Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois Panthers and NFL Draft Prospect

The playoffs for the Blackhawks are looming on, sales but football will be back before we know it. The 2014 NFL Draft starts this Thursday, May 8, and we’ve got plenty of talented players already on our radar. One you should keep an eye out for is Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, our HAM of the Week

The guy is an absolute stud—chisled jaw, a bit of scruff, not to mention a gorgeous physique—we’re smitten.

The 22-year-old Arlington Heights, Illinois native was recruited by Eastern Illinois in 2010. He started eight games his freshman year and passed for 1, 639 yards and 14 touchdowns, which earned him the All-OVC (Ohio Valley Conference) Newcomer Team honors. He started every game in the next three seasons, passing for 2,644 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2011.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Hello, gorgeous!

By his senior year (this past fall), Garoppolo (pronounced GAH-RAH-POH-LOH) passed for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns.

And when you break the record for former EIU star (and current Dallas Cowboys quarterback) Tony Romo for touchdown passes and have all 32 NFL teams see you play, you know you’re a pretty big deal.

Not to mention he’s the 2013 Walter Payton Award winner and the 2013 college football performance FCS National QB of the Year.


The 6’2”, 226 lbs beauty is rising up the draft boards, and will be one of four quarterbacks in New York for the draft. We know there’s been a lot of talk about Johnny Football, but the Chicago-area product Garoppolo is definitely generating attention, and should be considered a first or second-round pick.

And if you’re an Arlington Heights resident, the town has named Thursday Jimmy Garoppolo Day. As far as we know, there haven’t been many Chicago-area quarterbacks as amazing (and good-looking!) as Garoppolo. Hear us out: the small-school football star is quickly going to become your new favorite—he’s a hidden gem on the brink of a bright future and one of the most-wanted men on any team.

Jimmy Garoppolo at NFL Combine

Jimmy Garoppolo at NFL Combine

Since January’s Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine Game, the latter in which Garoppolo earned MVP honors, he’s been on the rise of many NFL scouts, and we can’t wait to see where he ends up on the big stage.

In an interview with Cox Sports, Garoppolo talks about breaking New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton’s record for total offense at EIU (yes, really), the Romo comparisons and his amazing work ethic:

Football gods, we know it’s a long shot, but if he could play for the Bears so we could see his pretty face on the roster every Sunday, and (maybe) give Cutler a run for his money, that would be great.

Follow Garoppolo on Twitter at @JimmyG_10 and be sure to tune in to the 2014 NFL Draft Thursday, May 8 through Saturday, May 10!

About the author: Hannah Gettleman is a native of the Northern Chicago suburbs. She received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012 and attended every home Illini football game. Her love of Chicago sports comes from her dad, who has been in the same Fantasy Football league since she was six years old, and her mom, who plays in a 5-0 football pool. She’s also won the family March Madness pool four times in a row. An avid Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and Cubs fan, she’s excited to share her love of sports and cute guys as the newest HAM Hunter. When she’s not glued to the television on Sundays, Hannah follows the latest in entertainment and red carpet fashion, and makes delicious Betty Crocker brownies. You can follow her at @hgettle12.

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