San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is reportedly in the Chicago area Tuesday, attending pro day at Northwestern University in suburban Evanston, Ill.
According to CSNBayArea.com, Harbaugh is likely there to get more information about Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who was allowed by Northwestern to participate in today’s festitivities.
Garoppolo’s stock rose after a strong showing at the scouting combine in Indianapolis last month and some analysts, including ESPN’s Bill Polian—architect for the Buffalo Bills’ Super Bowl teams of the early 1990s and the Indianapolis Colts clubs of the early 21st century—project him as a first-round pick.
According to multiple reports, the 49ers were one of two teams who put Garoppolo through private workouts Tuesday, along with the Houston Texans.
Garoppolo completed a standout career for the Panthers last season by throwing for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns while leading Eastern Illinois to a 12-2 record and a berth in the FCS quarterfinals, where the Panthers were upset by Towson.
In his four-year career, Garoppolo threw for more than 13,000 yards and 118 touchdowns against only 51 interceptions, completing 62.8 percent of his throws.
He wouldn’t be the only Eastern Illinois alum quarterbacking in the NFL; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was the Walter Payton Award winner—the lower division’s version of the Heisman Trophy—for EIU in 2002.
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton quarterbacked at Eastern Illinois from 1983-86 and had a brief stint in the NFL as a replacement player with the Chicago Bears during the 1987 strike, while longtime NFL coach Mike Shanahan was a quarterback for the Panthers in the early 1970s.
According to Pro-Football-Reference.com, two other Eastern Illinois alums played quarterback in the NFL, Bill Glenn for the Bears in 1944 and Jeff Christensen for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1983 and the Cleveland Browns replacement squad in 1987.