He would get into it with any kid, and they would go toe to toe,” Cambra said. “It was not about only competing with his friends he would compete with the kid who sat quietly in the back of the room.”
Purdy’s desire to win showed on the football field at Perry High School, where he was a star player. During his junior and senior years, he led the Pumas to back-to-back state title games. “He was definitely a once in a lifetime type of kid to coach,” Jones said.
Jones and Cambra are not surprised by how well Purdy is doing. They say that the only thing that surprises them is that it took everyone else so long to see what they’ve seen in Purdy since he walked the Perry hallways. “They could make a movie out of Brock,” Jones said. “Maybe they will one day, we’ll see.”
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