Tom Brady’s College Stats: Fringe Starter to All-Time Great

    Tom Brady became a future Hall of Famer due to his legendary NFL career, but as his college stats reveal, he was no slouch in college, either.

    Michigan QB Tom Brady’s selection with pick 199 in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft didn’t raise many eyebrows at the time. After seven Super Bowls (with five Super Bowl MVPs), six All-Pro selections (three first-team, three second-team), 15 Pro Bowls, and three NFL MVPs over 23 NFL seasons, he’s the unquestioned football GOAT.

    A humble origin story that saw Brady go from college backup to fringe starter before finally cementing himself as the man with five games left in his senior year, his underdog story is unparalleled even in a sports world filled with underdog stories.

    While his playing days are behind him, let’s take a look back at where it all started for Brady as we dive into his college stats during his time with the Michigan Wolverines from 1995-1999.

    Tom Brady Chooses Football Over Baseball

    An exceptional two-way athlete at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, CA, Brady was selected in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos as a catcher.

    The Expos reportedly projected Brady as a future All-Star and offered him guaranteed money usually designated for second- or third-round selections, but Brady declined, choosing to pursue college football.

    Considering other offers from Cal, UCLA, USC, and Illinois, Brady accepted an offer from Michigan Wolverines’ head coach Lloyd Carr to play quarterback in Ann Arbor. He took a redshirt as a true freshman in 1995, waiting until his second season before stepping onto a collegiate field in anger.

    1995 Passing Yards: 0
    1995 Completions: 0
    1995 Attempts: 0
    1995 TDs/INTs: 0/0

    Brady the Backup

    Backing up future NFL QB Brian Griese in 1996 and 1997, Brady’s first on-field action came on September 28, 1996, after being inserted into a game with a 35-3 lead over UCLA.

    His first pass attempt went for a touchdown, but it was to the other team. He threw a pick-six that was returned 42 yards to the house by Phillip Ward.

    As a redshirt freshman and sophomore, Brady made six appearances in relief of Griese, going 15-20 for 129 yards and a pick. He was part of the Wolverines’ 1997 National Championship run, as Michigan went 12-0 that year.

    1996 Passing Yards: 26
    1996 Completions: 3
    1996 Attempts: 5
    1996 TDs/INTs: 0/1

    1997 Passing Yards: 103
    1997 Completions: 12
    1997 Attempts: 15
    1997 TDs/INTs: 0/0

    Brady the Starter

    With Griese off to the NFL, Brady took the reins in 1998 after beating out Drew Henson for the starting job. The Wolverines finished 10-3 and ranked No. 12 with Brady steering the way, ending with a Florida Citrus Bowl victory over No. 11 Arkansas, 45-31.

    He finished the 1998 season with 2,427 yards passing, 14 TDs, and 10 picks, setting Michigan records in pass attempts (323) and completions (200). He was named an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention after the season.

    1998 Passing Yards: 2,427
    1998 Completions: 200
    1998 Attempts: 323
    1998 TDs/INTs: 14/10

    Brady Battles To Remain the Starter

    Despite a full season’s slate of experience under his belt, Brady’s job was far from secure, as he continued to battle with Henson for the starting role. Brady and Henson started the season splitting time, with Brady taking the first quarter, Henson the second, and Carr deciding who to play in the second half.

    The dual QB strategy lasted the first seven games before Brady fully took over against Indiana and began to foreshadow the greatness we came to expect from him. The Wolverines were 5-2 on a two-game losing streak when Brady was named the full-time starter.

    He led them to five consecutive wins to end the season, including a 31-27 victory over No. 6 Penn State, a 24-17 nail-biter over rival Ohio State to end the regular season, and a 35-34 OT win over No. 5 Alabama in the Orange Bowl. The Wolverines finished the season No. 5 at 10-2, with Brady once again taking home an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention after the season.

    1999 Passing Yards: 2,217
    1999 Completions: 180
    1999 Attempts: 295
    1999 TDs/INTs: 16/6

    Brady’s Final College Stats

    Passing Yards: 4,773
    Completions: 395
    Attempts: 638
    TDs/INTs: 30/17

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