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Making everywhere he goes a better place

Preston Jones was Brock Purdy's high school football coach at Perry High School. Jones shares what sets Purdy apart from the rest

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (KYMA, KECY) - "I saw him in the weight room and said this kid?" Former Perry High School head coach Preston Jones said. "He didn’t look special."

Jones recalls the first time he saw Brock Purdy as a freshman in the weight room at Perry High School.

"Once I saw how he interacted with his teammates, how he worked in the weight room and how he was coachable," Jones said. "I knew we had something. The leadership skills he has were nothing we had done, it was just innate, just something he had."

Jones didn't know entirely what he had early in Brock Purdy's high school career until his team needed a punt returner.

"We only had one punt returner and he got hurt," Jones said. "I don’t think we had 100 kids on the team and we only had one that could catch a ball."

Jones says it was difficult finding a backup and they had tried almost everyone.

"My coaches said, what about Brock? Put Brock back there," Jones said.

"I thought about it and said, okay," Jones said. "We'll try him back there, all we're going to do is far catch anyway."

Purdy would catch every punt Coach Jones booted his way. However, it was the way Brock threw the ball back that really caught Preston's attention.

"I got to noticing when he’d throw the ball back from about 40 yards away," Jones said. "I’d stick my hand up and he’d throw it within six inches of where my hand was. Then I’d start moving my hand all over, up high, down low, the other side, it’s unreal the accuracy the kid has."

In 2015, his sophomore year, Brock Purdy was coach Jones and the Perry Pumas starting quarterback.

Purdy led Perry to the AIA 6A state championship games in 2016 and 2017 falling each time to state power Chandler.

"He’s a phenomenal athlete," Jones said. "He rushed for over 1,000 yards for us."

After high school and a whirlwind college recruiting process, Brock eventually went to Iowa State University.

"Brock being Brock, he didn’t go for the uniform or nostalgia of different teams," Jones said. "He got a feeling with Iowa State that was the feeling he was looking for and the right fit and he made that choice and it really was an amazing choice."

Purdy ended his time at Iowa State as a three-time All-Big 12 quarterback, holding 32 school records.

Following his time as a Cyclone, Purdy was the last player chosen the the 2022 NFL, chosen by the San Francisco 49ers in the 7th round with the 262nd overall selection.

"I Immediately started doing some research on San Francisco," Jones said. "I said, 'Boy, certainly sounds like a great place.'"

Purdy would make his way onto the team as the 49ers third string quarterback behind Jimmy Garopollo and Trey Lance.

"I said all he’s got to do, all he needs is a chance," Jones said. "Gotta have a chance."

Trey Lance started the season as the starter and suffered a season ending injury in the second game of the year against Seattle.

In week nine against Kansas City, Purdy relieved Garopollo late in the fourth quarter in a blow out loss. Brock threw for 66 yards and also tossed an interception.

In week 13 against Miami, Garoppolo was injured in the first quarter, Purdy finished the game 25-of-37 for 210 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in San Francisco's 33-17 win.

The following week, Brock would make his first NFL start against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

 "Once he got his chance he never looked back," Jones said. "Crazy man, that was really something. There’s been so many things in Brock's like and I've told people that they could write a book about Brock, he's got these little chapters."

Purdy would add another chapter, one that had never been written in any rookie quarterback's timeline, he became the first ever rookie quarterback to defeat a Tom Brady led team as San Francisco crushed Tampa Bay 35-7.

 "His first start is against the GOAT and he beat him," Jones said. "He’s had a lot of these little different things that have happened to him over the years."

Heading into Super Bowl 58 this weekend, Purdy is 21-5 as a starter, including a 4-1 mark in the postseason. His only loss came last season on the road against Philadelphia, a game in which he suffered an injury to his right elbow in the first quarter and didn't return.

For Preston Jones, watching Brock now is just like watching him at Perry High School.

"The mannerisms the celebrations, his calmness, his fire," Jones said. "It’s the same kid, and it’s really cool to see."

On Sunday, Brock Purdy will become the first ever Arizona born quarterback to start an NFL Super Bowl.

"He made Perry a better place, he made Iowa State a better place and now in some people's mind, he made San Fran a better team." 

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Brock Purdy
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Scott Gross

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